One of the venerable and highly respected citizens of Marion county is he
whose name appears above, a man whose life has been led along useful and
conservative lines, resulting in good to those with whom he came in contact
and resulting in success to himself and family.
Joseph Porter Root was born August 4, 1828, in Orange county, Vermont, the son of King and Elizabeth (Bacheldor) Root, both natives of Orange county, Vermont, the former's father and mother also being natives of that county. Jethro Bacheldor was the subject's maternal grandfather. He and his wife were both natives of New Hampshire. The subject's father, who grew up and married in Vermont, was a very active man. a great drummer, and a farmer by occupation. Both he and his wife died in Vermont; the latter was a member of the Free Will Baptist church. The former was a Democrat. They were the parents of thirteen children, twelve of whom grew to maturity and married. The subject had one brother, Lawton, a farmer, who came west in about 1838, going to Chicago and down the Mississippi river and through Southern Illinois and in two years went back to Vermont.
The subject of this sketch, who received only a limited schooling when a boy, lived at home with his parents until he reached manhood. In early life he worked as a turner at the lathe and made tool handles. In 1852 he came west unaccompanied and located in Marion county where Centralia now stands. The country was then wild and he has seen the development of the community, taking no small part in the great work. There was no railroad in the county when he came here. He went into partnership with Robert Hensley in 1854 and put up a steam sawmill on Fulton creek, the first mill in that locality. Lumber was sawed here for the Illinois Central Railroad Company to be used in the construction of round houses, shops and buildings in general. Our subject operated the mill for about two years, when he sold it and went into partnership with Josiah Gilkey and they made wheel barrows and such implements by hand and later took up painting. He secured land and started to make a home.
Our subject was united in marriage on June 14, 1856, to Sarah Ann Stradley, of Ashville. North Carolina, who was born November 20, 1832, the daughter of David and Mary (Bruce) Stradley, the former having been born in England and the latter in North Carolina. Mr. Stradley was sent by a syndicate to Mexico to look after their interests in a silver mine, and he remained there three years. He had relatives in North Carolina, where he went and in which state he was married, and later came to Marion county. Illinois, settling in Centralia township, where he got land, where he and his wife both died.
The wife of the subject, a woman of many beautiful traits of character, passed to her rest August 24, 1898.
After his marriage our subject lived in Centralia township, having cleared land and made a good and comfortable home and where he lived in ease until the death of his wife, since which time he has lived among his children. Eight children were born to the subject and wife as follows: Mary E., born August 8, 1857, married Oliver P. Moore; they live in Jefferson county, Illinois, and are the parents of eight children, one deceased. Erastus S., the second child, was born September 20, 1859, married Celia Wood; they live in Centralia, this county, and are the parents of eight children, two being deceased; King David was born October 24, 1861, married Orphelia Van Houten, and they are the parents of four children and make their home in Centralia; Charles Burdette, who was born September 11, 1863, married Edith Creed; he is a farmer and teacher in Centralia township, being the parents of three children, one child being deceased. Joseph Elmer, the fifth child, was born May 8, 1866, is a farmer in Centralia township, married Mary Bates, and they have three children living and one dead. Jethro Bacheldor, the sixth child, was born March 4, 1870, and married Mollie Burge, of Centralia, and they have five children. Ella B. was born April 25, 1872, married Lloyd Burge, living at Hyattville, Wyoming, and they are the parents of three children; Cyrus, the youngest child, was born October 6, 1878, married Grace Burge, of Marion county, Illinois, the daughter of Jarrett and Susan (Warren) Burge, both of this county. They were of Virginia and Tennessee stock. Jarrett Burge lived all of his life in Marion county, this state, on a farm. He now lives one mile east of Odin. His wife died in January, 1904.
Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus Root are the parents of three children, namely: Earl, Evelyn and Lavinia. Our subject is regarded as one of the representative farmers of Centralia township, having always devoted his life to the farm. However, he has been practically retired since 1898. He is a Democrat; his wife was a member of the Baptist church. Mr. Root is a remarkably well preserved man for his advanced age, still hale and hearty. He is a great reader and is well posted. He started in life in a small way, but being industrious and a good manager, he has achieved success and is today one of the substantial men of the county.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 551-552.