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Madness Monday: Mary Jane (Roberts) [French] Blount and Family, 1900

The family of Mary Jane (Roberts) Blount, 1900. Standing, from left, Mary Jane (Mollie J) (Roberts) Blount, baby Bernice Blount, Samuel Harvey Blount with hat and tie, and his father Samuel H. Blount, and Harry R. Blount. Seated on ground from left: Florence Blount, Helen J. Blount, Harold M. Blount. Cropped from a larger family photo.
The family of Mary Jane (Roberts) Blount, 1900. Standing, from left, Mary Jane (Mollie J) (Roberts) Blount, baby Bernice Blount, Samuel Harvey Blount with hat and tie, his father Samuel H. Blount, and Harry R. Blount. Seated on ground from left: Florence Blount, Helen J. Blount, Harold M. Blount. Cropped from a larger family photo.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Back in the mid- to late-1960s, kids did not generally have much of an understanding about divorce. D-I-V-O-R-C-E (remember that country song?) was something whispered about, and only amongst grown-ups. So it seemed madness trying to document this family back then as a young teen. Just WHAT was Mary Jane’s last name?? It was Blount, right? Her husband had that surname, and so did her kids. But what was this about her name being French (whisper, whisper)? And didn’t her brother Jason Lee Roberts marry  Julia French- was she related or was I just mixed up? It did not make sense to a young teen.

Sadly, today divorce makes too much sense to our kids, as so many have experienced it firsthand and it has become commonplace. But can you imagine the scandal in small town Iowa in the 1880s when a divorce took place?

Let’s start at the beginning, though…

Mary Jane Roberts was born 7 November 1863 in Warren County, Illinois, to John Roberts (1832-1922) and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts (1835-1917). Another kind of madness was going on around the family- the nation was in the midst of the Civil War. In fact, President Abraham Lincoln would dedicate a cemetery just 12 days after her birth- that speech is now known as “The Gettysburg Address.” Thankfully the family was in a northern state, but times were hard for most during the war.

Mary Jane was only about 5 when she rode and walked alongside the family’s covered wagon as they migrated from Warren County, Illinois, to Jasper County, Iowa in 1868.

Mary’s life on her father’s farm would have been similar in Iowa to what it had been in Illinois. She would have helped her mother with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and probably the “women’s work” on the farm which usually included a vegetable garden, some fruit trees, raising chickens for eggs and meat, and milking the family’s cows and producing butter, which was often sold in town.

Life changed for Mary on 4 July 1878- she married Reuben H. French (1856-1937) on that date, per family records. Yes, it would be four more months before she turned 15 years old, for you numbers people. Two years later, “Mollie J.” French was listed as the wife of Reuben French, a farmer like her father, in the 1880 US Federal Census for Mound Prairie Township in Jasper County, Iowa. Mollie’s brother William E. Roberts was living with them, and listed as a farmer, too. Reuben was 23, and Mollie 16. It was also noted that the couple was married during the census year, so the date from family records may be inaccurate, and Mary/Mollie may have been about 16 when she married. (A marriage record has not been found.)

It does turn out that Reuben actually was the brother of Julia French (1863-1917), who married Mollie’s brother Jason Lee Roberts (1859-1940) in 1881.

We don’t know details about the years in between for Mollie, but the family story includes D-I-V-O-R-C-E. The next document we have is from 18 April 1889- a marriage record for  a “M. J. French” whose maiden name was M.J. Roberts, and her parents were listed so we know the record is for the right M.J. The details of the record also state that the groom’s name was “Daniel Blount”- more madness, since all the other records we have state Mollie’s second husband was Samuel Henshaw Blount (1864-1935).

Sam and Mollie were next found in the 1900 US Federal Census in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. Sam was working as a coal operator, a skill he likely learned in England since he was a “colliery clerk” in Derbyshire when he was 17. (A colliery is a coal mine, and Iowa had a number of coal mines throughout the state.) They already had four children who were listed on the census: Harry R. Blount (1890-), Samuel H. Blount (1893-1966), Harold M. Blount (1896-), and Helen I. Blount (1898- ; married Joseph L. Cannon). By the 1910 census, two more children were born: Florence M. Blount (1900-1959) and Bernice M. Blount (1903-1994). In 1920, a Warren Blount was listed as a son of Samuel E. Blount, and 15 years old; he has not been found on any other census with this family.

Sam was moving up in his profession- by 1910, when he was 47, he was listed as a partner in the coal mine. Son Harry was working as a miner that year.

The state of Iowa took a census in 1915, and recorded that Mollie had 8 years of grammar school plus 1 year of high school. Her church affiliation was Christian and the family was  living at 2101 Clark St., in Des Moines, Iowa.

In 1920, a Warren Blount was listed as a son of Samuel E. Blount, and 15 years old; he has not been found on any other census with this family. Daughters Helen and Bernice were also living in the household.

Mary J. and Sam continued to live in Des Moines as they got older. Sam died on 29 June 1935, and Mary Jane on 20 December 1947. They are both buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Des Moines.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Image cropped from original large descendant photo. See “Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1900” at  http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/13/treasure-chest-thursday-the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1900/
  2. See also “Mystery Monday: The Children of Mary Jane (Roberts) [French] Blount”

    Mystery Monday: The Children of Mary Jane (Roberts) [French] Blount

  3. Family interviews and records, circa 1960s-1970s.

 

 

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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 2013-2016 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.

Sibling Saturday: The Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1900

Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1900. Standing, in white dress is Orphan B. Roberts, her brother Guy L. Roberts, Jason Lee Roberts, his wife Juia (French) Roberts holding baby Ralph Roberts. Seated children, from left: Wiley Roberts, Willard Roberts, and Charley Roberts.
Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1900. Standing, in white dress is Orpha B. Roberts, her brother Guy L. Roberts, Jason Lee Roberts, his wife Julia (French) Roberts holding baby Ralph Roberts. Seated children, from left: Wiley Roberts, Willard Roberts, and Charley Roberts. (Jason’s brother George A. Roberts is the man standing on the left, with his son George Jr.)

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

The Roberts family have a legacy of feeding their own families as well as the nation by their work with the soil and food crops, as well as with livestock. Jason Lee Roberts followed in the footsteps of his father, John S. Roberts, and other ancestors, as he farmed the land for all of his working life. In fact, J.L. is listed along with his two brothers, George A. Roberts and W. E. Roberts, in the “Directory of Leading Farmers in Jasper County, Iowa” in 1901.

Jason Lee or “J.L.” was the second child of five children (one died in infancy) of John Roberts and his wife Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts. J. L. was born in Warren County, Illinois, as were 3 of his siblings; his birth was on 8 December 1859. (He was possibly born in Roseville- records vary.) J.L. would have worked on the farm as a young boy, learning the same skills his father had learned from his own father. In 1868, when J.L. was about 9 or 10, the family migrated via covered wagon to Jasper County, Iowa.  The family settled on a farm there, where J.L. and his siblings grew to adulthood.

Jason acquired his own farm “after reaching manhood,” as his obituary stated. The homestead was near Prairie City, and his son Charles farmed it after he retired.

Jason married Julia French on 22 December 1881 in Mound Prairie Township, Jasper County, Iowa. Julia had also been born in Illinois, but on 5 December 1863, to John Candor French and Susan F. Peckenpaugh. Julia’s parents had lived in Indiana, as had Jason’s, and then moved to Illinois- it was a common migration pattern. The known residences of the families were about 70 miles apart in Indiana, but only 45 miles apart in Illinois- perhaps the families knew one another? Both families were enumerated in Jasper County in 1870, so there is the possibility that they migrated together in 1868, as it was a good-sized group. We have been unable to find the French family in the 1860 US Federal Census, so finding where they were that year might give us more clues about whether or not the two families knew each other prior to removing to Iowa.

The two families were close, even if it was only once they took up residence in Iowa: Julia’s brother, Reuben H. French, married Jason’s sister, Mary Jane Roberts. (More of that story in another post.)

J.L. and Julia had seven children together: Orpha B. Roberts (1883-1948), who married Samuel Blount; Oca S. Roberts (1888-1973), who married Walter Wilkinson; Guy L. Roberts (1890-1962); Wiley A. Roberts (1895-1967); Willard Francis Roberts (1897-1943); Charles Wilder Roberts (1900-1989); and Ralph H. Roberts (1903-1977).

Little Wiley Roberts, seen in the above picture, was most likely named after his maternal grandfather, Wiley Anderson Murrell. The younger Wiley later became the Mayor of Prairie City in the 1950s. See the Facebook page Prairie City Historical Society for a photo of him as an adult.

The family can be found in Mound Prairie Township, Jasper County, from 1870 to 1910, per US Federal Censuses, and they were included in the 1905 Iowa State Census.

Julia passed away on 28 November 1917 in Prairie City at the young age of 53, and was buried in Westview Cemetery in that city. Their youngest son, Ralph, was just 14 when his mother died.

Jason married May Riley (1872-1961) on 25 October 1919. May, of Newton, Iowa, was the daughter of John and Kate (Gray) Riley.

In 1940 Jason (and presumably his wife May) were spending the winter in Long Beach, California- many farmers, even those retired, spend their winters in warmer climes than frigid Iowa, even now. In April Jason had a heart attack, and after being stabilized, he returned to Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. Sadly he spent six weeks in the hospital there, but succumbed on 26 May 1940, at age 80. He was buried in Westview Cemetery with his first wife Julia.

May was a schoolteacher, and later that year she moved to Rolla, Phelps County, Missouri, to live with her sister and brother-in-law, Rey and Alfred Mulkey. She taught 8th grade that year. May survived her husband by 21 years, and passed away on 2 November 1961. She was buried next to her sister Elizabeth (Riley) Harlan in Lone Tree Cemetery, Sioux Rapids, Buena Vista County, Iowa. She was 89 at her death.

We know there are other Roberts descendants out there, and would love to share information. Please also let us know about anything that you think is incorrect in this series of family posts, and if you have some stories to add.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Image cropped from original large descendant photo. See “Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1900” at  http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/13/treasure-chest-thursday-the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1900/
  2. Family interviews with Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck, her sister and brother, and some of her cousins during the 1960s.
  3. “Directory of Leading Farmers in Jasper County, Iowa,”  in the Standard Historical Atlas of Jasper County, Iowa. The Huebenger Survey and Map Publishing Co.,Davenport, Iowa, 1901.
  4. Iowa Marriage Records, 1880-1937 on Ancestry.com
  5. Census records on Ancestry.com.
  6. Jason Lee Roberts obituary: The Jasper County Mirror, Thursday, May 30, 1940 – Page 2, Col. 5. http://iagenweb.org/boards/jasper/obituaries/index.cgi?review=252697
  7. See Find A Grave Memorials for images of headstones for Jason and Julia.
  8. Jason Lee Roberts- Find A Grave Memorial #76815012 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=76815012
  9. Julia (French) Roberts- Find A Grave Memorial #76815050 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=76815050
  10. May (Riley) Roberts- Find A Grave Memorial #169716084 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=169716084&ref=acom
  11. Some sources state 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.

 

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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 2013-2016 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.

Sibling Saturday: Jason Lee Roberts and Family

Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1892, Jasper County, Iowa. From left: Orphan B. Roberts, Oca S. Roberts, Julia (French) Roberts, Guy L. Roberts sitting on fence, and Jason Lee Roberts.
Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1892, Jasper County, Iowa. From left: Orpha B. Roberts and Oca S. Roberts (not sure which is which), Julia (French) Roberts, Guy L. Roberts sitting on fence, and Jason Lee Roberts.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Jason Lee Roberts (1859-1940) was the second son of John S. Roberts and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts.

Orphan B. Roberts is the older of the two sisters, but she was very small- only 4’8″ as an adult. So the smaller girl in this picture may actually be Orpha. Any readers out there who can tell us definitively which sister is the taller in this picture?

More to come about the family in an upcoming post.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest of photos, cropped from the original larger picture of all the descendants of John S. Roberts and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts.
  2. For original, large image please see also Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1892 at http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/06/the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1892/.

 

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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 2013-2016 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.

Typewriters on Tuesday- Roberts, Daniel(s), Murrell Family History

Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 1 of 3.
Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 1 of 3. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family, Daniel Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

Apparently today, 23 June, is the anniversary of the first typewriter patent. Like all inventions, it would have stood on the work of many before, including an early machine that impressed letters into paper, invented in 1575 by an Italian printmaker.

It is hard to imagine life with only printing presses and the pen- the typewriter made it possible for the average person to easily communicate in a legible fashion. My grandmother had terrible handwriting, so her typewritten letters, with all their mistakes and correction fluid/tape, and the carbon copies, are invaluable. They are especially important since cursive writing is no longer being taught in school, and younger generations cannot really read it sometimes, much less write it.

How many family histories were typewritten, like the above? Some were bound into books or booklets, or just fastened with a staple as the Roberts-Murrell family history in this post. The folks listed in this history are at least 3 generations ago, so some of this information might be lost but for the painstakingly typewritten treasures some of our families are lucky to have today.

My grandmother, her contemporaries, and their ancestors would be so amazed at the leap in communication with today’s word processors and OCR technology.

Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 2 of 3.
Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 2 of 3. (Click to enlarge.)

The images in this post are a report for the 1946 family reunion of the Roberts family in Jasper County, Iowa. I received it back in the late 1960s, from a Roberts descendant in Newton, Jasper, Iowa. Click on our new “Family Documents” section to download the entire pdf of this file more easily than the images in this post: Roberts, Daniel(s), Murrell Family History, 1946.

Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 3 of 3.
Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 3 of 3. (Click to enlarge.)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have some pictures from that reunion? They are probably out there somewhere… hopefully labeled with names and the date! If any of our dear readers have such pictures, please let us know through a comment on this post or our “Contact Us” form. We would love to share other Roberts, Murrell, Daniel(s), and Blount treasures.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family treasure chest item received in the 1960s.

 

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 2013-2015 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.

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
ROBERTS BROTHERS
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.

 

Please contact us if you would like a higher resolution image.

Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, 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.