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Biography - BYRON A. ROATH

Byron A. Roath, one of the brave boys who wore the blue through the trying years of the civil war, has been an honored inhabitant of Marseilles since the close of that dreadful strife. He is a native of Lockport, Niagara county. New York, his birth having occurred October 19, 1842. His parents. Mason and Hannah (Swift) Roath, were likewise born and reared in that town, where they continued to reside until about 1845. The father was of Teutonic extraction, as his great-grandfather was a native of Germany, while the mother of our subject, a daughter of James Swift, of the Empire state, was of Scotch descent.

When he was three years old Byron A. Roath was taken to Michigan, where his parents carried on a farm on a school section of land for five years. At the expiration of that period the family located near Adrian, Michigan, and there our subject attended school. His military life began in t86i, when he enlisted in Company F, Ninth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Captain George K. Newcomb and Colonel W. W. Duffield being in command of his company and regiment. That winter was spent in camp at Louisville, Kentucky, and the following spring the regiment was sent to Elizabethtown, where Mr. Roath's company was detached, and, going to Nolin, Kentucky, participated in the battles of Murfreesboro, July 13, 1862; Lavergne, Tennessee, December 27, 1862; Stone River, Tennessee, December 29 to 31, 1862, and January 1 and 2, 1863; Chickamauga, Georgia, September 19 and 20, 1863; Mission Ridge, November 25, 1863; Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia, May 8, 1864; Resaca, Georgia, May 14, 1864; Dallas, May 27, 1864; Kenesaw, June 25, 1864; Chattahoochie River, July 3 to 6, 1864; siege of Atlanta, July 22 to August 25, 1864; and Jonesboro, Georgia, September 1, 1864. With his regiment our subject was then ordered to Chattanooga to take charge of the deserters and bounty-jumpers, and later served under General Grant, and in the Army of the Cumberland. At the battle of Stone River he was taken prisoner by the forces of General Wheeler, but fortunately was released at the end of thirty-six hours on parole, and sent to Nashville, Tennessee. In December, 1864, he and his comrades veteranized and continued actively engaged in the war for the preservation of the Union until peace was declared, being mustered out in June, 1865. He was a brave, efficient and thoroughly reliable soldier, prompt and cheerful in the performance of his duties, and fully merited the high esteem in which he was held by his comrades and superiors alike. From 1878 until 1888 Mr. Roath was a member of Company A, Twelfth Battalion, Illinois National Guard, commencing as first lieutenant and served in that capacity for six years. He was then elected captain and served until the company was disbanded.

In October, 1865, Mr. Roath came to Marseilles, where he has uninterruptedly dwelt during the intervening years. He had mastered the trade of mason and plasterer, and continued to follow this calling for some ten years. He then embarked in the mercantile business, keeping a general line of goods, and for fifteen years he was very prosperous as a merchant. Then elected justice of the peace, he held that office acceptably to all concerned for twelve years, and for two years served as an alderman, representing the third ward in the town council, and being elected on the Republican ticket. He is an ardent admirer of the principles of that party, and has been a member of the county central and township committees. For some time he has conducted a general insurance and real estate business, besides being a notary public. Being interested in the Covenant Mutual Benefit Association, he was one of its directors for three years. Socially he is affiliated with Marseilles Lodge, No. 417, F. & A. M., and Ottawa Chapter, No. 37, R. A. M., and Joseph Woodruff Post, No. 281, G. A. R.

Soon after his return from the battle-fields of the south Mr. Roath married Miss Amanda A. Bangham, daughter of John Bangham, of Marshall, Michigan, and they have two living children, namely: Anna A., now the wife of M. L. Robinson, of Marseilles; and June A., an enterprising young man, who is still living at home with his parents.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 191-192.

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