Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Roth Family Line and a Terrible Tragedy

Roth Name Meaning and History

  1. German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): nickname for a person with red hair, from Middle High German rot, German rot ‘red’. As a Jewish surname it is also at least partly ornamental: its frequency as a Jewish surname is disproportionate to the number of Jews who, one may reasonably assume, were red-headed during the period of surname adoption.
  2. German and English: topographic name for someone who lived on land that had been cleared, Old High German rod, Old English rodroð.
  3. German: from a short form of any of the various Germanic personal names with the first elementhrod ‘renown’. 

The Roth Line

Glen Coe Roth (great grandmother)

b. 1896 in Hodgeman County, Kansas
Webster Tyler Roth (2nd g. grandfather)
b. 1842 in Bureau County, Illinois
Solomon Roth (3rd g. grandfather)
b. 1808 in Franklin Township, Delaware County, New York
Edward Roth (4th g. grandfather)
b. 1762 in Dudley, Massachusetts 
Benjamin Roth, Jr. (5th g. grandfather)
b. 1742 in This, Ardennes, Champagne-Ardenne, France
Benjamin Roth, Sr. (6th g. grandfather)

The Roth line has been fascinating to follow and I've learned some interesting things about my ancestors.  One such interesting fact is that my great grandmother, Glen Coe, learned to shoot a gun at a very early age and always carried it with her while out in the pasture, herding the cows. Her nickname was "Sarge". How I love that! She was an accomplished violinist. She loved to dress in costume, and was most fond of Native American dress:

With a name like Glen Coe and a brother named Fairiby, I thought perhaps a Scottish descent would be found.  Although her mother's maiden name is Wright, which is Scottish, I discovered that it's more probable that Glen Coe was named for a small town in Butler County, Kansas.  I've not found a birth record for Glen, but her father was living in Hodgeman County the year before she was born which is most likely her place of birth.  As for her brother, Fairiby, their father, Webster Tyler Roth served in the Civil War and his Regiment Colonel was Thomas G. Ferreby. This is probably where the name Fairiby came from.  

Webster Tyler Roth, my second great grandfather was born in Illinois but moved to Iowa with his family sometime between the ages of eight and fourteen.  In 1862, at the age of 20, he enlisted in the War of Rebellion (as the Civil War was called) and served with Company H, the 26th Iowa Infantry Regiment.  He served three years until 1865.

He married Anna Juliette Dillon Wright sometime before 1868 and they had 11 children, but lost the youngest one, Yvette, to a tragic accident involving fire around Christmas of 1897.  The story from the Dodge City Daily Globe, 12/31/1897:

**Last Saturday evening between 5 and 6 o clock a little girl of W.T. Roth who resides at the State Soldiers Home while playing in the back yard with some other children backed into a small fire which had been started by the children.  Her Dress caught fire behind, and before she discovered  it her clothing was all on fire.  she started and ran towards the rear door of Mr. J.W. Keiths house.  Mrs. Keith had just came to her rear door and saw the childs clothing in flames.  She ran to the child and pulled the clothing off as fast as she could, but before she could get them off the child was burned so bad and had inhaled so much of the fire that her little life could not be saved.  Her hair was all burned from her head.  Her body and flesh was burned black.  Mrs. Keiths hands were also badly burned in attempting to save the little one.  The Dr. did all that could be done for the child which only lived till 4 o clock Sunday morning.  The parents have the sympathy of the citizens in their sad affliction.**
It was such a sad story to discover.  I can't imagine how horrible that must have been for the other children and for Webster and Anna.  Anna died just two years later, perhaps with a broken heart. Webster was already living at Fort Dodge Soldiers Home when it happened and I've not discovered where the underage children went to live once Anna had died.
Back row: Edna (b. 1873), Ida (b. 1869), Chesterfield (b. 1878), Alwilda (b. 1871), Eva (b. 1868), Ann (b. 1880)
Front row: Devern (b. 1890), Fairiby (b. 1888), Glen Coe (b. 1886), Anna Juliette (b. 1850) holding Yvette (b. 1892, d. 1897), Webster Tyler (b. 1842), Pearle (b. 1884)
I've not done much research past Webster because he and his family has had a lot of historical records to comb over but I did find his father's headstone:
And a photograph of Solomon's brother, David, who's portrait hung in the Roth Family home in Hinsdale, Illinois and can also be found in a biography of the early pioneers of Hinsdale:
Solomon's father was Edward Roth who was born in Dudley, Massachusetts in 1762.  Finding his birth record was great because it told me that his father, Benjamin, was a "junior" so I know now that my 6th great grandfather would also be a Benjamin.  
Edwards father, Benjamin Jr. was supposedly born in the little village of This in the Champagne-Ardennes region of France.  I've not been able to confirm this however.  This has brought me to a standstill on my direct Roth line until I can travel to the village of This, France or find some other record in Massachusetts that will confirm the French connection.  In the meantime, I've decided to order the complete Civil War Military file for my great great grandfather Webster Tyler Roth and have been busy researching stories of his children.  More to come on this fascinating branch of my family tree!


  1. Thank you for posting this. I'm descended from David Roth, and when I discovered he had a brother named Solomon, I was hoping to be able to find further connections that would link the two and be able to discover the place their father was born. A story that's been passed down through my family is that two Roth brothers immigrated from Switzerland, but it's anecdotal and I can't confirm or deny it's accuracy. It may help you in further research along the Roth line. - Frankie Roth-Bjerke

  2. Do you have any answer for the Edward Roth born 5 June 1772 in Chesterfield, Cheshire Co, NH to Benjamin Roth, Jr and Ester and the 1762 birth that you have above. I am helping someone prove this line to Mayflower Society Hiram Roth -> Edward -> Benjamin Jr -> Benjamin Sr. Hard enough finding proof for Hiram but to find the same parents Benjamin Sr and Esther having 2 sons named Edward 10 years apart found 1762 in Dudley Worcester Co, MA and 1772 in Chesterfield, NH. I find another Edward Roth and Lenard in the Shays" Rebellion in 1786 and 1787. 1762 Edward would be of right age for this and 1772 Edward would only be 14 years old during this war. Any help would be appreciated! Chris Westcott at