Herbert Root

Herbert Root, deceased, was far almost twenty years prominently identified with the interests of Valley City, Barnes County, North Dakota, as one of its leading attorneys and business men. He early learned that knowledge is the key with which the poor boy could open the store house of the world and cull its choicest fruits. The result is he became one of the most successful men of his city, and essentially the architect of his own fortune.

Mr. Root was born on a farm in county Holdimond, Ontario, Canada, August t2, 1848, a son of Isaac and Sarah (Dobie) Root, also natives of Canada. He was a direct descendant of Henry Rott, of Pennsylvania, the name having been changed in his father's time. Isaac Root was born in Lincoln County, Ontario, in 1808, followed the occupation of a farmer throughout life, and died in 1891. The mother of our subject, who was born in 1811, departed this life in 1858, and two years later the father married Calista Barrett, who still survives him and resides in Canada.

The early education of Herbert Root was acquired in the district schools of his native province. Coming to the United States at the age of twelve years, he located at Quincy, Illinois, and accepted a position as clerk with his uncle, Henry Root, then conducting one of the largest dry goods stores in that city. Our subject remained in his employ until 1869, when he entered the Methodist Episcopal College at Quincy, where he pursued a general course of study for one year. The following year he engaged in teaching a country school near Racine, Wisconsin, and in 1870 became a student at Racine College where he took the classical course and graduated with high honors in 1872, standing at the head of his class and receiving the degrees of A. B. and A. M. He also won five gold medals at that school. It was by his own unaided efforts that he secured his collegiate education. He was next a student at the Nashotah Theological Seminary of Waukesha County, Wisconsin, and from that institution he was graduated in August, 1874.

Mr. Root was then ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Washington Boulevard and Peoria street, Chicago, and as such was in charge of Grace Church at Sterling, Illinois, for a time. He was next sent to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Wells, and subsequently became assistant to Dr. John Fulton, dean of the Cathedral at Indianapolis, Indiana, where he remained a year. He was then rector at Grace church, Muncie, Indiana, until March, 1877, when he came west and for three years was rector of St. Paul's church at Brainerd, Minnesota.

In March, 1880, Mr. Root became a resident of Valley City, North Dakota. His first venture here was in the private banking business, but in 1881 he assisted in organizing the First National Bank, of which he was cashier until January, 1882, when he resigned and organized the Farmers' & Merchants’ Bank. He was president of that corporation until it went into voluntary liquidation in 1890, paying one hundred cents on the dollar. He then successfully engaged in farming and the practice of law, and while he maintained an office in the city, his home was in the country north of the place. He was prominent in business circles and occupied an enviable position in the esteem of his fellow citizens.

On the 13th of March, 1875, Mr. Root was united in marriage with Miss Harriet C. Warner, of Racine, Wisconsin, daughter of Eli W. and Hannah Warner. Her parents were front Hartford, Connecticut, and were among the early settlers of Racine County, Wisconsin.

Mr. Root died January 5, 1900, at St. Luke's hospital, St. Paul, Minnesota, whither he had gone, accompanied by his wife, for medical advice. His death was due to disease of the heart, and was a terrible shock to a large circle of friends. His best obituary is found in the general epistle of St. James, first chapter, twenty-seventh verse. His mortal part lies in Mound Cemetery, Racine, Wisconsin.

Source: Compendium and History of North Dakota 1900 Page 201

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