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Roe, Edward R.

Born: 1813-06-22 Ohio

Died: 1893-11-06 Chicago, Illinois

Born in Lebanon, Ohio, Edward R. Roe was a physician, journalist, newspaper editor, amateur geologist, inventor, professor, U.S. Army officer, court clerk, author, state representative, and U.S. marshal. Roe and his father moved to Cincinnati in 1819. In September 1836, he married Ellisan Dunham, with whom he eventually had at least five children. He later attended Louisville Medical Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, and graduated in 1842. He began practicing medicine in Anderson, Indiana, then relocated his practice to Shawneetown, Illinois. In 1848, he relocated again, this time to Jacksonville, Illinois, where he remained until 1852. While in Jacksonville, Roe pursued an interest in geology, lectured on geology and the natural sciences, worked in journalism, invented a machine related to telegraph technology, and edited the Jacksonville Journal from 1850 to 1852. He was a candidate for state geologist, but did not receive the appointment due to his status as a member of the Whig Party. In June 1850, he was one of over a dozen Illinois physicians who met in Springfield and created the Illinois State Medical Society. In 1852, he relocated to Bloomington, Illinois, where he served as the State Normal University's first professor of natural science. He also became a member of the Democratic Party, and was the party's nominee for state superintendent of public instruction in 1860. By this time, Roe had a personal estate valued at $600. After the outbreak of the Civil War, however, he mustered into Company HQ of the Thirty-Third Regiment of the Illinois Infantry at the rank of major. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in September 1862, but retired May 29, 1863 due to serious wounds he received at Vicksburg on May 22, 1863. Roe remained active, earning several political patronage positions, writing fiction, and gaining election to the Illinois General Assembly in the years following the war.

Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Mercer County, ed. by Wm. A. Lorimer (Chicago: Munsell, 1900), 1:455-56; Ohio, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1774-1993, 6 September 1836, Warren County (Lehi, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, 2016); David W. Yandell, The Doctorate Address Delivered at the Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the University of Louisville: Medical Department. March 2, 1887 (Louisville: John P. Morton, 1887), 6; The Leading Telegraph Patents, Including Original and Reissued Patents, of S. F. B. Morse (New York: John Polhemus, 1876), 31; N. S. Davis, “History of the Illinois State Medical Society,” The Illinois Medical Journal 2 (June 1900 - May 1901), 126-27; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 1, Bloomington, McLean County, IL, 134; Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls Database, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Robert B. Beath, History of the Grand Army of the Republic (New York: Bryan, Taylor, 1889), 58.