Mystery Monday: Who is Nathan Roberts of Maryland?

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Edward Roberts bio, first paragraph, from Biographical and Historical Souvenir for the Counties of Clark, Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings, Scott and Washington, Indiana, compiled & published by John M. Gresham & Company, Chicago, 1889.

 

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

“Nathan Roberts, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, a native of Maryland, settled at a point opposite to the present city of Cincinnati before there was any town there. He entered a tract of land, but afterward lost it because of leaving it.”

Just who is this Nathan Roberts? We have not only found him mentioned in this biography, but also on many online family trees, where it is, unfortunately, unsourced.

If this Nathan Roberts was the grandfather of Edward Roberts (1839-1922), son of John S. Roberts and Jane Salyers, he would have been John’s father.  BUT, we have the will of Edward Roberts (1775-1830) and other sources which confirm that (an elder) Edward was the father of John- no mention of the name ‘Nathan’.

Could John’s father actually have been named Nathan Edward Roberts and been called Nathan in Maryland, then he decided to use the name Edward by the time he had moved to Kentucky and/or Indiana?

Checking early censuses for Maryland, there was a Nathan Roberts in Maryland in 1830-1850 in District 1, Caroline, Maryland; see notes below for details. This Nathan would have been born 1770-1775 per the 1830 census, which is about the same year our Edward Roberts (the elder) was born. So maybe they are the same person??

The 1860 Maryland census has a Nathan Roberts who is in Baltimore, too young, a servant, and black, so not the correct person.

Another possibility is that this bio got it wrong- that does happen frequently in these “mug books.” Maybe Nathan was supposed to be listed as the great-grandfather of this younger Edward Roberts. Or maybe they just typeset ‘Nathan’ instead of ‘Edward’.

What do you think? Please share any evidence that you might have to prove the identity of  ‘Nathan Roberts’. Many Roberts descendants would be very appreciative!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Biographical and Historical Souvenir for the Counties of Clark, Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings, Scott and Washington, Indiana, compiled & published by John M. Gresham & Company, Chicago, 1889. https://archive.org/stream/biographicalhisto00inchic#page/n5/mode/2up
  2. Nathan Roberts Maryland Censuses–
    1830– https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHPP-Q4V
    (2-page census–1 male <10, 1 age 55-60, 1 female age 24-36 on next page)
    1840– https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHR2-J6B
    (1 male 55-100, 1 female 36-55)
    1850– https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XCHQ-HMJ
    (age 60 and black)
    1860– https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GB9V-PN4?cc=1473181
    (this person is 35 and black, working as a servant in Baltimore; too young)

 

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