The Root family traces its Oakland connections back to at least 1883, and lived for many years at what is now 1425 Lakeside Drive.

Alfred Wilson (A.W.) Root (c.1826 – December 20, 1898) was born about 1826 in New York. On September 12, 1867, he married Abbie Jane Daggett (Root) (September 20, 1843 – May 8, 1917) in San Joaquin County, CA, and they had 3 children. While information has been hard to find A.W.'s family, in 1894, a family member of Abbie's researched her family back to the 1600s in England! 1 Abbie was born September 20, 1843 in Aroostook County, Maine, to Jabez Daggett and Emeline Russell (Daggett), along with siblings Angeline Daggett, Isaac Meeker Daggett, John Randolph Daggett, and Watson ("Watts") Tabor Daggett.

In the 1870s, Alfred and Abbie were living in Stockton, where Alfred farmed and owned some land. All 3 children were born in Stockton:

Izora ("Zoe") Emeline Root (December 8, 1872 – January 9, 1959)

Maud Ernestine Root (February 19, 1876 – October 28, 1951)

Alfred Leslie Root (September 6, 1879 – January 8, 1925)


1950 Sanborn excerpt

The June 2, 1883 San Francisco Examiner reported that Samuel Merritt had sold the property "at the corner of 14th and Oak" to A.W. Root for $8,000. It's unknown whether that included the house or not, but it was a lot of money for 1883 regardless. The address at that time was 1215 Oak St.; it would later become 1425 Lakeside. Merritt lived nearby in the block between Jackson and Madison, 14th and 15th, and had owned and developed the area, including constructing what is now known as Camron-Stanford House across the street.

Besides directory listings, the next reference to the Root family is in the Oakland Tribune in 1888. They're mentioned in fine company: Josiah Stanford who lived across the street, A.K.P. Harmon, and other area residents. But not for a great reason; the sanitary inspector was calling them out because their sewage drained into Lake Merritt. 3

Although the 1887-1888 Oakland directory lists Alfred as a "farmer", it's clear from the location and size of the house that he wasn't doing much of the farming himself anymore and was fairly well-to-do.

Both Zoe and Maud attended the Snell Seminary in Oakland, "one of the best known and most fashionable schools on the Pacific Coast." In 1894 and 1895 the Roots hosted a luncheon and a dancing party for the class of 1895, which was probably Maud's class. 4,5 Some years later in 1931 they were scheduled to host a gathering for the Snell Alumnae Association. 6

The Roots continued to appear on the society page: a musicale for the pupils of Miss Kate Halsey; a reception for a recently married friend; an announcement that the family was to spend the rest of the summer at Lake Tahoe. 7

The morning of December 20, 1898, A.W. died at age 72. The Stanislaus County Weekly News published in Modesto noted that he had large land interests in Stanislaus County. 8 His remains are probably at the San Francisco Columbarium; 9 a second FindAGrave entry suggests Mountain View Cemetery, but no evidence has been found to support that.

Abbie was made the administrator of A.W.'s estate. The estate spent a while in probate, long enough for the family to request an allowance. The probate papers indicate A.W.'s estate was worth $72,677 and generated an estimated $5,000 a year in income, so the requested $300 a month would be easily covered and the request was granted. $5,000 a year was a considerable income in 1900, worth $800,000 or more in 2021 terms.

Around 1908-1909, Abbie (and presumably the rest of the family) moved to Los Angeles and rooms were rented out. 15 But by the 1910 census, the family was back at 1215 Oak.

1909 directory

Zoe and Maud Root

Daughters Zoe and Maud never married, but continued to live at 1425 Oak until c.1950. Their names occasionally appeared in the newspaper, mostly notices of selling land in San Francisco and Modesto.

Abbie died in 1917; a few years later in 1919, her brother John Randolph Daggett died in San Francisco. He was apparently well-to-do, too. His will left $10,000 to the YWCA of San Francisco, smaller bequests to different relatives, and the remainder of the estimated $100,000 to be divided four ways between his nieces and nephew in Oakland, and another nephew, Stanley Putnam Daggett, in NY. 11

Maud died in 1951 and Zoe in 1959. The house was demolished in 1951. 10

Alfred L. Root

The Root's son Alfred Leslie married Ruth Lucinda Root (c.1887 – December 15, 1925) of San Francisco in 1907, 12 and they had a daughter, Abby Adele Root (December 20, 1907 – January 18, 1947) who was born in Oakland. The 1910 census shows Alfred L., Ruth, and Abby living at 1215 Oak along with Abbie, Zoe, and Maud.

Abby had recently passed her 17th birthday when Alfred died on January 8, 1925 at the age 45. Less than a year later before Abby's 18th birthday, Ruth died on December 15, 1925 about age 38.

Abby then married Harry Sydney Clearie (October 22, 1899 – October 2, 1977) on June 30, 1928, and they had two children, Robert Root Clearie and Beverly Ann Clearie (Millikan). Sadly, Abby died at age 39, and Beverly died at age 37. 13

Links and References

  1. A history of the Doggett-Daggett family 1894, Boston Press of Rockwell and Churchill
  2. Oakland Items San Francisco Examiner June 2, 1883
  3. Making the Lake Filthy Oakland Tribune April 9, 1888
  4. What Society Is Doing Oakland Tribune February 25, 1894
  5. What Society Is Doing Oakland Tribune May 9, 1895
  6. Snell Alumnae Association Announces Plans... Oakland Tribune March 7, 1931
  7. Personal and Social Oakland Tribune July 28, 1897
  8. Death of A.W. Root Stanislaus County Weekly News December 23, 1898
  9. Alfred Wilson Root on
  10. classified Oakland Tribune December 28, 1951
  11. Y.W.C.A. Left $10,000 in Capitalist's Will San Francisco Chronicle July 1, 1919
  12. marriage announcements San Francisco Examiner February 8, 1907
  13. Beverly Millikan obituary Napa Valley Register January 17, 1974
  14. Miss Abbie Root To Become Bride of H.S. Clearie Oakland Tribune June 5, 1928
  15. classified Oakland Tribune August 8, 1908