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Biography of William Roberts

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WILLIAM ROBERTS. William Roberts is one of the wealthy pioneer citizens of Christian County, and has resided on his present property for the past twenty-five years. He is a native of East Tennessee, born in Hamilton County, February 15, 1823, and his parents, Jacob and Elizabeth (Groves) Roberts, were natives of Tennessee also.

The grandfather, William Roberts, was a native of the Old North State and a soldier in the Revolution. He was one of the early pioneers of Tennessee, but at an early date came to Missouri and settled in this part of the State, dying in Texas County about 1850. The father of our subject came to this State with his parents, but he had married in Tennessee. He located about six miles from Sparta, then in Taney County, and died on the old home place, which was located on Swan Creek, about 1878. His wife died in Tennessee when our subject was about three years old. Six children were born to this union: Lucy, Anna, Coswell, Katie, Eliza, and William, the subject of this sketch. Only the last named and Anna are now living, both in this county, and the latter the wife of Harvey Berkhardt. All the children grew to mature years, and all but Katie married and reared families. Jacob Roberts was married the second time after coming to Missouri, but no children were born to that union. He took part in the Jackson war and was at New Orleans and Mobile on January 8, 1815, when Packenham’s British Army was driven from our land. During the Civil War he was a stanch Union man, but was too old to enlist. In political matters he was a Republican; the family attended the Baptist Church. Of the children born to his first marriage, Coswell and our subject took part in the Rebellion. The former was in the State service, Company H, Seventy-second Regiment, as was also our subject, and both were in many engagements and skirmishes. Coswell died in 1890. He was a man universally respected and esteemed, and a substantial and progressive farmer. In politics he was a Republican and in religion a Baptist.

In 1843 the Roberts family settled in Christian County, and our subject was then about twenty-one years of age. Previous to leaving his native State, when about nineteen years of age, he married Miss Mary Berkhardt, a native of Tennessee, where her parents died. After coming to this county, Mr. Roberts located on Swan Creek, where he followed farming for about twelve years. From there he moved to a farm about two miles from Sparta, but in 1867 he settled on the farm where he now lives, one and a half miles from Sparta, where he now owns 740 acres in one of the best farming belts in this part of the county. Over 600 acres are under cultivation, and his farm is considered one of the best in the county. His success as a farmer and business man is due to his energy and perseverance. He advocates the principles of the Republican party, and is a member of the G. A. R. post at Sparta. Mr. Roberts lost his first wife after coming to Missouri. To this union were born nine children, as follows: Elizabeth, wife of Henry Adams; Mary, wife of H. Shipman; Mela, wife of M. Smith; Eliza, wife of Frank Hall; William, married, resides east of Sparta; Oliver, married, and residing near the old home place; Martha, deceased, was the wife of Samuel Harris; Patterson, a stockman, is residing in Sparta; and Marcina, wife of John Warner, resides in Douglas County. Mr. Robert’s second union was with Miss Wrightsman. At one time our subject was engaged in the sawmill business on Swan Creek, and made a success of that, but at the same time he did not neglect his farm or stock interests. Aside from the 740 acres where he now lives, Mr. Roberts owns 180 acres east of Sparta, almost 1,000 acres of the best land in the county. It is all well improved. He is public-spirited and progressive, and a man well and favorably known trough out this section. Two children have been born to his second union, Lewis and Amy.

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