Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1900

The John Roberts Family, 1904.
The John Roberts Family, 1900 or 1904. (Click to enlarge.)

Eight years after their 1892 family portrait (see Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Family in 1892), the John S. Roberts family had another family portrait taken, this time at another ‘homeplace’ in Prairie City, Jasper County, Iowa.

Years ago I used the techniques discussed in the previous post to identify the persons in this photograph. I started with the known persons and then incorporated knowledge from other photos, censuses, etc. The date of the photo was estimated to be 1902-1903 due to the age of Edith Roberts, but since one of the babies was born in 1904, that definitely set the date later.

Here is the identification:
From left-

Mary Jane Roberts’ family: Mary Jane (Mollie J) standing holding her daughter Bernice Blount; son Samuel Harvey with hat and tie standing next to his father, Samuel H. Blount. Seated on ground in front are, from left, Florence, Helen J, and Harold M. Blount. Oldest son Harry R. is standing next to his father in a dark suit.

George A. Roberts’ family: Standing next to Harry R. Blount is Ella V. Daniels Roberts and in the (short) white dress is daughter Ethel Gay Roberts. Seated at her feet is Edith Mae Roberts. Their father George A. Roberts stands next to Ethel, with son George A. Roberts, standing next to him.

Jason Lee Roberts’ family: Oca Roberts, in a long white dress, stands next to George Roberts Jr. Her brother Guy L. Roberts stands in front of her and their father, Jason Lee Roberts. His wife Julia French Roberts stands next to him holding their baby Ralph Roberts. Sitting on the ground in front of them are, from left, Wiley Roberts, Willard Roberts, and Charley Roberts in white. The very short woman in front of Julia French is Orpha B. Roberts.

Elizabeth Ann Murrell and her husband John Roberts stand next to Julia French.

William Edward (W.E., or Ed) Roberts’ family: W.E. Roberts stands next to his father, John Roberts. His son Orville stands beside him, with the woman on the right probably Orville’s mother, Mary M. Main Roberts; his sister Edna is not seen in the picture. Seated on the ground in front of them are Maude & Clara, with Maude possibly having the lighter hair as seen in the 1892 photo.

In the last few years, we found an advertising page,

“Courtesy of
Groceries, Bottled Gas Ranges,
Plumbing, Heating
Pumps & Windmills”

It contained the above picture and two others, with everyone identified plus information about John and Elizabeth Roberts’ lives. Sadly, the women and children were not truly identified, but it did verify that we had the families correct:

Left to right- Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Blount and family, Mr. and Mrs. George Roberts and family, Mr. and Mrs. Jason Roberts and family, Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Roberts and family. This picture was taken of Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts, their children and grandchildren at their home in Prairie City in 1900 (now the Vande Kieft home). The fifth boy sitting down from the left is the Mayor of Prairie City.

The moral of the story is:

1) Use ALL your resources in a collaborative way.

2) Revisit your families- new information comes online and available every day.


Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family photograph, and page from a magazine or flyer.

2) Updated 12/2/16 with corrected identification of Oca and Orpha Roberts.

3) Some sources (like the Roberts family advertisement) state the picture was taken in 1900, some state 1904. I tend to agree with the 1900 date, as Edith Roberts was born 10 October 1899, so would have been 1-1/2 or 2 when this image was taken. That seems more consistent with her size, as if the photo was from 1904, she would have been 5 years old.

01/11/2017 UPDATE: However, if the baby being held by Julia French Roberts is their son Ralph Roberts, the date of the photo would be 1904, since he was born 11 July 1903. The baby could instead be one who died very young, as there is an almost 3 year gap between Ralph and his older brother Charley. We will have to leave this mystery to the Jason Lee Roberts and Julia (French) Roberts descendants to sort out.


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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

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