From the Biographical Review, Volume XXXIII, located at the Durham Center Museum.
Transcribed by Celeste MacCormack.
JOHN ROE, senior partner in the firm of J. & E. Roe, general merchants of Greenville, N.Y., was born in Wisconsin on October 16, 1849, son of William P. and Marietta (Newman) Roe, was a farmer by occupation. He liked to go from place to place, and lived successively in Athens, Greenville, and Cairo, owning farms at different times in each of these places in Greene County. He died at Cairo at the age of eighty-four. His wife Jane, who was before her marriage a Barker, was born in Greenville, and belonged to one of the old pioneer families.
William P. Roe, son of William and Jane was born in Athens, N.Y., and reared to farm life. He lived for a time in Wisconsin, where he was interested in speculating and in farming, and held the office of Town Supervisor. Later he returned to New York State, settled in Greenville, and died here at the age of seventy-eight. He was County Superintendent of the Poor for three years. In politics he was a Democrat. His wife, Marietta, was a native of this place, and died here at the age of fifty-two. She was the daughter of Alva Newman, and one of a family of six children. Her father was a Greenville farmer, but he removed from Greenville to Wisconsin, and died there at the age of seventy. Mrs. Marietta N. Roe was the mother of six children. Of these five are living, namely: John, the subject of this sketch; Jasper, a farmer; Annis, who married Charles Roe; Ella, who married Charles Coonley; and Edgar, who is a member of the firm of Roe Brothers. Both parents were Baptists.
John Roe came with his father and mother to this town when eight years old, and worked with his father until twenty-six years of age. In the winters of 1871, 1872, and 1873 he taught school in Greenville, and one winter he attended the Poughkeepsie Business College. Then, at the age of twenty-six, he formed a partnership with M. P. Blenis, which continued for twelve years, or until the time of Mr. Blenis’s death. For the first year they operated a general store located opposite Mr. Roe’s present stand, moving across the street at the end of that time. Upon the death of Mr. Blenis, Mr. Edgar Roe bought out his interests, and the firm assumed its present name. There is only one store in town larger than this. A full line of general merchandise is carried, including dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, crockery and glass ware, carpets and oil cloths, hats and caps. One clerk is employed. Mr. Roe has now been in business over twenty-three years, and is one of the oldest merchants here. He is known through all the country side, and enjoys the esteem of every one.
In 1878 Mr. Roe married Arvillia Deyo, a native of Durham, and daughter of Milo Deyo, now the popular blacksmith of Greenville. Of this union four children have been born, by name Milo B., Ford, Mary, and John.
In politics Mr. Roe is a Democrat. He has given valuable service to the town in numerous public positions. In 1890, and the four succeeding years, he was Supervisor , and in 1894 and 1895 he was chairman of the board. He has been a member of the Board of Education every since it was organized. While chairman of their board in his last term the Supervisors presented him with a very fine easy chair, this being an expression of their appreciation of his services while a member of the body. In 1897 he was elected Superintendent of the Poor, to serve until 1900. Mr. Roe makes a most efficient manager for the almshouse. Under his care the place is kept in the best of repair, and everything about it is neat and orderly, while the health and comfort of the seventy inmates is carefully looked after.
Mr. Roe is a prominent Mason, being connected with James M. Austin Lodge, F. & A. M., and Greenville Royal Arch Chapter, No. 283. He has held all the offices in the lodge , having been warden, deacon, master for two years, and secretary six years. His membership in the lodge dates back twenty-five years. He is a charter member of the chapter, and has always been its treasurer. He is frequently sent by his fellow-townsmen as delegate to county conventions, and is a member of the Town and County Committee. No worthy object fails to receive his warm and active support, and he is often the originator of plans, the carrying out of which proves to be a benefit to the town and the community.