Pages 542-543, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




WILLIAM H. ROOT.—Conspicuous among the mechanics who have aided in the material advancement of Iola and who have contributed liberally, in a substantial way, to its development is William H. Root. He knew Iola when it was in its swaddling clothes and as boy and man has followed its careers of adversity and prosperity through village and town and city. He is not a stranger to Kansas for he is one of her own. He was born in Anderson county the second of March, 1866, and has resided in Allen county since 1873.

Mr. Root was orphaned in childhood by the death of both father and mother and at the age of seven years he had fallen into the hands of Frank Root, of Geneva, together with a younger sister, Effie. Will and Effie Stigenwalt were adopted by Mr. Root and assumed the latter's name. The Stigenwalt family were of German origin. John Stigenwalt, our subject's grandfather, immigrated to the United States from some point in the German Empire and settled in Pennsylvania. From that state his son James, the father of our subject, together with his brother came westward by degrees to Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and to Kansas, reaching the last named state before the outbreak of the Civil war. John Stigenwalt's sons were James, John, Andrew, Thomas and George, of whom Thomas and Andrew reside near Los Angeles, California.

James Stigenwalt was a farmer and died at the age of twenty-eight years in 1870. He married Ruth, a daughter of John Hull, a Welchman, who came to Kansas from Illinois and lies buried at Earlton, Kansas. Mrs. Stigenwalt died almost simultaneously with her husband and left two sons and two daughters, viz: Ida M., wife of William Swiger, of Neosho county, Kansas; William H. Root, our subject; Otis H., who was reared by


Bert Hodgson and holds that name, and Effie Root, who died in California December 15, 1891.

In the fall of 1876 Frank Root moved with his family to Iola to assume the office of County Superintendent of Schools. From that date our subject's residence in the county seat begins. He was educated in the public schools of the town but quit school at sixteen years of age to take his initial step in business. His uncle Root was one of the partners in the hardware firm of Henderson & Root and Will rather grew up in their tin shop. At seventeen years of age he began regularly to learn the tinner's trade with Jacob Casmire and served his full time of three years. He was in the employ of Ewarts, and Lawyer, in Iola, as tinner and spent two years in Eldorado, Kansas, at the same work. Upon his return to Iola he did the tin work in the hardware store of J. W. Coutant for one year. In 1890 he set up alone and for the past ten years has been engaged in building up of one of the leading businesses in the city. One of the results of his ten years of unremitting labor is the Root business house on south Washington avenue, a two-story brick extending to the alley and having a width of twenty-five feet. The lower floor of this building Mr. Root uses himself as work shop and store for his line of builders' supplies and gas fittings and the like.

November 21, 1889, Mr. Root was married to Adda, a daughter of Warren Arnold, one of the pioneers of Allen county. The children of this marriage, surviving, are Florence A., Franklin P., Bernice and Katie Root.

Aside from personal considerations Mr. Root has manifested a lively and public-spirited interest in the welfare of Iola. This is demonstrated in his connection with enterprises originated for the public good, by the substantial manner in which he has improved his properties and by his liberal aid and encouragement of whatever tends to the moral and educational advancement of his home and county. A matter with which he is especially concerned and interested is the welfare of the Methodist congregation of Iola. For years has he affiliated with it as a member and his official connection with the body extends over a long period.

Mr. Root began his political career with a vote for Benjamin Harrison for president. His early training was from the head of that honest citizen and Christian gentleman, Frank Root, whose Republicanism passed through drouth and pestilence and war and never failed.

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