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Sentimental Sunday: Elizabeth Ann Murrell and John S. Roberts

1892- John S. Roberts and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts, cropped from larger family photo with their descendants. Taken in Jasper County, Iowa. Owned by author.

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

Once the Wiley Anderson Murrell-Mary Magdalene Honts family settled in Roseville/Warren County, Illinois, their daughter and our ancestor Elizabeth Ann Murrell met a young farmhand named John S. Roberts. He had moved from the family farm of his parents, John Roberts (1805-1875) and Jane Saylor/Salyers (1806-1880), in Indiana, looking for work in the productive grain fields of Illinois. The convergence was fate, as John and Elizabeth married on 8 March 1857 in Roseville, where they set up housekeeping. Elizabeth’s brother John Henry Murrell was living with them in 1860 and working as a farm laborer. Elizabeth had already borne two sons, William Edward Roberts, born in 1858, and Jason Lee Roberts, born in 1859, so it would have been a busy farm household. Their son George Anthony Roberts (the father of Edith Roberts McMurray Luck) was then born in 1861, and finally a daughter, May Jane Roberts, joined the family in 1863, and was also born in Illinois.

We know that the Roberts family had a friendship with a Daniel family in Warren County. Charles M. Daniel (1819-1875) and his wife Elizabeth Thomas (1817-1885) had both been born in Virginia. Elizabeth and then their son, Robert Woodson “R. W.” Daniel (1843-1922), were born specifically in Rockbridge County, Virginia, just north of Botetourt. This family may have known the Murrell or Honts families even as far back as the early 1800s in Virginia, as suggested by some research that still needs more work. The Daniel family, however, decided to migrate to Missouri about 1845 (R.W. was just 2 years old), and then on to Illinois around 1864-1865. Their second migration is understandable, too, by considering the Civil War, as we did for the Murrell family. Being a border state, Missouri was a very dangerous place to live during that conflict. A farmstead could be raided by the Rebs in the morning, and then have Union troops descend that evening, also looking for food, supplies, and “spoils of war.” And then there were the border gangs that took no heed of any allegiance and were themselves committed to violence… It was challenging for a family to survive in Missouri, no matter the side they championed or who was beating on their door.

“R. W.” Daniel  enlisted in the Missouri State Military Cavalry in 1862, and served until 1865. (More on R.W. in the future.) Some sources state that he was in Warren County, Illinois in 1865, but he did marry Margaret Ann Hemphill (1839-1915) on 18 January 1866 in Pike County, Missouri. (He likely knew her from when he lived there, and may have gone to Warren Co. to recuperate from the war after his discharge.) The couple moved about 150 miles north to Young America, Warren County, Illinois, where their first child, Ella Viola Daniel, was born on 29 October 1866.

The John and Elizabeth Roberts family went to visit and congratulate the Daniel family on the birth of their child. John and Elizabeth took their sons and daughters with them for the visit, per their granddaughter, Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck. It was the first time that little George A. Roberts, about to turn five years old, saw his future wife for the very first time.

And that is why this is a “Sentimental Sunday” post!

 

To be continued…

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Vital records such as birth, marriage, and census that can be found on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, etc.
  2. Family stories written and told by Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Elizabeth Ann Murrell and John S. Roberts

 

John S. Roberts and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts, possibly in the 1870s or 1880s? Posted with kind permission of the Harlan Family Blog. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

Elizabeth Ann Murrell was the first born child of Wiley Anderson Murrell (1806-1885) and Mary Magdalene Honts (1806-1887). Her birth was 1 February 1835 in Botetourt County, Virginia, where Mary’s family had lived for a while- we still don’t know where Wiley was living before the marriage in 1834.

[BTW, Botetourt is pronounced in a uniquely Virginian way: “BOT-a-tot.”]

Elizabeth was just five years old when the 1840 US Federal Census was taken. Her father was enumerated in District 8, Botetourt County, Virginia, and she likely was there too. (The 1840 census only lists the head of household.) She was specifically listed with the family in the 1850 US Federal Census, however, again in District 8 of Botetourt; she was 15. As her father was a farmer, she most likely lived the hard-working life of a farm family- she would have helped her mother with milking the cows, caring for and slaughtering the chickens, slopping the pigs, bringing water to the house for cooking, drinking, and bathing, and she would have stayed busy working in the family garden. And that was just the outside work! Inside, she would have watched over her siblings, made the beds and done housework, mended and possibly made family clothing and bedding including quilts, and cooked meals for the family and anyone who was visiting or helping to work the fields. Hopefully she was able to attend school, and maybe have fun at dances and neighborhood get-togethers.

Just a few years later, when Elizabeth was 18, she migrated with her family to Warren County, Illinois. Her father continued to farm, so Elizabeth would have continued her own hard work as a farmer’s daughter.

The Murrells and many of their neighbors were probably too poor to have had any slaves while in Virginia (none are noted in the census), but they would have been surrounded by an economic and social environment that depended on slavery, as did the rest of the south. They may have been isolated enough by the mountains- the Blue Ridge Mountains are on the eastern borders of the county, and the Appalachians on the west- that they did not see the horrors of human bondage on a daily basis, but it was still pervasive.  There was an incident in August of 1835 (Elizabeth was just 6 months old) concerning the lynching of an Englishman in Lynchburg, Virginia. (The irony of the place name is not lost.) It was said the man was an abolitionist who was circulating pamphlets that were anti-slavery, thus a mob hunted him down and “inhumanly [sic] executed” him. This was picked up by many papers, but thankfully turned out to be “fake news.” (History repeats itself.) The case was entirely plausible, however, and believed by many initially, adding to the tension in our country due to the vigorously opposing sides in the slavery question.

Elizabeth and her siblings would have grown up in this divisive climate. It is a question to ponder as to how the family felt about slavery. Some descendants feel that their move to northern Illinois, plus the fact that two of three sons enlisted in the Union Army, suggests that they too believed in abolition, and wanted to leave the South before a war exploded. They were probably smart enough to see that if there was to be a civil war, Virginia’s lands would be one of the places it would be fought. Residents of a place are generally caught between armies, and lose their food, animals, family treasures, and sometimes their lives, so a migration before the tipping point was a good choice,  though surely daunting. Of course, we will never know for sure about the family’s political beliefs, unless a diary or letters are found from the family. (Do you have any in a shoebox in the back of a closet??) But the family did all survive the Civil War, and that would have been much more challenging to do had they stayed in Virginia.

 

 

The story of Elizabeth Ann Murrell and John S. Roberts continues…

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. “How to Talk Virginian” at cohp.org/va/notes/placenames_pronunciation.html
  2. “Virginia Mob,” New-York Spectator, 20 August 1835: http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Virginia_Mob_New-York_Spectator_August_20_1835
  3. Vital records such as birth, marriage, and census that can be found on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, etc.
  4. Family stories written and told by Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck.

 

Click to enlarge any image. Please contact us if you would like an image in higher resolution.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Friday’s Faces from the Past: The William Roberts Family

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Collection
William Roberts (1827-1891), from a Roberts Family Photo Album.
William Roberts (1827-1891), from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Ancestry.com, Find A Grave, and DNA matches are now wonderful ways to find cousins, and recently we had a new cousin connection in the Roberts line. Our common ancestors, John S. Roberts (1805-1875) and his wife Jane Salyers (1806-1880), were both born in Kentucky, and later moved to Indiana. They had eleven children, one of them being John Roberts (1832-1922) who has been the line written about to date on this blog. In the next few posts, however, we will explore John’s oldest brother William Roberts (1827-1891) and his descendants. Our new cousin provided lots of family photos, so let’s get started with them today. It will be interesting to see if there is any family resemblance to the John Roberts line.

William Roberts, above, was born on 2 February 1827 near Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana. In his early years, he was a teacher, but after a few years took up farming. William married Sarah L. Christie (1829-1912), daughter of Isaac Christie (1797-1865) and Susanna Cline (1798-1880). Sarah was also born in Jefferson County, on 10 March 1829, so it is quite likely they knew each other as children.

Sarah (Christie) Roberts, from a William Roberts Family Photo Album.
Sarah (Christie) Roberts, from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.

Sarah and William were married 16 March 1848 in Ripley County, Indiana, the county just northeast of Jefferson.

Their son John W. Roberts was born 1 January 1849, in Indiana, likely Jefferson or Decatur County. The young family was enumerated just after that of Sarah’s parents in the 1850 US Federal Census. Sarah’s father was a clergyman and her oldest brother was listed as a farmer too. Clergymen frequently had to farm to provide for their family, especially in rural areas. William and Sarah had no value of real estate listed, so could possibly have been renting from her father or farming on shares, since Rev. Christie owned $1800 worth of land. (Or the census-taker just missed it.)

John W. ROberts, about 1891, cropped from a family photo; from a William Roberts Family Photo Album.
John W. Roberts, about 1891, cropped from a family photo; from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.

The Roberts family had moved to Adams, Decatur County, Indiana, shortly after the 1850 US Federal Census enumeration. The 1860 census was not taken until 28 July, and found William farming and now with real estate worth $200. Young John W. Roberts lived in the household and was 11 years old. Sarah was listed as well, although there was another member of the household not listed but expected soon- George Lucas Roberts, who was born on 19 November 1860.

George Lucas Roberts , from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.
George Lucas Roberts , from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.

A third son, Isaac Henry Roberts, joined the family on 15 March 1863 in Greensburg, Decatur County, Indiana.

Issac H Roberts, c1893, from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.
Issac H Roberts, c1893, from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.

An infant girl who did not survive long was also born to the family.

June of 1863 brought the war home to the family when William Roberts was required to register for the Civil War Draft. At age 36, he was considered Class II, which was above the conscriptable ages of 20-35. Since he was also married, he  additionally fit the requirements for Class II. (Unmarried men 35-45 were considered Class I and could be required to serve active duty.)

In 1870, the census recorded the family as owning $500 in real estate. William was still farming, Sarah L. was still keeping house, and the three sons were living in the home as well, ages 21, 9, and 7. Ten years later, by 1880, son John W. had married and moved out, but George, 19, and a schoolteacher, and Isaac, who was 17 and attending school, were still in the household.

William was initially a Baptist like his father, but in his later years, decided to become “connected with the Christian church.” He was a Democrat politically. It was said of William:

“He was a man of quiet disposition, and although positive in his political and religious views never intruded his opinions in an offensive manner.”

William died on 5 September 1891, and was buried in South Park Cemetery, Greensburg, Decatur County, Indiana.

Sarah was 71 at the time of the 1900 US Federal Census for Washington, Decatur County, Indiana, where she owned a home at 67 Michigan Avenue. Her son George L, his wife Olive (Lynch) Roberts, and their children Paul Roberts and Miriam Roberts lived with her.

The multi-generational family moved to West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, by 1908. Sarah died there on 16 December 1912, having been a widow for 21 years. She was buried with William in South Park Cemetery.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. A Genealogical and Biographical Record of Decatur County, Indiana. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1900, page 253. https://archive.org/details/genealogicalbiog02lewi
  2. Find A Grave- William Roberts- http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=48306244
  3. Find A Grave- Sarah (Christie) Roberts- http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=24363177
  4. The William Roberts Family Photo Album. Thanks for sharing!

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.