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Roots Generation 6


.....a.  Elizabeth ROOTS (2 Jan. 1799, f. - ?) m. Josiah MOORE (? - 4 Nov. 1860 in Fredonia, NY).

.....b.  Lura ROOTS (15 Aug. 1800, f. - ?) m. Hiram BLANCHARD (? - bef. 1870) on 25 Sept. 1825.

.....c.  Amanda ROOTS (3 Dec. 1802 in Hamilton, NY, f. - 30 July 1886 in Tamaroa, IL) m. Ephraim Stiles WALKER (? - 31 May 1852).

.....d.  Peter Philanthropos ROOTS (23 Jan. 1807 in Fabius, NY, f. - after 1870) m. Anna B. JOHNSON (? - after 1870) on 15 May 1839.

.....e.  Benajah Guernsey ROOTS (20 Apr. 1811 in Fabius, NY, f. - 1888). m. Martha Sibley HOLT (1810 - 18 July 1864 in Tamaroa, IL) of Willington, Tolland Co., CT, on 20 Oct. 1834.   B. G. was a pioneer educator and abolitionist who came to Perry Co. early in 1839.  He had spent some time in Shawneetown awaiting subsidence of swollen streams and drier weather as he picked his way along the old Shawneetown to St. Louis trail, looking for a spot to build a home.  He found 1200 acres, about a mile south of the present village of Tamaroa.  He built a log cabin and went back to CT for his family.  
His cabin provided room for a student that first winter.  College level courses were taught and the cabin was the site of the first institution of higher learning in Southern Illinois.
                A later clapboard home had an L-shaped addition which housed a classroom and boarding services for several students.  Finally, between 1854 and 1856, Locust Hill Academy was built, a home that is still standing south of Tamaroa.  It is now the Calvin IBENDAHL home.  The house, a one-room school and a log cabin are open for tours by appointment.  John A. LOGAN* was a student at the academy.  (*It is believed that John LOGAN had such an influence on Benajah that the latter named one of his children after him.)
                Benajah was an avid abolitionist and aided many run-away slaves as they escaped to the North.  His "underground railway" station was probably in his basement.  There was a secret passageway discovered in the back kitchen wall when the house was remodeled in 1956.  There was a fake cistern in the basement beneath the wall.  There was never any water in the cistern and earthen seats were carved inside the brick wall.
                He remarried on Dec. 2, 1864 to Mrs. E. R. SAUNDERS of Tolland Co., CT, and they moved to Illinois in 1838 for him to take a position as civil engineer on one of the many railroads that were being built.  When the Illinois Central Railroad came to Southern Illinois, it was B.G. who did the surveying from Centralia to Carbondale.  The story is told that B.G. put the curve in the railroad north of Du Quoin so the tracks would cross his property and he would have train service, which was provided free of charge by the Illinois Central because ROOTS did not charge for the use of his land.  He was engaged most of the time in civil engineering or teaching. 
                ROOTS was known as "Father ROOTS" in the early years of the Illinois educational system.  He was a pioneer in using the graded school system.  Prior to his time, students progressed from "reader to reader" as their ability increased.  ROOTS was also on the Board of Higher Education and helped J. B. TURNER establish the University of Illinois.  He rode horseback to attend meetings in Chicago and Springfield.  When he was young he read law books and was prepared for admission to the bar, and found it desirable to have an attorney's license, he was admitted to practice both in the Illinois State courts, and in the United States courts, and was officially with the Bible, Sabbath School, and Agricultural Societies from their organization.  
ROOTS is credited with taking six teachers from Du Quoin to Arkansas where they established the first public school system for that state.  He also taught at the Sparta Seminary from 1846 to 1851.  He lobbied for the passage of the Normal School Act which brought the Normal School, now Southern Illinois University, to Carbondale.  The school was planned for Tamaroa, but lost by one vote in the General Assembly.  
Locust Hill was a stock farm where purebred horses, registered cattle, mules, and hogs were raised.  Wheat, corn and hay were the main crops.  There were lots of fruit trees.  The yard was landscaped with 40 kinds of trees, all native to Southern Illinois.  Peacocks strutted in the four-acre yard.  B.G. and his children were members of the Episcopal church, and were "advocates of the equality of all men before the law."
                After the Civil War, some of the run-away slaves returned to the ROOTS farm where they lived and worked until they died.  Many of them are buried in the woods on the farm.  A hired hand named Goode was given employment in Springfield after the farm was sold in 1905.  
B.G. passed away in 1887.  He is buried in Tamaroa with the rest of his family.  It is a fitting location since Mrs. ROOTS (unsure if this was his 1st or 2nd wife) and her sister named the village of Tamaroa. 
                A book published by his grandson, John Roots, entitled "A Warrior's Testament,"  states that P.K. was a banker.
                Documents in possession:  6 diaries written by P.K., death certificate.
                (-- much of this text was submitted by Jean Ibendahl, source #6).
(Ancestral blood line)

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Benajah Guernsey Roots


Generation 2
Generation 3
Generation 4
Generation 5
Generation 6


Roots pages Philander Keep Roots Frannie and Dick Hadden Waldron
McCook Crapo Cuddy Berry
Rea Lyle Keyes Holt
Blakeslee Delay Genealogy Resources

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