Lee County Biography


Uriah Chittenden Roe, well-known as a physician of Franklin Grove and as manufacturer of Roe's family medicines, his sons being associated with him in the business, represents one of the pioneer families of Northern Illinois. He was born in Lyon County, Ky., January 1, 1825, and is the son of Dr. John and Elizabeth Ann (Lyon) Roe. His maternal grandfather, Col. Mathew Lyon, had rather a romantic history, he was born in Ireland, and when only a mere boy, ambitious to see something of the world and to try his fortune in America, conceived and carried out the plan of secreting himself on board a vessel bound for this country. On his arrival here he was sold to pay for his passage to Gov. Chittenden, of Vermont, for a yoke of oxen. The Governor took a deep interest in the spirited lad, educated him, and in due time gave him the hand of his daughter in marriage. He arose to a position of prominence in his adopted State, and at one time represented it in Congress. The mother of our subject was born in Kentucky in 1805. She was a woman of fine physique and ample proportions, being six feet in height and in advanced years weighed four hundred pounds. She was well-educated, had literary tastes, and wrote two books, the first one was entitled, "Aunt Leanna, or Early Scenes in Kentucky, and the other, "Recollections of Frontier Life in Illinois. She died at a venerable age in 1887. She gave birth to nine children, of whom eight are now living: our subject, the eldest of the family; Franklin M., a physician in Downers Grove; Giles B. , deceased, was a farmer in Ogle County; Mathew C. , a resident of Grand Junction, Iowa, a farmer and carpenter, and now engaged in selling medicine for his brother, our subject; Minerva B., wife of J. C. Mayberry, of Atlanta, Ga.; Frances M., wife of John Conlinc, of Milan Center, DeKalb County; and Malcolm C, a physician of Ogle County, having the largest practice of any doctor within its borders.

Dr. John Hoe was born in Philadelphia in 1800. He married Elizabeth A. Lyon, and in 1827 came to Illinois. His first stopping place was at Springfield, which was then but a mere collection of log cabins. He next went to Jacksonville, and subsequently took up a claim on the Illinois River in Putnam County. In 1833, he went to Galena to enter the land upon which lie had located, but found that another had secured the title. Returning home, he told his wife that he was glad that he did not obtain the claim, as he had seen much better land near the Rock River, and he soon removed his family to that region, settling in December, 1831, at Light House Point, seven miles north of Franklin Grove, in what is now Ogle County, but at that time formed a part of Jo Daviess County. He was one of the pioneer physicians of Northern Illinois, and as this part of the State was then but sparsely inhabited, his practice ex- tended over a large area of country, the settlements being scattered, and in visiting his patients he often traveled long distances, being called to various points from Galena to Lake Michigan and from La Salle many miles northward. He labored here until 1848 and then went to Chicago. The Doctor did not remain long in that city, however, but as gold was soon discovered, he joined the '49ers in the rush to California, taking his sons with him across the plains and mountains. It was not so easy to get the precious metal as he had imagined, and in 1851 he came back to Illinois, returning by the way of the Isthmus and New York City, and located at Paynes Point, Ogle County. He later removed to Nebraska, and died near Beatrice in 1873.

Our subject was still in his infancy when the family settled in the wilderness in this State. He attended school at Mt. Morris, read medicine with his father during his youth, and at eighteen years of age began to practice under his father's directions. He also gathered herbs and compounded the medicines for his father when there was no drug store for nearly one hundred miles. At the age of twenty-one, he entered the Ohio Botanical Medical College, from which he was graduated well equipped for his chosen profession, and when the family removed to Chicago in 1848, he staid behind to take charge of his father's extensive practice in Ogle County. He, however, gave it up next 3*ear to go with his father to California. He met with a serious misfortune during his sojourn in that State, as while he was doing some heavy lifting one of his thigh bones was broken near the hip, and he otherwise injured himself so that his body was bent, causing him to walk with his head near the ground. Upon his return home, while at New York City, he says he was determined to straighten up, and bracing himself against a post he exerted himself to assume an erect attitude. The effort was very painful, but he persisted in his resolution and soon became as straight as an Indian.

On his return to Illinois, after his experience in frontier life on the Pacific Slope, our subject located at Blood's Point, in Boone County, whence he removed to Payne's Point year later, where he practiced with his father and managed a farm that he had bought at the same time. In 1854, he came to Franklin Grove, five years later went to Ashton, thence to Rockford, and finally to Fairfax, Iowa. In 1870, he came again to Franklin Grove, and for the hist twenty years or more has been a continuous resident of this village. He has practiced somewhat, but has devoted his time principally to the manufacture of various medicinal preparations, eighteen in number, many of which have found their way into households in every part of the United States, and are highly reputed for their remedial virtues.

The Doctor is widely known, and is greatly respected. He is one of the leading members of the Old Settlers Society of Lee County, of which he has been President, and he has frequently delivered addresses at its meetings. In religion, he was reared n Methodist, and was ordained a minister in the church. His views in regard to such matters have somewhat changed since the years of his early manhood, and he is now connected with the Christian Adventist Church as one of its ministers. In politics, the Doctor was first a Democrat; from 1860 to 1872, a Republican, and since then independent He was Justice of the Peace while in Iowa, but has never had time for public offices.

Our subject was first married in February, 1846, to Miss Almeda Brown, a native of Canada, and a daughter of Nathaniel and Lucinda Brown. Her parents were pioneers of Illinois, coming hither in 1837. She died January 28, 1882. leaving seven children, five of whom are now living, namely: Nathaniel C. dealer in real estate in Chicago, and in partnership with our subject; Ella, wife of T. J. Giddings, of Franklin Grove; Lucy B., wife of A. Hamlin, of Brittian, Wis.; Fred U., born January 24, 1859, and educated at Mt. Morris, and has been a member of the firm of U. C. Roe & Sons since 1879; he was married August 29,1880, to Miss Annis M. Hill, a native of Manitowoc, Wis., a daughter of Homer Hill; and Carrie L., now Mrs. William S. Mulford, of Wisconsin. In 1883, Dr. Roe was married to Miss Mary E. Edmonds, a native of Lee County, and a daughter of Isaac Edmonds, of Compton. Three children have been born unto themó Herbert E., Marion L., and Rose Elizabeth, -- (Page missing)

Mrs. Roe is a woman of fine literary tastes, being the author of an excellent book, entitled, "How Six Girls Made Money, or Occupations for Women." She is also a frequent contributor to the periodical press.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

Back Home