Frank Levi Root

FRANK LEVI ROOT has lived in the vicinity of Oketo for thirty years. He has prospered in a degree sufficient to meet his sanguine expectations, and not only owns and controls a large body of rich farming land in Marshall County but is also actively identified with Oketo's business affairs and its civic and community life.

Mr. Root was born in Cedar County, Iowa, May 21, 1865. His father, Levi Root, born in Ohio July 9, 1832, grew up in his native state and when a young man moved to Iowa. He was married in Cedar County and had a large farm in that and Jones County. He was an expert foundryman by trade, and in 1867 he left Iowa and went to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and for ten years was employed in a foundry, returning to Iowa in 1877. For a year before his death he had visited his son in Oketo, and while returning to the home of his daughter Mrs. Ida M. Belcher in Iowa he died at Ottumwa March 4, 1910. Politically he was a democrat, and was a member of the Masonic order. Levi Root married Eliza Cruise, who was born in Ohio January 24, 1842, and died in Cedar County, Iowa, September 20, 1906. They have three children: Ida, who lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, wife of Byron Belcher, a farmer; Frank L.; and W. E., a farmer at Oketo, Kansas.

Frank L. Root attended his first school in Massachusetts and completed his education in Cedar County, Iowa. Leaving school at the age of eighteen, he farmed in his native state for four years and in 1888 arrived at Oketo, Kansas. Here he entered upon a career as an agriculturist, and continued that actively until 1902. He now owns 800 acres of farm land in Marshall County, and gives it more or less of his active superintendence.

On removing to Oketo Mr. Root engaged in the grain business. He is now manager of the Oketo Elevator of the Nebraska Elevator Company, a company that has numerous elevators throughout Kansas and Nebraska. Mr. Root has a model home in Johnson Street in Oketo. From time to time he has equipped it with many of the modern facilities found in the best city homes and recently added a complete water system.

For ten years Mr. Root was mayor of Oketo. During that time many of the permanent street improvements were made and he also assisted in promoting the establishment of the electric plant. While living on the farm he was a trustee of Balderson Township, and he has also served on the Oketo school board. Politically he is a republican, is affiliated with Oketo Lodge No. 25, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and since November. 1913, has been secretary and financier of Oketo Council No. 2318, Knights and Ladies of Security. He is also a member of Oketo Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America.

Mr. Root married in Cedar County, Iowa, in 1884, Miss Amanda Ballou daughter of Asa and Dillie (Morton) Ballou. Her parents are both deceased, her father having been a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Root have two children: Myrtle, wife of J. E. White. now employed in the Farmers Store at Oketo, and Glenn, who is pursuing his studies in the eighth grade of the local schools.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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