Perhaps there will never be put on paper the exact descriptions of the trying times the early pioneers had in opening the western country for settlement. Although the reservation portion of our country was settled later in the progress of development, still the same trying times and hardships were to be encountered as in other sections and the worthy subject of this article had his portion in this noble work. Suffering, self-denial, and extremely arduous labors with deprivations, were the lot of him and his family, but it is with pleasure that we can record that at the present time he is one of the prosperous farmers and stockmen of the County; his estate lies one and one-half miles north from Melrose.

Emerson T. Root was born in Evansville, Wisconsin, on August 18, 1864, being the son of William L. and Almira (Silverthorn) Root. The father was a shoemaker, born in Ohio, in 1840, was a pioneer to Kansas and died in 1894. The mother was born in Pennsylvania in 1843 and still lives in St. Louis. In 1870, the family went to Whiterock, Kansas, and two years later to Saint Joseph, Missouri.

There our subject was educated and learned the shoemaker’s trade, working at it for five years. It then became evident that for the sake of his health it would be necessary to have outdoor labor and accordingly he went to teaming and afterward associated himself with a wholesale hardware house.

In 1888 Mr. Root came west to Colfax and engaged in the sawmill business. Later he was agent for the Singer sewing machine. On April 14, 1896, Mr. Root landed on his present place and soon he had his family settled. Being practically without means, he was forced to go to the more settled country and work, thus leaving the family alone. He had to pack his provisions in on horseback and the first winter, he had the great misfortune to lose his horses and the only cow and calf they possessed, but despite these trying times Mr. Root labored on and he and his faithful wife are now enjoying the rewards of their industry in plenty and prosperity. He handles hogs, sheep, and does a general farming business.

On July 3, 1886, Mr. Root married Mrs. Melinda Lowe, daughter of James and Margaret A. (Broyles) Speer. Mr. Speer died in the Civil war fighting for his country. His wife was born in 1832 and now lives in Harrison County, Missouri. Mrs. Root was born in southern Missouri and has one brother, William R., now in that state. She was married first to George W. Lowe and by that marriage has one son, Benjamin F., and one daughter, Margaret A. Mr. Root has the following brothers and sisters, Oliver E., William L., Leroy, Charles F., Arthur P., and George F.

Mr. and Mrs. Root are members of the Methodist Church at Melrose and devout supporters of the faith they profess. Politically, Mr. Root is an independent Republican and is a progressive and enterprising citizen. His uncle, Emerson T. Root, gave his life for his country in the Civil War. Mr. Root was clerk of the school board and always strives for the betterment of educational facilities.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903