Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Charles Norville Roth

Mathematical Marvel
A Gentleman of the Old School
Large Landholder of Iberville Parish
One of Plaquemine's Main Builders

These are the words used in the heading of Charles Norville Roth's obituary. I had not thought much of him before other than trying to add his children and theirs to my family tree. He was the first cousin of my great grandfather and I knew the family were large landholders, but finding his obituary gave me a little more insight as to who they were. This obituary was a wonderful testament to a man that was well thought of in the community. A man who had strong character and beliefs. A well educated man who used his skills to help further his community and whose ideals were held in esteem by his peers. 

He was born and raised in Plaquemine, Iberville Parish, where he was a successful merchant and  planter. The Roth family (pronounced Row) was an old and distinguished French one. As a business associate of Jacob McWilliams, he ran the mercantile of Roth & McWilliams. Charles held with McWilliams the interest in several large plantations such as, Medora, Upper Irma and Myrtle Grove. He was also the administrator of the Gay estate.

His parents were Charles Norville Roth Sr. and his mother Marie Angelique Marioneaux. Charles married twice, his first wife being Zulma Beck. He married again in 1901 to Elizabeth Walsh and the two of them resided in New Orleans at 479 Broadway until his death. He and Elizabeth had two sons.

During the Civil War his brother Eugene N. Roth joined the service and fought in the war. Charles decided he was needed at home to continue with family business and render aid the best he could from there. He worked during the war as factor for Iberville Parish.

 Charles built the Roth building and the People's Bank and had many investments in local real estate. His biggest claim to fame of the time though seems to stem from his amazing mathematical abilities. His obit states many times how he marveled people at his being able to take large sums and figure them correctly in his head.

He was called a gentleman of the old school, one who despised the modern ways and modern speech. A relic of the antebellum era, one can wonder what he would think of his city today?

What a fascinating man he was!

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