Simeon Godfrey Jacob Roof. He’s the elderly man with the gray beard standing on the back row to the far left. He is my great great great grandfather. This photograph was taken circa 1904/1905. This image is more valuable to me than a pot of gold. It is a family treasure.

Simeon Godfrey Jacob Roof’s wife, Martha Matilda McCarty, is the second woman from the right sitting on the bottom row. The little girl standing beside her is my great grandmother, Laura Belle Roof, who was born 1900/1901. Laura Belle’s mother, Nora McCarty, married to Simeon Moultrie Roof, is sitting on the bottom row center holding her daughter Nettie and flanked by her young son John.

The Simeon Godfrey Jacob Roof Family

Simeon Godfrey Jacob Roof was the son of Reuben Roof (1799–1885) and Jemimah Catherine Earhart (1800–1875).

Reuben Roof was the son of Godfrey Roof (1770–1825) and Barbara Monts (1780–1812). This family line — Roof — was a German family line, sometimes spelled Ruff, Reuff, Reiff, and less frequently, Rough. The Roof family hailed from Hesse Germany and populated Lexington, Newberry, Saluda, and Edgefield Counties in South Carolina.

One only has to look at early census records to see that there was a large wave of German immigration to South Carolina in the 1700s; so much, in fact, that an entire region in Lexington, Newberry, and Richland Counties was named Dutch Fork. The Germans settled there en masse between 1730 to 1766.

Ask anyone on the street, and you may be told that the “fork” — the area between the Saluda and Broad Rivers — was named Dutch Fork after the people from Holland who immigrated and settled there. Good assumption but totally wrong: the name Dutch Fork came from the Anglicized version of the word “Deutsch” which translates to “German” in their language. Other than their Germanic last names and the abundance of Lutheran churches in the area, there is little left of their German heritage.

Jemimah Catherine “Minnie” Earhart was the daughter of Godfrey Earhart (1745–1821) and Katherine Hannah Luther (1755–1816). This line was perhaps from Switzerland, adjacent to Germany. I am not completely sure of the origins, although Earhart is the Americanized spelling of the German Ehrhardt.

Simeon Godfrey Jacob Roof married Jane Elizabeth Harper (1829–1856) after 1850. It was a short lived marriage due to her untimely death, and if there were children born to the couple, their presence eludes me.

He married Martha Matilda McCarty (1842–1905), daughter of Jacob McCarty (1806–1883) and Matilda Wheeler (1806–1889). The McCarty line is Irish and traces back to a Michael McCarty (1720-1790) who immigrated from Cork, Ireland and landed in Edgefield County, SC.

Simeon Jacob Godfrey Roof and Martha Matilda McCarty had eight children:

  • Lawrence Hosia Roof (1861–1949)
  • Jacob Godfrey Roof (1866–1919)
  • John Reubin Roof (1869–1898)
  • Mary Jane Roof (1872–1902)
  • Simeon Moultrie Roof (1873–1958)
  • Henry Ashton Roof (1877–1954)
  • Oscar Olen Roof (1881–1963)
  • David Jenkins Roof (1884–1933)

Simeon Moultrie Roof married Nora McCarty and they were my great great grandparents. They were also related to each other, both descended from Michael McCarty of Ireland.

Simeon Godfrey Jacob Roof died Feb 2, 1922. He and Martha Matilda are buried at Salem Baptist Church Cemetery in Saluda County, SC. The Roof name was interchangeable in life and in death. His headstone reads Simeon G. J. ROOF; hers, Martha Matilda RUFF.

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