William James Roe
William James Roe

Table of Contents

William James Roe

William James Roe II, born on September 1, 1843, was a multifaceted American figure encompassing roles as an author, artist, philosopher, and businessman. His lineage traced back to William James Roe I (1811–1875) and Anna Lawrence Clark Roe (1814–1914), marking his origins in Newburgh, New York. The tapestry of his life began unfolding within the walls of his grandparents’ mansion, a prominent abode owned by William James Roe and Maria Hazard Roe on Grand Street.

William James Roe found himself entrusted with the responsibilities of overseeing his father’s legacy and financial matters, a role that he executed with diligence. Capitalizing on the wealth he inherited, Roe embarked on an endeavor that echoed his familial roots—a connection to the land. He undertook the construction of not one, but two country residences, each nestled on 80 acres of New Windsor’s landscape. One was to become his cherished haven, while the other was crafted to accommodate his parents, Anna Lawrence Clark Roe and the late William James Roe I, whose final rest came on November 20, 1875.

Through this interplay of lineage, inheritance, and personal vision, the life of William James Roe II found its narrative. From the pages of his familial history to the landscapes he etched his mark upon, his legacy weaves together threads of creativity, responsibility, and an enduring connection to the world around him.

William James Roe

Date of Birth 

Birth Place



Died Place

Resting Place

Pen Name








September 1, 1843

Newburgh, New York, U.S.

U.S [3]

April 3, 1921

New Windsor, U.S.

St. George’s Cemetery

Hudor Genone

Writer, illustrator


Satire, fiction, science fiction


Mary Stuart Norton


Russell Military Academy
United States Military Academy

Business Career

Upon the declaration of Roe I’s unfortunate condition as a lunatic, the responsibility for his business affairs and property transitioned into the capable hands of his son. Tasked with overseeing his father’s testamentary wishes and financial matters, William James Roe II assumed the role of stewardship. This newfound duty was met with determination, amplified by the wealth he had accumulated. Utilizing his resources, Roe embarked on a project that manifested his familial ties and his connection to the land—an ambitious endeavor that led to the construction of two country residences, adorning the expanse of 80 acres in New Windsor. Amid these developments, the passing of William James Roe I occurred on November 20, 1875, marking the end of an era. Unfortunately, a substantial portion of his earnings had been depleted due to financial inexperience, casting a shadow over the family’s legacy.

Driven by the ambition to rectify these financial setbacks, Roe embarked on a fresh chapter in his life. By 1880, he had relocated his family to Montclair, New Jersey, setting the stage for his association with the Hydrogen Company of New York and New Jersey. Assuming the presidency of this company in 1881, Roe sought to revolutionize iron production, creating parts resistant to rust. This endeavor materialized into the erection of a prominent building on West 18th Street in Manhattan, accompanied by a network of commercial ventures. Alas, despite these endeavors, the envisioned breakthrough remained elusive, and the market’s expectations were not met. The company’s fortunes crumbled in the wake of this disappointing outcome, serving as a testament to the challenges faced by William James Roe II in his quest for financial resurgence.

Writing career

William James Roe  proclivity for creative writing and engagement with the press had been a lifelong passion. As he gradually regained a portion of his fortune, he redirected his energies towards the realm of literature, crafting a diverse range of captivating narratives, philosophical treatises, and poetic expressions.

Among his early literary creations were novels like “The Model Wife,” “White Feathers,” and “Cut: A Story of West Point.” “Cut,” in particular, garnered attention for its accurate portrayal of cadet life at West Point, drawing heavily from Roe’s personal experiences. This accomplishment spurred Roe to further literary pursuits under the pseudonyms Hudor Genone and G. I. Cervus.

Notable among his literary works is the widely acclaimed “Inquierendo Island,” published in 1886 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, the Twentieth Century Company, and Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company. The novel ignited fervent discussions due to its elements of religious satire, both in the United States and beyond. Within its pages, Roe unambiguously conveyed his critical sentiments towards Christianity. The protagonist’s experiences on the eponymous mid-Atlantic Island unveil a topsy-turvy Religion, constructed by its inhabitants as a reaction to past shipwrecks and an idolatrous reverence for the sole surviving printed book, an arithmetic text. The inhabitants worship at the church of Saint Complex Fraction, while the narrative’s deeper layers subtly ridicule the triumphalism often seen in typical Robinsonade tales.

Approximately a year later, William James Roe presented “Bellona’s Husband: A Romance,” published by J. B. Lippincott & Co. This novel transports its protagonists to Mars via a Spaceship, introducing readers to a humanlike society uniquely characterized by its adherence to absolute truth-telling and a peculiar temporal reverse, where inhabitants age backward. This narrative might be one of the earliest instances of the “Time in Reverse” concept, fully realized in a narrative format.

In 1892, Charles H. Kerr & Company published “The Last Tenet Imposed upon the Khan of Thomathoz,” a work that perpetuated Roe’s affinity for religious satire. This novel paints a vivid picture of sixteenth-century missionaries discovering the enigmatic Lost World of Thomathoz nestled amidst the mountains of Asia.

In addition to his elaborate literary offerings, William James Roe penned more succinct works such as “John Morton’s Morals” and “Scarlet Gods,” both serialized in Town & Country. Within the realm of esotericism and the slightly occult, his work “The Philosophy of a Divine Man” found its place in The Metaphysical Magazine. During a brief period, Roe delved into the occult, showing interest in hypnotism and divination. However, he later deemed these pursuits perilous, publicly criticizing Eusapia Palladino in The New York Times.

Early Life

Born on September 1, 1843, in Newburgh, New York, William James Roe entered the world as the son of William James Roe I (1811–1875) and Anna Lawrence Clark Roe (1814–1914). At that juncture, his parents found themselves residing within the opulent confines of his grandparents’ mansion, the abode of William Roe and Maria Hazard Roe, nestled on Grand Street. In his formative years, he pursued his education at the Russell Military Academy in New Haven, Connecticut, an institution tailored for young gentlemen aspiring to attend neighboring Yale or West Point. After a rather abrupt departure from Russell’s, Roe’s educational path led him to the Newburgh Collegiate Institute—a private boys’ school in Newburgh presided over by Polish-American M. L. Domanski. During his tenure there, he ventured into the realm of literary expression by contributing to the school’s magazine, The Acorn. At the tender age of fifteen, he bid farewell to formal schooling, opting instead to embark on a journey into the realm of law under the guidance of the Hasbrouck & Taylor law firm in Newburgh. His tutelage was overseen by his uncle, William C. Hasbrouck. Yet, in retrospect, Roe acknowledged that the legal profession was not aligned with his true calling.

The year 1861 marked a turning point as William James Roe responded to the tumultuous onset of the Civil War by enlisting in the volunteer ranks of the 124th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Though his election as sergeant heralded his military commitment, his father, harboring concerns over his involvement in the conflict, whisked him away to Europe in January 1862. Roe Sr. pledged that his son’s engagement would persist only if the war endured for another half-year. In the course of those six months, the Roes ventured across foreign lands, encompassing England, France, Switzerland, and Italy. Amidst his travels, Roe’s epistolary connection with the Newburgh Journal flourished, with serialized letters from his foreign sojourns gracing its pages. It was during these peregrinations that a potential cadetship at West Point emerged on the horizon—an opportunity to navigate the corridors of West Point en route to attaining the rank of lieutenant held greater allure than embroilment in battle. This door to West Point swung open through an appointment from the Honorable John Sedgwick, ultimately leading William James Roe to commence his journey there in 1863, culminating in his graduation in 1867.

Personal Life

July 1, 1867, marked the union of William James Roe and Mary Stuart Norton in matrimony, a sacred bond that was consecrated at the Central Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, New York. Together, they embarked on a journey of companionship, blessed with the joy of nurturing a family that would come to comprise three cherished children.

While the legacy of many of his forebears was Presbyterian, Roe’s upbringing took root within the Episcopalian fold at St. George’s Church in Newburgh. His reverence for faith and commitment to spiritual matters led him to play an instrumental role in the establishment of the first Reformed Episcopal church in Newburgh—a sanctuary to which he bestowed the evocative appellation, The Church of the Corner-Stone.

The trajectory of Mary Stuart’s life took her on a path that eventually intertwined with the artist Lee Woodward Zeigler, as they embarked on the journey of marriage on October 16, 1909, at the revered St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Notably, William James Roe and Mary Stuart’s two daughters showcased their own talents in the realm of literature, adorning the pages of St. Nicholas Magazine with their compositions penned under various pseudonyms. Tragedy struck the family on November 27, 1920, as they embarked on a journey to witness the 1920 Army-Navy Football Game at the Polo Grounds in New York City. In an unforeseen turn of events, Anna lost her life in a harrowing automobile accident, casting a shadow of profound sorrow over the entire family.

The devastating blow of Anna’s untimely departure left an indelible mark on Roe, whose spirit was irreparably shattered. The ensuing winter witnessed a gradual waning of his zest for life and creative output. On April 3, at the age of 77, he breathed his last breath. In the final chapter of his life, William James Roe expressed his wish for a funeral ceremony whose expenses would not surpass $250—a poignant reflection of his modesty and frugality. As the afternoon sun cast its gentle rays on April 5, his funeral was solemnly observed, and his earthly remains found their resting place within the embrace of St. George’s Cemetery.

Personal Life

Who is William James Roe?

William James Roe does not appear in historical records as a prominent figure comparable to William James in psychology. It’s possible there may be some confusion with similar names.

Who is considered the father of American psychology?

William James is widely considered the father of American psychology due to his significant contributions to the field, particularly through his teaching and his textbook, “The Principles of Psychology.”

How many kids did William James have?

William James had five children with his wife, Alice Gibbens.

Why was William James known as the father of American psychology?

William James earned the title “Father of American Psychology” because of his pivotal role in establishing psychology as a distinct scientific discipline in the United States. He introduced new theories and approaches, emphasizing how behavior and mental processes could be studied scientifically.

What is William James’ theory?

William James is best known for his “James-Lange Theory of Emotion,” which posits that emotions occur as a result of physiological reactions to events. This theory was one of the earliest to suggest that bodily responses were directly tied to emotional and psychological experiences.

What was William James famous for?

William James was famous for his foundational work in psychology and philosophy, particularly in pragmatism and functionalism. He also made substantial contributions to the understanding of religious experiences and consciousness.

What religion was William James?

William James was raised in a religious household but his views evolved into a complex personal philosophy that mixed skepticism with an open-mindedness about spirituality and mysticism.

How did William James view religion?

William James viewed religion through a psychological lens; he was particularly interested in individual religious experiences. He believed that these experiences, whether they be mystic or mundane, had profound impacts on people’s lives and were worthy of study.

Is William James the founder of modern psychology?

William James is often called the founder of American psychology and contributed greatly to the development of psychology as a modern science, but calling him the founder of modern psychology might be an overstatement as many other figures also contributed significantly.

Who founded functionalism?

William James is credited with founding the Functionalism movement in psychology, which emphasized the function of consciousness and behavior in adapting to the environment.

Is William James considered the father of modern psychology?

William James is considered one of the fathers of modern psychology, especially in America, due to his significant contributions to the field and his role in establishing psychology as a scientific discipline.

Who is William James quotes?

William James is known for many quotes, one of the most famous being: “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.”

What was the conclusion of William James?

William James concluded that the human consciousness is fluid, continuous, and cannot be divided into discrete elements. He believed in a pragmatic approach to truths and ideas, judging them on their practical consequences and usefulness.

Was William James a behaviorist?

No, William James was not a behaviorist. His work predates the emergence of behaviorism as a dominant school of thought in psychology. He was more focused on consciousness, perception, and emotion.

Who was the first American psychologist?

William James is often regarded as the first American psychologist, particularly because he was the first to teach a psychology course in the United States.

Who is the father of father psychology?

This phrase is likely a typographical error or confusion but might be intended to reference someone like Wilhelm Wundt, who is considered the father of experimental psychology.

Who is considered the father of modern psychology?

Wilhelm Wundt is often considered the father of modern psychology because he established the first psychology lab and introduced methods that made psychology a distinct science.

Who is considered the father of American psychology quizlet?

On educational platforms like Quizlet, William James is frequently noted as the father of American psychology for his pioneering contributions to the field and for being one of the most influential American psychologists.

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