Introduction by Vicki Profitt, Illuminated History:
Five months ago, Debra Root Howie contacted me with a question pertaining to her Civil War ancestor, Lyman Root. We sent many emails back and forth, and I invited Debra to share Lyman’s story. What follows is a narrative of Lyman Root’s life written by his descendant, Debra Root Howie, in her own words.
Foreword by guest author Debra Root Howie:
In March this year (2012) my father would be gone for two (2) years now. As part of my grieving process I decided to continue the genealogy I started almost twenty five (25) years ago. “Lyman’s Story” was written because of all the stories Dad gave to me through my childhood and into my adult life.
Dad told me many stories, many of which, I have been able to prove true. He said to me one day, “There was a man in the family who fought in a famous war, but I don’t know his name and I don’t know which war.” I hung on that statement from him and I decided to prove him right, again. I started with basically nothing. I had interviewed my aunt twenty five (25) years ago, reviewed the taped interview from her and found a few hints. The name Lu Lu came up as well as ‘someone’ heading out west. Well! A few more hints!
I decided to just dig in (no pun intended) and search. I knew my grandfather’s name but not anyone before him. I found an application for marriage made out by my Dad’s father, Carl Castor Root. That is when I found and read for the first time, my great grandparents names, Lyman and Luevilla Root. That was the first of many thrills in searching for Lyman.
My travel through time for Lyman has been absolutely amazing and thrilling. I have learned so much more about my Dad than I could have ever imagined. I learned about his many grandfathers’ through the early years of this country’s development and how loyal and dedicated they were to God, family and country. In one of Lyman’s medical reports from the Civil War during an illness, G. W. Hannah M.D. wrote that he was ‘anxious to get back to camp’. I thought it showed how dedicated he was to the war and the other soldiers he fought with. That is exactly how Dad would have felt. He said when he was in the service he ‘never asked someone to do something he would never do himself’. I feel the quality of fairness and loyalty was passed through the generations’ right to my father, through me and into my own children.
I thought it especially appropriate that I was discovering my great grandfather Pvt. Lyman Root Civil War Soldier, during the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. He was trained right here in Rochester and served with the 140th Company H! I discovered he was captured and sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia for 6 months. Andersonville was said to be the worst prison during the war. Now that proves what kind of determination he had for survival! Dad would have been so proud to have known what kind of grandfather he had.
I hope someday to make it to Little Falls, Minnesota to view Lyman’s stone. I am told it is worn and difficult to read, but to see it for myself would be an ending to Lyman’s story and really, an ending to one of Dad’s stories told to me through my years with the gift of having my dad as my Dad.
I can’t thank the people enough who directed me into a direction in which I ran, crazed with the idea of finding my ancestors and in the end, learning more about Dad, myself and the families from which I came.
Lyman was born in Victor, Monroe County, New York, USA. Victor was the centre of many converging roads. In 1798 the site of the village contained two log houses, owned and occupied by Captain A. Hawley, Sr and his son, James. Toward the depot lived Peter Turner and Isaac Root who was Lyman’s great grandfather. Isaac owned a farm of 100 acres which he later sold and split between two people. He and his wife, Mary were two of the original members of the Presbyterian Church. He was also one of the deacons on July 10, 1812. Both Isaac and Mary’s lives were passed in the village. The Presbyterian church still stands today in the middle of the very busy and beautiful town. Behind the church is a very well kept cemetery where Isaac and Mary are interred.
Born to parents Harry and Henrietta (Reeves) Root, Lyman’s birth date was May 22, 1847. In 1850 he was four (4) years old and living in Victor. Lyman was the first of six (6) children born. His siblings names were Adna, William, Adella , James and Edmund. In the 1865 Federal Census he was listed as “Louisa”, a male, age fourteen (14). Obviously that was a mistake and should have been Lyman. The 1860 Federal Census, the 1865 State Census as well as the 1870 Federal Census shows the family inMendon,New York. In the 1870 United States Federal Census Noah Root was living with the family. Noah was Lyman’s uncle on his father Harry’s side of the family. Harry Root, as shown in the 1870 United States Federal Census, was a carpenter and a constable. Henrietta was keeping house.
Between 1860 and 1865 there was quite a bit of activity going on in our country with lots of changes taking place. Abraham Lincoln was president. March 4, 1861, seven southern states declared their secession and joined together to form the Confederate States of America. That act was not taken lightly by the Northern States and even some of the Southern States. In 1861 the Civil War started by the Confederacy firing on Fort Sumter.
In early July of 1862, President Lincoln responded by calling for a volunteer army from each northern state to recapture federal property. The President asked for 300,000 three-year troops to bring the unnecessary civil war to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion. Within one month in Rochester, an entire regiment of infantry had been raised, along with replacements for others already in the field, but before the 108th New York Regiment Infantry even left Rochester, there came another request for troops.
This call was also for 300,000 men who would serve as reserve militia in August. Recruiting stations were set up and war meetings were held. By Friday, August 22, it was reported that 677 men had already signed up with 260 enrolling on Thursday alone. The 260 were total recruits; of that number 175 men enlisted in what became the 140th.
In 1862 Lyman traveled from Mendon, N.Y., to Monroe County, Rochester N.Y. On the 21st of August 1862 at the age of 18 Lyman enlisted into the 140th Infantry Unit Company H for the Union side. Records state his occupation was that of being a farmer. He was 5 ft. 6” high with black hair, black eyes and a dark complexion. On the American Civil War Soldier sources Lyman’s birth year was around 1844. In order to join the 140th he had to have lied about his age as several census records show Lyman was really only 15 years of age. If the ranks had found him out, Lyman would have been told to leave as did happen to men who lied about their ages. According to the U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles sourced by the ‘Report of the Adjutant-General’ ofNew York, Lyman Root entered at the rank as a Private.
Lyman was mustered in at Camp Fitz-John Porter on September 13, 1862. This camp was authorized on July 15, 1862. The camp was named after General Fitz-John Porter. Its location was along the Genesee River in Rochester across from what later became the River Campus of the Universityof Rochester. The entrance was at Cottage St. near Magnolia St. The 108th and 140th NY Infantry Regiments trained there. Over 500 men were housed at the camp before they left.
The 140th left Rochester September 19, 1862 on the New York Central Railroad—24 cars long—about noon. It was heading for Elmira, then on to Washington, Baltimore, and wherever else they were assigned.
Lyman’s entire schedule after he entered the battle fields is not known, but we do know that he fought in the battle at NorthAnna River. He became a D.S. (?) Provost Guard of Brigade Headquarters from June 20, 1863 through February 1864. He then appeared for duty with his regiment in March and April 1864. He was captured on May 27, 1864 at Hanover Junction and confined at Richmond, VA, May 28, 1864. He was sent to Andersonville, Georgia on May 31, 1864 and spent 6 months in Andersonville prison. He was sent to Camp Lawton on November 20, 1864. He was paroled at Savannah, Georgiaon November 21, 1864. He became sick, and in December of 1864 he was sent home on furlough for 30 days. G. W. Hannah, M.D., was caring for Lyman. In one of his reports he mentioned how Lyman was very anxious to get back to camp. He returned from Rochester to Annapolis, Maryland on the Erie Railroad on February 20, 1865 and was in the 2nd Division Hospital in March and April of 1865. He returned to his regiment in April of 1865. He was mustered out on June 3, 1865 near Alexandria,Virginia after serving two years and nine months.
When Lyman came back to Mendon from the war, he lived with his parents until he married Luevilla (LuLu) Hunter around 1874. Luevilla was born ca. 1855 and died May 31, 1882 in childbirth at age 27 and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Mendon Cemetery. At that time he and his wife, Luevilla, were living with his parents in Mendon. By the year 1880, they were living in their own home with their children: Thomas b. 1875, Claude b. 1876, Bessie b. 1877 and Carl b. 1880. The 1880 Census listed Lyman as being a building mover and living in Mendon.
Luevilla died May 31, 1882 and was buried in the Mendon Cemetery. Lyman was obviously in need of someone to care for his children (who were between the ages of seven and two) because he married Mary Leonard / Lenore on January 19, 1883. Her family was from France and migrated to Canada. Mary’s birth date was about 1861. She had a daughter, Elizabeth, from a former marriage She traveled alone as a widow with her young child fromCanada to Minnesota and then to Mendon in 1882. Elizabeth died before 1884. Together, Lyman and Mary had four children in Mendon: Della b. 1884, Francis (Frank) b. 1886, Lyman Jr. b. 1887, and Mary Ellen b. 1889. Lyman applied to the US Government for an Invalid Pension in 1890.
Sometime toward the end of 1891 or early 1892, Lyman and his family moved to Minnesota. It is not known the reason but possibly his wife Mary, had family there. It is not known how they got there. Pearl was born in September of 1892 in Minnesota. Lyman Jr. died one month before his father in July of 1893. Lyman died August 25, 1893 in Little Falls, Minnesota at the age of 47 after he was honored with medals from fighting with the 140th and Gettysburg. It is said he was so ill he could not accept his medals so Mary had to accept them in place of Lyman. Lyman, his son Lyman Jr., Mary were buried in Oakland Cemetery, Little Falls, Morrison County. His headstone was provided by the Deceased Union Civil War Veterans organization in 1894. His death notice from the Little Falls Daily Transcript indicated that he left a wife and several children in “reduced circumstances.” On April 10, 1893 his wife, Mary, applied for a Widow’s Pension and never married again. She was listed on the 1920 United States Federal Census at the age of 59 but not found in the census for 1930.