Henry L. F. Roberson came to Kansas as a child in the territorial times, grew up in this virgin state, and the greater part of his active life had been spent here with a varied and interesting experience in business and other affairs. He is now one of the leading real estate and insurance men of Kingman.
Mr. Roberson was born at Spring Garden, Jefferson County, Illinois, February 10, 1851. His grandfather, Joshua Roberson, was a pioneer in Illinois, had a farm in Jefferson County, and died there. Edward C. Roberson, father of the Kingman business man, was born in Jefferson County, Illinois, in 1822, was reared and married there and became a farmer. In 1857 he brought his family to Linn County, Kansas, homesteading 160 acres of land. That farm was his home the rest of his life and he died there in 1889. The old homestead is now owned by his daughter Mrs. Lycena Carlyle. Edward C. Roberson was a democrat, and during the Black Hawk Indian war in 1832 he served in an Illinois company with the rank of first lieutenant. He married Nancy McCrite, who was born in Jefferson County, Illinois, in 1824. She met an accidental death in Linn County, Kansas, in 1859. Their home was in one of the districts where the warring factions made life and property insecure, and Mr. Edward Roberson in order to protect his corn from marauders stored it in the loft of his house. The weight was too great and the floor gave way, precipitating it all to the room below. Mrs. Roberson was struck and killed, this being one of the many sad tragedies directly or indirectly attributed to the Kansas territorial troubles. Edward C. Roberson and wife had a large family of children: Slatha, who died at Hartshorn, Oklahoma, wife of Leonard Rotchford, a farmer who died in Linn County, Kansas; Joshua, who enlisted early in the war in Company K of the Twelfth Kansas Infantry and died of erysipelas at Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1862, while still in the army; Matthew H., who when last heard from was living at Olathe, Kansas, about forty years ago, and he too was a veteran of the Civil war; Alexander, who had never married and is living with his sister on the old homestead in Linn County; Henry L. F.; Lycena, wife of George T. Carlyle, living on the old homestead; Amos, a coal miner at Pittsburg, Kansas; H. M., whose present whereabouts are unknown; L. D., who was a school teacher and died in Linn County, Kansas, in 1907; Charles Edward, twin of L. D., also deceased; John L., a boilermaker living at Los Angeles, California; and William D., a resident of Castleton, Kansas.
Mr. Henry L. F. Roberson grew up on the partly cleared and developed homestead of his father in Linn County. He had few opportunities to acquire a good education when a boy but he made the best of his advantages later and in 1875 graduated from the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia. For one year he taught at Goodrich, Kansas, and then returned to his native State of Illinois, was four years principal of schools at St. Augustine, principal for one year at Avon, Illinois, and then returned to the principalship of the schools at St. Augustine for another year. In the spring of 1882 he returned to Kansas and engaged in the general merchandise business at Kingman for a year. In 1884 he was elected county superintendent of schools at Kingman and filled that office four years by re-election in 1886. Following that he was again a merchant for two years and then for one year was principal of the Meade City schools. That was his last school work, and his record of usefulness as a teacher is one of the most satisfactory incidents of his career.
Mr. Roberson then went to Oklahoma and was a general merchant at Medford for two years, and then was engaged in farming in Grant County of that state for two years. He became a prominent citizen of Grant County and for four years was under sheriff. Returning to Kingman in 1903, he began traveling as collector for the Spaulding Manufacturing Company of Grinnell, Iowa, putting in three years of that work and one year as collector with the International Harvester Company. Since then he had settled down permanently at Kingman in the real estate and insurance business. He is also a justice of the peace and city truant officer.
Mr. Roberson owned the Roberson Building at 125 North Main Street in Kingman and his offices are in that building. He had prospered in a business way, owned the fine home which he erected in 1884 at the corner of A and Broadway streets, owned a stone livery barn on Sherman Street and a lot north of the State Bank of Kingman. He also had a farm of 160 acres in Grant County, Oklahoma.
Mr. Roberson is a republican in politics, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and president of its Men’s Bible Class and is affiliated with Kingman Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Kingman Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, and Medford, Oklahoma, Lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He takes much interest in the Kingman Chamber of Commerce.
In 1876, at Canton, Illinois, he married Miss Nancy Jared, daughter of Moses and Margaret (Turner) Jared, both now deceased. Her father was a Methodist Protestant minister. Mrs. Roberson died at Kingman in 1906. She was the mother of two daughters. Edna L. is a graduate of the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia and is now the wife of James F. Gray, a successful attorney at Kirwin, Kansas. Mr. Gray is also a graduate of the Kansas State Normal School and of the Kansas Law School at Lawrence. The second daughter, Florence M., graduated A. B. from Washburn College at Topeka and is the wife of Bruce W. Trull, who is also a graduate of Washburn College and is engaged in the real estate business at Midfields, Texas.