This collection contains letters and documents pertaining to Logan H. Roots and his extended family. Also included are business documents and personal correspondence, as well as genealogies, funeral memorials, and diaries.
Logan Holt Roots was born March 26, 1841, in Tamaroa, Perry County, Illinois. In 1857 he entered the Illinois State Normal University. Upon graduation in 1862, Roots enlisted in the Union Army, joining the 81st Illinois Volunteer Regiment. He received a commission as First Lieutenant and an assignment to the Quartermaster Corps. He also participated in Sherman's campaign in Georgia and in 1865 reached the rank of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel.
Following the Civil War, the Army sent Roots to Arkansas, where he remained after his discharge, and purchased a cotton plantation near DeVall's Bluff (Prairie County). In 1868 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives on the Republican ticket and served the First Congressional District of Arkansas until 1871. Upon his return to the state, Roots spent a brief period as a federal marshal in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), then settled in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and became president of the Merchant's (later First) National Bank. In 1871 he married Emily M. Blakeslee and they had three daughters, Frances Emily, Miriam, and Lois. The couple also had three sons, but all died in infancy. Roots was also the president and chief stockholder of the Southwestern Telegraph Corporation, which spread telephone service throughout the southwestern United States.
In 1890, due to poor health, Roots retired from the presidency of First National Bank. Two years later, he returned to the job when the bank experienced severe financial problems. Roots died on May 30, 1893, in Little Rock, and is buried in Oakland Cemetery.
In 1892, Roots was instrumental in negotiating a property trade involving the federal government, the state of Arkansas, and the city of Little Rock. The United States exchanged the arsenal grounds on Ninth Street in Little Rock, now known as MacArthur Park, for land on the north side of the Arkansas River. In 1897 the new facility, in what is now North Little Rock, was named Fort Logan H. Roots.
Roots's older brother, Philander Keep Roots (1838-1921), also of Tamaroa, Illinois, shared substantial business and family interests with Logan. The two men married women who were related to each other--one was aunt and one was niece. Known as P.K., Philander Roots was a civil engineer educated at Carrollton College and the State Normal College at Bloomington, both in Illinois. During the Civil War, he served as an officer in the Engineer Corps of the Union Army. Following the war, he went west, working as a surveyor and in mining in California and Nevada. He married Frances M. Blakeslee of DuQuoin, Illinois, in 1866. He and his family joined Logan in Arkansas in 1870 when P.K. became a partner in the DeVall's Bluff plantation. From there, he worked on railroads, and in banking and communications. The family lived in Fort Smith and, most significantly, Little Rock.
Document, 8.5" x 11"
Fort Smith, Sebastian County (Ark.); Little Rock, Pulaski County (Ark.)
Logan H. Roots papers, MG.04299
Arkansas State Archives
Arkansas State Archives
Logan H. Roots papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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United States History