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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
James Roseborough

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 105-106 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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For many years James Roseborough, a retired merchant of Canajoharie, held an esteemed place in the dry goods trade of central New York, where he was widely known as the owner and proprietor of a successful wholesale house. He is one of the many successful men of his generation who worked their way from the bottom to the top of the ladder, gaining their training in the school of experience. Beginning as a clerk in a grocery store at the age of fourteen he advanced by gradual steps to the ownership of an establishment, which he conducted for thirty years. He is a native of Canada, and was born in Peterborough, on July 14, 1849, of Irish blood, for both of his parents were born in County Armagh, Ireland. The father, Alexander Roseborough, was the son of Alexander and Margaret (Elliott) Roseborough, who never crossed the Atlantic, but died in their native island. Alexander, Jr., however, came to Canada as a young man and farmed in the town of Smith, Peterborough county, Ontario, where he spent the remainder of his life. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Margaret McKee, was the daughter of an Irish couple who also remained in their native land. Mrs. Roseborough died in the town of Smith, which had been her home for many years.

James Roseborough obtained his formal education in the public schools of the town of Smith, which he attended until he reached the age of fourteen. His first position was that of a salesman in a retail grocery store, where he worked for two years. When he was sixteen he entered the employ of Mr. Fairweather, who was conducting a dry goods store in Peterborough, and with him he was associated for five years. The interest this business aroused in the youth remained with him the rest of his life and it was in the dry goods trade that he in after years made his financial success. Mr. Roseborough came to Canajoharie about the time he was twenty-one to become a salesman for John C. Hieber of Utica and traveled on the road for twelve years thereafter selling wholesale dry goods for this house. During this time he not only became thoroughly familiar with the dry goods trade, but he also built up a large business acquaintance that was to stand him in good stead when he embarked in business on his own account. As he traveled about central New York selling his goods, the young salesman became convinced that there was room for another wholesale house in this section of the country and that if the right man should engage in such a venture he would be rewarded by great success. Eventually he determined to embark upon such an enterprise himself and founded a wholesale house in Canajoharie, whose subsequent history and development fully realized his hopes and ambitions in starting the concern. For thirty years he managed the business of this establishment, eventually selling out in August of 1922 that he might spend the remaining years of his life in the care-free enjoyment of the fruits of his labors.

In Peterborough, Canada, April 21, 1873, Mr. Roseborough was united in marriage to Miss Mary J. Gamble, who has shared with him more than half a century of happy wedded life. Born in Peterborough, May 24, 1854, Mrs. Roseborough is the daughter of John and Margaret (Ferris) Gamble. Her father, a native of Enniskillen, Ireland, was a carriage maker by trade, but later took up the business of a contractor and builder. His father and two of his uncles had a grant of land from the king, "for some deeds of valor", and this land was called "The Gamble of the Grange". The Gamble family was one that was distinguished chiefly for its contribution to the professions. Margaret (Ferris) Gamble, Mrs. Roseborough's mother, was born in Anedram, County Cavan, Ireland. Her family originally came from Scotland and settled in the north of Ireland, whence some of its members emigrated to Montreal and eventually made their way to Peterborough, which was a wilderness at the time they settled there. Margaret Ferris' father was David Ferris, a linen merchant and a native of Cogy, Ireland. Mr. and Mrs. Roseborough have a daughter: Florence May, who is now Mrs. George E. Young of Davenport, Iowa.

Mr. Roseborough is a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal church of Canajoharie, in whose work he has always taken a deep interest. For eight years he was superintendent of the Sunday school and now has a Women's Bible class. He is a Mason, belonging to Hamilton Lodge, No. 79, A. F. and A. M., Canajoharie; and is identified with the Automobile Club of this village. Motoring is one of his favorite recreations and a sport that brings him much enjoyment. Ever since he was a young man Mr. Roseborough has voted with the republican party, but he has never taken an active part in political affairs nor aspired to public office.

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