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11th Vermont Infantry (aka First Heavy Artillery, Vermont Volunteers)

Biography
David Root

David Root was born in Rutland, Vermont about 1835.[1} At the age of 23 he was a farmer who was five feet, one eighth inches high with light complexion, blue eyes, and light hair.[2}. David was living in West Rochester, Vermont when he married, as her second husband, Elizabeth Maria (Smith) (Dyer).  The marriage occurred on December 25, 1858 in West Rochester.  Stillman B. Jones, Justice of the Peace, performed the wedding ceremony.[3}  Elizabeth was the daughter of Fuller Smith and Miriam D. Rowell who was born on February 26, 1822 in Vermont.[4} She had married, first, on May 6, 1843 in Rochester, Vermont Ephraim Dyer, Jr.[5} Ephraim was found frozen to death in the woods near his home in March 1857.[6}

In 1860, David and Elizabeth were living near Elizabeth's parents in West Rochester.  David was a farmer with real estate of $800 and personal assets of $200.  Living with them were Elizabeth's 16 year old son, Eugene Dyer, and Elizabeth and David's year old son, Ephraim.[7}

For the fiscal year 1859-60, David Root's farm statistics reveal the following:

Acres of improved land50Corn, Indian, bushels15
Acres of unimproved land75Oats, bushels70
Value of farm$800Wool, pounds75
Value of farm implements$15Potatoes, Irish, bushels150
Milk cows3Buckwheat, bushels15
Oxen, working2Butter, pounds100
Other cattle2Hay, tons15
Sheep25Maple sugar, pounds200
Swine1Value animals slaughtered$24[8}
Value of livestock$175

In 1861, David entered the Civil War by joining the 2nd Battery, Vermont Light Artillery Volunteers. He was enlisted as a Private by Lensie R. Sayles of Leicester, Vermont at Rochester, Vermont on November 26, 1861 to serve three years.[9} David mustered into service on December 16, 1861 at Brandon Station, Vermont.[10} The 2nd Battery was at that time commanded by Captain P.E. Holcomb.[11}

David recounted: "In 1862 while the Battery was at Camp Parapet a few miles from New Orleans, Louisiana, I had an attack of fever and ague and chronic diarrhea ...  When first attacked with fever and ague and the chronic diarrhea, the weather was very warm, being at the time in an unhealthy malarial district."[12}

On May 10, 1862, David was admitted to St. James General Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana with remittent fever.  He was returned to duty on May 15, 1862.[13}

Alonzo Lord of Brandon was acquainted with David Root going back to the 1850s.  In early 1862, Alonzo was a bugler with the 1st Vermont Battery which was near to the 2nd Battery that May.  Previous to David becoming sick, Alonzo "used to see him daily and sometimes several times in a day."  Alonzo recalled "probably [in] May 1862, Root became sick with chronic diarrhea, was wholly disabled from doing duty and was sent to the hospital, I was informed at the time that the name of the hospital was St. James at New Orleans, LA.  Previous to Root becoming sick I used to see him daily and sometimes several times in a day.  I noticed his absence from his Battery which led me to enquire for him, and was informed that he was at said hospital sick with chronic diarrhea and fever and ague."  Alonzo further remembered that "about June or July 1862, myself and others of my Battery while at Camp Parapet went to the hospital at Camp Parapet to see some of the boys and when there I saw said Root in [the] hospital."[14}  Lord had remembered correctly.  About July 28, 1862, David had been sent to the hospital at Camp Parapet just outside New Orleans.[15}

The following year, David had another bout with serious diarrhea.  He had an attack of chronic diarrhea and fever on or about June 30, 1863 at Port Hudson, Louisiana which rendered him wholly unable to do military duty.  He was taken to Baton Rouge to the hospital the first day of July 1863.  While sick at the hospital, he was troubled with the blind bloody piles very severe resulting or producing a weakness in the small of his back.[16}

On November 19, 1863 at Port Hudson, Louisiana, 1st Lieutenant John W. Chase, the 2nd Battery commander, wrote: "During the last 2 months the soldier [Private David Root] has been unfit for duty 60 days in consequence of having a diarrhea most of the time for the past 8 months.  Has been an excellent soldier when able to do duty."[17}  Nine days later on November 28, 1863 at Port Hudson, David received a disability discharge that was "approved and certified for chronic diarrhea which has existed for 60 days during which time he has been under medical treatment with no advancement toward recovery and in all probability will not again be able to perform the duties of a soldier."  He was unfit for the Invalid Corps and his degree of disability was 2/3.  The assistant Surgeon in charge of the Battery, B.W. Huntington, certified David's medical condition.[18}

Back in Rutland, Vermont by December 1863, Doctor Cyrus Porter examined David and determined that David had received his disability "resulting from exposure in camp life."  Dr. Porter also determined that "the disability will improve with good treatment."  The specifics of the disability were "chronic diarrhea accompanied with pain and tenderness in abdominal region and averaging about 10 operations in 24 hours.  Also has hemorrhoids severe, and great emaciation."[19}

Evidently Dr. Porter's diagnosis and treatment were sufficient to enable David to re-enlist.

David Root was enrolled on August 3, 1864 at Rochester in Company "H" 1st Regiment of Vermont Heavy Artillery Volunteers (11th Vermont Volunteers) to serve 1 year.  He mustered into service as a Private on August 26, 1864 at Windsor.  On the muster roll of Company "H" for September through December 1864, he is reported absent wounded since October 19, 1864.  The Company was in action at Cedar Creek, Virginia on that date.  He was "slightly wounded in the leg at the battle of Cedar Creek."[20}

David was admitted to Jarvis General Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland on October 24, 1864, from Winchester, Virginia with the gunshot wound.[21} He was wounded in the right thigh, two inches above knee the joint, a little right of the medius line.  The ball passed through and out on the underside of knee.  The injury rendered him weak and somewhat stiff, disabling him one fourth in all.[22} David was transferred to Vermont on November 22, 1864.[23} He was admitted to Sloan General Hospital, Brattleboro, Vermont on November 25, 1864 with his gunshot wound.  Then he was returned to duty on December 22, 1864.[24}

From January 1 to April 30, 1865, David was present for duty.[25}  He mustered out with his company at the Defenses of Washington, DC on June 24, 1865.[26}

Back home on West Hill in Rochester, David tried to return to farming.  In 1870, he tried to treat his chronic diarrhea with a local cure.  S.N. Gould of Randolph, Vermont recalled: "I am the original inventor and sole manufacturer of the remedy known as the Good Samaritan remedy, that David Root of Rochester, Vermont commenced to use the above named Good Samaritan remedy in 1870 for "chronic diarrhea" with good result, and has used it continuously from year to year up to the present time."[27} Gould went on to say that he sold David the remedy "from five to ten dollars each year for his disability "chronic diarrhea" and the effect and result of the disease which had been a great relief to him."[28}

In 1870, David and Elizabeth were living in Rochester where David was a farmer with real estate of $1,000.  His wife, Elizabeth, and son Ephraim, were living within the household.  Their home was located near Elizabeth's brother, Chester Smith.[29}

For the fiscal year 1869-70, David Root's farm statistics reveal the following:

Acres of improved land80Oats, bushels30
Acres of unimproved land20Buckwheat, bushels16
Value of farm$1,000Wool, pounds114
Value of farm implements$100Peas & Beans, bushels1
Horses2Potatoes, Irish, bushels75
Milk cows5Butter, pounds450
Working oxen4Hay, tons30
Other cattle6Maple sugar, pounds100
Sheep18Value of home manufactures$175
Swine3Value of all farm products$600[30}
Value of livestock$1700

Silas Stanley of Brandon was well acquainted with David Root.  In the fall of 1877 and 1878 and at other times, he boarded with David Root and his family when he was lumbering in the vicinity where Root lived.[31}

T.M. Crossman and W.S. Swan of Rochester were neighbors and well acquainted with David Root.  After the Civil War they knew how sick David was with chronic diarrhea and fever and ague and that he was unable to perform manual labor.  They had lived in David's house and worked for him.[32}

In 1879, David summarized his current ailments resulting from the Civil War:

"... he has suffered with the diarrhea and ague at intervals to the present time – more severe at some times than at others and when the attacks return he is wholly incapacitated for performing manual labor for several days and even weeks at a time.  The gun shot wound still troubles him, suffering with weakness of the limb and knee joint and almost constant pain whenever he walks or stands upon it any length of time.  His occupation is that of a farmer and his disabilities trouble him very much about pursuing his ordinary business."[33}

For his service in the Civil War as a Private, 2nd Battery, Vermont Light Artillery; and Private, Company "H" 1st Artillery, Vermont Volunteers, David received a disability pension at the following rates: $8 per month, commencing March, 4 1864; and $6 from June 25, 1865; and $10 from April6, 1880, deducting from August 3, 1864 to June 24, 1865 when he was on active duty.[34}

David and Elizabeth were still on their farm in Rochester in 1880.  Living with them were their sons; Ephraim, 20, a farm laborer, and Dana L., 4; and Kate Campbell, a 16 year old teacher.[35}  David's wife, Elizabeth owned the farm on which they resided. 

For the fiscal year 1879-80, David Root's farm statistics reveal the following:

acres of land improved, tilled85poultry on hand, barnyard6
acres of meadow & orchards80eggs produced in 1879, dozen120
acres of woodland70Indian corn:
cash value of farm$1,200acres2
cash value of implements$200bushels60
value of live stock$600oats:
fences built/repaired$100acres2
value of all farm productions$675bushels118
acres of grassland, mown30Maple sugar, pounds200
acres of grassland not mown50Potatoes, Irish:
tons of hay80acres1
horses3bushels60
working oxen2acres of apple orchard 1
milk cows9Apple bearing trees30
other cattle6bushels of apples15
calves dropped7value of orchard products$3
pounds of butter made1,350cords of wood cut12
swine2value of forest products$75[36}

In 1883, they lived off road 53 and farmed with 11 dairy cows and 100 acres.[37}

David was receiving a $10 per month disability payment for all his ailments caused by the Civil War, including his gunshot wound when he requested in July 1884, an increase in the stipend because he was now totally disabled to do manual labor.  Since October 1883, he had been under constant care of a physician and previous to that date was partially under treatment.[38} David did not live long enough to receive an increase, he died a month later.

David Root died at his home in Rochester on August 12, 1884 of "disease of the liver result of chronic diarrhea and fever and ague."[39}  He is buried in the Bingo Cemetery, West Rochester, Vermont.[40}  His wife, Elizabeth, applied for a widow's pension on October 15, 1884.[41}

In 1900, Elizabeth ("Lizzie") at age 78 and widowed was living with her grandson, Harry S. Dyer and his family in Rochester.[42}

Elizabeth died on January 24, 1908 at the age of 85 years and 11 months and is buried with her second husband in the Bingo Cemetery.  Her gravestone is engraved: "Auntie has gone to rest."[43}  Children of David Root and Elizabeth M. (Smith) (Dyer):

i. Ephraim Orlando, b. 7 Nov 1859.  At home in 1860, [44} 1870, and 1880. Ephraim was single at age 40 and living in Rochester in 1900.[45}  On 13 Oct 1903 Ephraim was murdered.  Ephraim had two teams of horses with which he hauled lumber over Brandon Mountain for Bruno Green.  After supper on the fatal night, when he entered the barn to care for his horses, someone jumped him and beat him to death with a club. During the trial nearly all the West Hill people were called to court in Woodstock.  As farmers, they were greatly inconvenienced by the forty mile trip and many days away from home.  However, while they were gone James Bland did the chores for all the families.  He lived at Chester Smith's and spent the day going from one farm to another until all the stock was cared for. Joe Bean was sentenced for the murder and served 12 years in the State Prison, even though he proclaimed his innocence.  Only after the dying confession of the true murderer was Bean set free.[46}

ii. Dana L. b. ca. 1876.  At home in 1880.

Contributed by William J. Powers, Jr., Lake Dunmore, VT., wjpowers@lakedunmorevt.com.


Footnotes:

[1} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Army of the United States.  Certificate of disability For Discharge.  Private David Root.

[2} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Army of the United States.  Certificate of disability For Discharge.  Private David Root.

[3} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Widow's Declaration for Pension or Increase of Pension.  8 Sep 1884.  Elizabeth M. Root; and Vermont Vital Records.  Marriage.  David Root m. Elizabeth Dyer; groom res. – Rochester, VT; married 5 Dec 1858; farmer; born – Rutland, VT; officiating – Stillman Jones, J.P.  Rochester, VT.  [Powers note: The Vermont Vital Record gives the marriage date of 5 Dec 1858.  The marriage date, mentioned several times, in the Civil War pension record states 25 Dec 1858.  I've opted for the 25 Dec 1858 date because David's wife stated such.]

[4} Information courtesy of Deborah Guber: Elizabeth Maria Smith, b. 26 February 1822, Rochester, VT, d. 24 January 1908 of "acute bronchitis," Rochester, VT, m. 1) Ephraim Dyer, 2) David Root.

[5} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Widow's Declaration for Pension or Increase of Pension.  8 Sep 1884.  Elizabeth M. Root.

[6} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  General Affidavit.  6 Oct 1886.  John Q. White and George Guernsey; also, Record of Proof of Marriages, Births, and Deaths.  Rochester.  "1857 March 17 Ephraim Dyer, age 48 years, 8 months, 6 days.  In the woods lost frozen to death.  Male.  Occupation a farmer on the mountain.  Parents: Ephraim and Nancy Dyer.

[7} Census, 1860, Vermont, Windsor County, Rochester, P.O. Rochester, 4 Jun 1860, p. 273.

202/189

Root, David       25 m   Farmer     800     200     VT

      Elisabeth   38 f                              VT

      Not named    1 m                              VT

Dyer, Eugene      16 m                              VT

[8} Agricultural Census, 1860, Vermont, Windsor County, Rochester, p. 25.  David Root.

[9} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Army of the United States.  Certificate of disability For Discharge.  Private David Root.

[10} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  War Department, Adjutant General's Office.  Washington, DC, 15 Sep 1880.

[11} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  [Invalid Pension], State of Vermont, Rutland County Court, 30 Dec 1863.  David Root.

[12} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  David Root statement, responding to a 21 Jan 1880 letter.

[13} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  War Department.  Surgeon General's Office.  Washington, DC, 3 Jan 1881.

[14} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  General Affidavit, 6 Mar 1880.  Alonzo E. Lord.

[15} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Letter from David Root to the Commissioner of Pensions, 7 Mar 1880.

[16} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  [Invalid Pension], State of Vermont, Rutland County Court, 30 Dec 1863.  David Root.

[17} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Army of the United States.  Certificate of disability For Discharge.  Private David Root.

[18} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Army of the United States.  Certificate of disability For Discharge.  Private David Root.

[19} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Examining Surgeon's Certificate.  Cyrus Porter, Rutland Vermont, 30 Dec 1863.

[20} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  War Department, Washington, DC, 2 Jan 1879.

[21} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  War Department.  Surgeon General's Office.  Record and Pension Division.  Washington, DC, 7 Jun 1879.

[22} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Examining Surgeon's Certificate.  In the Case of an Applicant for Renewal or Restoration.

[23} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  War Department.  Surgeon General's Office.  Record and Pension Division.  Washington, DC, 7 Jun 1879.

[24} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  War Department, Surgeon General's Office, Washington, DC.  18 Nov 1885.  Private David Root.

[25} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  War Department, Washington, DC, 2 Jan 1879.

[26} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  War Department, Adjutant General's Office, Washington, 20 Nov 1885.

[27} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  General Affidavit.  1 Jul 1881.  S.N. Gould.

[28} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  State of Vermont, Orange County.  21 Aug 1880.  S. N. Gould.

[29} Census, 1870, Vermont, Windsor County, Rochester, Rochester P.O., 10 Jun 1870, p. 22/488 [roll 1629].

                176/177

Root,      David            28 m        Farmer         1,000       ----           VT (mother of foreign birth)

           Elizabeth        48 f        Keep. House                              VT

          Ephraim          10 f                                                  VT

[30} Agricultural Census, 1870, Vermont, Windsor County, Rochester, pp. 5-6.  David Root.

[31} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Statement of Silas Stanley, 22 May 1880, Brandon, Vermont.

[32} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  General Affidavit, [undated].  T.M. Crossman and W.S. Swan.

[33} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Statement of David Root, 4 Aug 1879.

[34} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Restoration of Invalid Pension.  Claimant – David Root.

[35} Census, 1880, Vermont, Windsor County, Rochester, p. 225C (T9-1350):

????/????

Root, David        self     m s 46  Farmer       VT VT VT

       Elisabeth M. wife     m f 58  K. House     VT CT NH

       Ephraim O.   son      s m 20  Farm Laborer VT VT VT

       Dana L.      son      s m  4               VT VT VT

Campbell, Kate         other   -- f 16  Teacher      VT VT VT

[36} Agricultural Census, 1880, Vermont, Windsor County, Rochester, ED 260, 19 Jun 1880, page 17.  Name: David Root.  [UVM, Bailey/Howe Microforms (microfilm) (2nd Floor), call number: MICROFILM 629.]

[37} Child, Hamilton.  Gazetteer & Business Directory of Windsor County, Vt. for 1883-4.  Syracuse, NY; Printed at the Journal Office.  January 1884.  Page 462.  Rochester: Root, David, (Rochester) off r 53, dairy 11 cows, farmer 100, owned by Elizabeth M.; and Root, Elizabeth M., (Rochester) off r 53, Mrs. David, farmer 100.

[38} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Declaration for the Increase of an Invalid Pension.  State of Vermont, Rutland County, 5 Jul 1884.  David Root.

[39} Civil War Pension Record, David Root, #23,517.  Widow's Declaration for Pension or Increase of Pension.  8 Sep 1884.  Elizabeth M. Root.

[40} Gravestone inscription, Bingo Cemetery, West Rochester, Vermont:

David Root, d. Aug 12, 1884, age 51 years

G.A.R

Elizabeth M. Root, d. 24 Jan 1908, age 85 yrs., 11 months.

[41} Information courtesy of Deborah Guber.

[42} Information courtesy of Deborah Guber: 1900, Rochester, Windsor County, VT.  Elizabeth is listed as "Lizzie Root," born February 1822, age 78, and widowed.  She is the mother of 2 children, 1 living.  She is living with her grandson Harry S. Dyer (b. June 1880) and his wife Alta (b. May 1881).  They married around 1898, and have one child, Leah G. born October 1898.

[43} Gravestone inscription, Bingo Cemetery, West Rochester, Vermont:

David Root, d. Aug 12, 1884, age 51 years

G.A.R

Elizabeth M. Root, d. 24 Jan 1908, age 85 yrs., 11 months.

[44} Census, 1860, Vermont, Windsor County, Rochester, P.O. Rochester, 4 Jun 1860, p. 273.

202/189

Root, David          25 m   Farmer  800 200 VT

  Elisabeth      38 f                    VT

      Not named       1 m                    VT

Dyer, Eugene         16 m                    VT

[45} Information courtesy of Deborah Guber.

[46} Rochester, Vermont, Its History, 1780-1975.  Published by the Town of Rochester.  Queen City Printers, Inc., Burlington, Vt.  1975.  Pages 18-19.  "A Mysterious Murder."

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