Oswego County's: Guide To Government

Elias Root

Elias Root was born in Fort Ann, Washington County, New York on the 30th day of November, 1806. The rudiments of his education were acquired at the village school at Fort Ann, and subsequently he studied Latin in a select school taught by Judge ED Culver. He afterwards entered the Rutland county grammar school and at the age of eighteen years, was appointed a cadet in the United States military academy at West Point. In consequence of ill health, he resigned at the close of one year and commenced teaching school in Newburg, Orange county, New York and continued in this honorable vocation with eminent success for a period of two years, when he formed a co-partnership with Timothy Brewster and began business as a merchant in the village of Newburg. Newburg however was not suitable for a young man of limited capital and he resolved to seek a more favorable location.

He finally decided on the valley of the Mohawk and settled in what is now the village of Mohawk in the county of Herkimer. Mr. Root seemed to be peculiarly adapted for large transactions and his ambition integrity and methodical business habits served well for building up a large trade. He established a merchandising and general forwarding business and during a period of twenty five years, successfully managed this immense business of the heaviest of the kind in that portion of the State. He was not only a successful merchant, but his affable and courteous manners won hosts of friends and when but twenty two years of age, he was elected to the office of Supervisor defeating Mr. Remington of Ilion, one of the most popular and influential citizens of the county. He was appointed loan commissioner and was also chosen to the office of school commissioner, then one of the most important and responsible positions in the county. While a resident of Mohawk, he assisted in organizing the Mohawk Valley bank one of the first banking institutions established under the State law of 1840. He officiated as vice president for a number of years while General F.E. Spinner, late treasurer of the United States was cashier.

In 1856, after a residence of twenty four years during which time he had amassed a fortune and was ranked among the leading men of the county, he came to Oswego and organized the Marine bank. This institution was changed to the National Marine bank in 1865. Mr. Root has officiated as president of both organizations from their inception to the present time. His traits of character which rendered him popular in public as well as in social and business life, while a resident of Herkimer, won for him the esteem and confidence the citizens of Oswego and in the year 1861, he was to the Assembly from the First District of Oswego and the record of his services bears out the assertion that county never was represented by a more faithful member.

His devotion to the interests of the people of his attracted the attention of Governor Morgan and when the following year war committees were appointed in Senatorial districts for the purpose of securing for said districts, he was appointed chairman of the committee in this district and officiated in that capacity during the war. His record as chairman of that committee is that he may well be proud of and we " nothing extenuate nor aught set down in malice" when we state that if to one man more than another the county of Oswego indebted for the success of the committee that one was subject of this sketch. The people recognizing the services that he during the Rebellion returned him to the assembly in 1865 and during both terms of service he was chairman of committee on banks He was chosen a member of constitutional convention in 1867 and held a from President Grant for collector of customs at this for a period of more than six years.

January 14, 1830, he united in marriage with Lydia Noyes, a native of Newburg, Orange county. Their consisted of three children, viz; Emeline; De Witt; James N; Emeline is the wife of John R. Noyes of the National Marine bank. DeWitt graduated with high honors at West Point Military Academy in 1851 and was appointed in the Third Artillery, then considered the best in the service. After graduating he obtained a furlough and while on the western tour contracted a fever and died within two months from the time he left the academy. James N. enlisted in the war of the Rebellion, entering ranks of the Twenty Fourth Regiment as private, and subsequently promoted to captain. He was discharged at the expiration of his term of service and re-enlisted in the One Hundred and Eighty Fourth Regiment and served the gallant Sheridan in the Shenandoah valley. He resides in Oswego. Mrs. Root died October 5, 1871. March 20, 1873 he married Mary A. Chalmers, a native of Onondaga County, who has resided in this city since three years of age.

Mr. Root is a self -made man. Early in life, he learned that the way leading to success was no royal road but was open to strong hands and willing hearts

"Honor and fame from no condition rise Act well your part there all the honor lies. "

He early established methodical business habits and energy and perseverance coupled with integrity of character worthy of emulation has rendered his life a success Politically he is a Republican and has labored earnestly to advance the interests of that party He manifests a deep interest in religious matters and his long and active business career has ever been characterized by a consistent Christian spirit He is a deacon in the Congregational church.

*History of Oswego County with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches 1877.*