Friday’s Faces from the Past: William Edward Roberts and Family, 1900

William Edward Roberts Family, 1900. Standing, from left: W. E. Roberts, son Orville Roberts, Orville’s mother, Mary M. (Main) Roberts. Seated on the ground in front of them are Maude Roberts & Clara Roberts, with Maude possibly having the lighter hair as seen in the 1892 photo. Cropped from a larger family photo.
William Edward Roberts Family, 1900. Standing, from left: W. E. Roberts, son Orville Roberts, Orville’s mother, Mary M. (Main) Roberts. Seated on the ground in front of them are Clara Roberts & Maude Roberts, with Maude (probably) sitting in front of her mother. Cropped from a larger family photo.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

In the year 1900, William Edward Roberts, also known as “W. E. Roberts” or “Ed,” and the eldest of the children of John & Elizabeth Roberts, was 42 years old; his wife Mary Margaret (Main) Roberts  was 39 and they had been married about 19 years. They had five children, but only three were still living the year this photo was taken. They were a farming family, and lived in Jasper County, Iowa, all of their married life. W. E. died on 6 July 1935, and Mary survived him 10 years, dying on 29 November 1945.

Portrait of William E. Roberts, 1901.
Portrait of William E. Roberts, 1901.

Daughter Edna M. Roberts, their firstborn, was born about 1883 per the 1885 Iowa State Census, but had passed away most probably before the 1892 family photograph was taken.

Maude Mae Roberts was the eldest of the two surviving daughters, and was about 16 when the large family photo was taken. We believe she is the daughter sitting in front of her mother, due to the thinner face and darker hair, after comparisons to photos of them both in later life. Maude married Andrew D. Jensma (186-1961) at the home of her father, W. E. Roberts, which was in Mound Prairie Twp., Jasper County, Iowa. They had seven children. Andrew was a farmer, like her father. Maude died 14 September 1980 in Kellogg, Jasper County, Iowa.

Four generations of the Roberts family: William Edward Roberts on left, his daughter Maude (Roberts) Jensma standing, and her grandfather John Roberts holding his great-grandson, Andrew Edward Jensma. Taken 22 August 1909.

Clara D. Roberts was about 14 in the big family photo of 1900, and married Albert J. Zang, also a farmer like her father, on Valentine’s Day, 14 February, 1911. They moved to Osceola, Polk county, Nebraska, by the 1920 census, and were enumerated after another Zang- possibly the brother or cousin of Albert? They were still in Nebraska in 1930, and moved back to Mound Prairie Twp., Jasper County, Iowa after 1935, with daughter Frieda Zang and her husband. Clara had attended 2 years of college, whereas Albert had finished only the 5th grade- likely he had to work on the farm at that young age. Clara died in 1960 and is buried in Osceola Cemetery, Polk County, Nebraska.

Son Orville J. Roberts was 12 in 1900, and he later married Anna E. Hall, (1894-?) on 5 March 1913. They had two children, both girls. His WWI Draft Registration lists him as tall, medium build, grey eyes and light hair. He was farming in Colfax, Iowa, in 1917. In April of 1942, he was living in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa when he completed his WWII Draft Registration. Orville passed away in August of 1979 in Fayette, Howard County, Missouri.

Little Freddie Roberts was born 11 March 1896, but sadly passed away at the age of 4 years, 4 months, 23 days. As his death date was 3 August 1900, this picture would date after that.


Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Photos from family treasure chest and cousins who have so kindly shared.
  2. Census and marriage records from were used in writing this post, and Find A Grave links as well.


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