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And Brevet Major John L. Roper, U.S.V.
Captain And Brevet Major John L. Roper, U.S.V.
Captain And Brevet Major John L. Roper, the son of Richard Bryham and
Esther Ann Roper, was born October 9, 1835, in the village of Greenwood,
now called Belleville, in a beautiful valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains,
known as "Big Valley," Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. His father died when
he was only nine months old, leaving him and an elder brother and sister
dependent upon their mother for support, and most nobly and heroically did
she battle with the difficulties and trials with which she had to contend
until the children were able to contribute to their own support, which was
at a very early age, the subject of this sketch beginning his career as a
wage-earner when only eight years old. He was, on this account,
necessarily deprived of the advantage to be derived from a good education,
and was only permitted to attend a few winter sessions of the public
school, and thereafter such as he was able to acquire himself while
engaged in the various positions which he filled. He was given a position
in a store when thirteen years old. A year afterwards he was given charge
of the same store, which position he held for six years. He was then
placed in charge of the books of the same company, and remained in that
position until the spring of 1857, at which time he made the trip by water
Upon arriving there he determined to take the chances of the mines, and,
armed with pick and shovel, adopted the life of a miner after the precious
metals. It would require more space than can be spared to relate his
various fortunes and adventures during his sojourn in California; but
suffice it to say, that after four years of ups and downs in a varied
experience, he found himself in circumstances such as would admit of a
visit, as then intended, to his native State to see his honored mother,
who was still living and the object of great solicitude upon his part. He
left San Francisco in the early spring of 1861, on his way to the Atlantic
States. He found, upon arriving at his native place, that the excitement
consequent upon the rebellion of the Southern States was running high,
and, conceiving it to be his duty to respond to the call for troops, he
enlisted as a private in what was first organized as Harlan's Light
Cavalry, afterwards the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry from having a
majority of: Pennsylvanians in it.
||He was made sergeant after its
organization, and a few months later was commissioned as second
lieutenant of his company by Governor A. G. Curtin. In 1863 he was
appointed regimental commissary of subsistence with the rank of
first lieutenant, and assigned to his regiment. He was commissioned
in April, 1864, by President Abraham Lincoln, as commissary of
subsistence of volunteers, with the rank of captain, and assigned to
the staff of General A. V. Kautz, with whom he continued to serve
until the close of his service in the spring of 1865. On March 13,
1865, he was brevetted major for meritorious service. An extended
notice of his service is not admissible here, but it can be said
that he participated honorably in all the active work of his
company, regiment, and division, and received honorable mention at
various times for the part he took in the different engagements with
which he was connected.
At the close of the war he married Lydia H. Bowen, of Philadelphia, and
settled in the city of Norfolk, Virginia, engaged in business, where he
still resides and continues actively engaged in the same, being identified
with large interests in Virginia and North Carolina, the head of the
well-known firm of John L. Roper Lumber Company-Major Roper has a family
consisting of five children, three sons and two daughters.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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