Woman of the Century/Lelia P. Roby
ROBY. Mrs. Lelia P., philanthropist and founder of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, born in Boston, Mass., 25th December, 1848. Her father and grandfather were clergymen and anti-slavery agitators. She is descended from Priscilla Mullens and John Aldeti, of the Mayflower colony. Among her ancestors were many Revolutionary heroes. LELIA P. ROBY. She has always felt a deep interest in the soldiers who fought in the Civil War. She is a regent of the daughters of the Revolution. On 12th June, 1886, in Chicago, Ill., where she lives, she founded the order of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, which started with twenty-five members, and now numbers about 15,000 mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of soldiers and sailors w ho served in the war of 1861-65. The members of that order are pledged to assist the Grand Army of the Republic in works of charity, to extend needful aid to members in sickness and distress, to aid sick soldiers, sailors and marines, to look after soldiers' orphan's homes, to see that the children obtain proper situations when they leave the homes, to watch the schools, and see to it that the children receive proper education in the history of the country and in patriotism. She has secured many pensions for soldiers and in countless ways worked for the good of the survivors of the war. Her activities cover a wide range. She was one of four women selected by the board of education of Chicago to represent them before the legislature of the State to help pass the compulsory education bill. It was passed, for a large majority of the legislators were old soldiers, and the fact that Mrs. Roby was their friend made voting for a measure she advocated a pleasant duty. She is the only woman member of the Lincoln Guard of Honor of Springfield, Ill., and an honorary-member of the Lincoln Guard of Honor of California, an honor conferred on her " for her many acts of devotion to his memory," through Gen. Sherman. She is a member of the Chicago Academy of Science, she is president of the South Side Study Club of Chicago, vice-president of the Woman's National Press Association of Washington for Illinois, a member of the Nineteenth Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry, of the Society for the Advancement of Women, and of the American Society of Authors. She has the care and oversight of supplying the soldiers' homes with books, magazines and periodicals; she visits the homes in various parts of the country and looks after the comfort of the old soldiers, and if there is special legislation needed to right their wrongs or give them additional comforts, she goes to the State legislatures or to Washington to secure such enactment. Through her efforts Memorial Day was set apart in the schools for the reading of histories or stories of the war, and preparing for Memorial Day itself. She never tires in her work, and her husband and two sons are enthusiastic in the work also. She is the wife of General Edward Roby, a constitutional lawyer of Chicago. She does a good deal of literary work under the pen-name "Miles Standish." She is preparing for publication a large volume entitled "Heart Beats of the Republic." She is a model home-maker, a connoisseur in architecture and art, a fine linguist, thoroughly educated, and a well-read lawyer.