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Talented Tuesday: George Lucas Roberts

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Collection
George Lucas Roberts , from the Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Album.
George Lucas Roberts , from the Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Album. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Previous posts have detailed the recently “found” family line of William Roberts (1827-1891) and Sarah (Christie) Roberts (1829-1912). William Roberts was a son of John S. Roberts and Jane Saylor/Salyers, who were also the parents of “our” John S. Roberts (1832-1922). (He was the grandfather of Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck.) So the children of those two brothers would be cousins, and then depending on generation, we would add # of times ‘removed’ to find current relationships. Let’s just make it easy, as folks of that day would have, and call them all “cousin.”

Our cousin George Lucas Roberts was the second of the three sons of William and Sarah Roberts. The boys all grew up on the family farm in Decatur County, Indiana. George was born on 19 November 1860, near Adams in Decatur County, Indiana, when his older brother John W. Roberts was almost 12 years old. George’s younger brother, Isaac Henry Roberts, was born about 2-1/2 years later, so George would have had someone nearer to his age to play with when they were not out doing farm chores.

William Roberts, while a farmer after George was born, had taught school in his early years, and education was thus probably very important to the family. George attended the common rural schools and private schools, and he became a teacher when just 18 years old- even before he had completed high school. He taught in a one-room rural schoolhouse in Decatur County, Indiana, then attended Indiana University’s College of Liberal Arts, receiving a bachelor of arts degree; he was 24 years old. George went back to Greensburg to teach, and moved up to principal of the Greensburg High School for ten years- George was very interested in the educational psychology of adolescents.  He then became Superintendent of the Greensburg city schools, on 1 January 1898. He was good at his job and moved up to become the Superintendent of Schools in the Indiana towns of Frankfort (1901-1903), and later Muncie.

George L. Roberts, Superintendent, Muncie High School, Education in Indiana: An Outline of the Growth of the Common School System, page 385
George L. Roberts, Superintendent 1903-1904, Muncie High School, Education in Indiana: An Outline of the Growth of the Common School System, page 385
George L. Roberts, Superintendent, Muncie High School, Education in Indiana: An Outline of the Growth of the Common School System, page 386.
Common Indiana high school courses and statistics. George L. Roberts, Superintendent, Muncie High School, Education in Indiana: An Outline of the Growth of the Common School System, page 386.

[Note: When looking at the number of graduates of high school, remember that a large proportion of the boys went into farming and were needed on the farm, so often did not attend school for as much time during the year as the girls. The girls would be needed on the farm as well at certain times of year, such as when planting or harvesting, as they had to help feed large crews of workers. So it was hard to make schooling a priority, and college was not needed by most at that time.]

In the meantime, while moving up the educational ladder, George had married Olive “Ollie” C. Lynch on 19 November 1884. They had two children: Paul Lynch Roberts, born in 1886, and Miriam Roberts, born 1891.

George was not an idle teacher during the summer months- instead he switched sides of the desk and became a student. Clark University and Columbia University programs on educational psychology occupied the time and his mind, and he taught botany as part of his practical work. His diligent work earned him a Master’s Degree in Education from Columbia’s Teacher College, and a Master’s of Art from Columbia in 1910. Despite being the Dean of Purdue University’s Department of Education, George L. Roberts never earned a Ph.D.

George’s work in the public schools of Indiana totaled 27 years.

At that time, over 20% of the teachers in Indiana did not hold a college degree, had no supervised training in the classroom, and students were not adequately prepared for college, which few even entered. In 1908, Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, opened their education department with a professorship of industrial education, which was described as “That area of education between manual training and college engineering.” George L. Roberts was the man for the job.

George was hired by Purdue as a professor of Industrial Education in 1908, and for six years, George was the department. Not until 1914 did Purdue add more teachers, in order to train even more teachers.

George was described as a “student of the science of education.” Not only was he an excellent organizer and administrator of the new department, but he taught five classes as well. (His classes included those dealing with hog cholera and contagious diseases that caused hogs to abort their offspring. Combining agriculture and science into practical education was one of his strengths.)

Students loved him- they called him, “Daddy” Roberts.

George Lucas Roberts, staff photo in The Educator-Journal, Vol. 10, No. 10, no page no., June 1910 issue.
George Lucas Roberts, staff photo in “The Educator-Journal,” Vol. 10, No. 10, no page no., June 1910 issue.

A history of Purdue University gives us a glimpse into the personality of George L. Roberts:

“… he carried off his academic role with aplomb and confidence. More than six feet tall, he parted his thick, silvery hair in the middle, wore pince-nez glasses, and was always impeccably dressed.”

George was a bit formal, sometimes reserved and soft-spoken, but he could be stern and deliberate when needed. He was considered a pleasant and kind man by all who knew him. The history goes on to say that George was so active in outside professional activities that his presence gave Purdue an excellent reputation in educational psychology and training of teachers from the beginning of the department in 1908.

Although he was the Dean of the College of Education at Purdue University, George did not publish many papers- this seems appropriate since he was more of a ‘hands-on’ teacher with industrial arts. As early as 26 April 1898 he presented a paper at the first meeting of the newly-formed Indiana Audubon Society on “Bird Study in the Schools.” He was a charter member of the society- #32.

Occasional articles to the Indiana Educational Journal and Purdue catalog material constituted most of his writing for publication. At Purdue, he taught five subjects, supervised student teaching, and rendered assistance to the new Department of Agricultural Extension. This cooperation with Agricultural Extension was the means he used to meet the demand for vocational instruction in agriculture and home economics. Through this effort, Purdue’s School of Agriculture began, in 1914, to train teachers in vocational agriculture and vocational home economics for the public schools.

Here are a number of items to add to the timeline of George Lucas Roberts:

1911, George L. Roberts, A.M., Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana

On 27 September 1913, George L. Roberts participated in the Northwest Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church concerning the church’s work at  Purdue University. He was a prominent member in his local church, and was a member of the board of stewards. He also acted as Superintendent of the Sabbath School.

1914-15, George L. Roberts, A.M., Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana. Also listed as a Summer School Director in La Fayette, Indiana (home of Purdue University) for “Summer School for Teachers of Agriculture, Home Economics, and Manual Training to be held June 12 to July 24. George was involved with these institutes for at least 5 years. During these sessions, teachers were trained in “work and methods of teaching,” in hope of improving the quality of teachers throughout the state. George’s specialty was the science work.

1915, George L. Roberts, A.M., Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana; also listed under American Educational Associations:

1915- Educational Associations- George L. Roberts.
1915- Educational Associations- George L. Roberts.
 George wrote a section for “The Educator-Journal” on teaching methods, and in November of 1915 became the editor.
"The Educator-Journal," George L. Roberts, Editor, November 1915.
“The Educator-Journal,” George L. Roberts, Editor, November 1915.

In 1917, George L. Roberts became the President of the Indiana State Teachers Association. He had been very active in the Association for many years, including a member of the Executive Committee, and at one point he was President of the Mathematical Section.

September, 1917 was when one of the few published articles by George appeared in print. It was a review in “The School Review,” and he was quite qualified to review the book:

Review of "The Rural School from Within." In "The School Review, Vol. 25, No. 7, Page 529.
Review of “The Rural School from Within.” In “The School Review, Vol. 25, No. 7, Page 529.

1919- Dean of Purdue University, Department of Education, Lafayette [Indiana]

Sarah (Christie) Roberts, George’s mother, was living with the family in 1900. She passed away in 1912, and then sadly, George and Ollie’s son Paul died on 2 October 1918. He had been in college in 1910, and had also registered for the World War I draft, stating he was married and his occupation was working on an electric vehicle. He was living in Philadelphia but apparently died in New York at the age of 31. We have not been able to determine exactly what happened, but might he perhaps been a victim of the 1917-1918 influenza outbreak? (Ordering the death certificate from New York would give the answer.)

George and his wife Ollie had 11 more years together, until she passed away on 2 April 1929; they had been married 45 years. Their daughter Miriam Roberts Smiley and her two children came to live with him while he was still working at Purdue University, and they were enumerated there in the 1930 US Federal Census. George still lived in the Lafayette, Indiana area in 1935, but by the 1940 US Federal Census he was living in  Mission, Johnson, Kansas, with his daughter Miriam, her husband and two children. George had retired.

Both Miriam and her husband had completed four years of college- he was superintendent of a manufacturing company, so fit well into the family with his experience in industrial arts. George’s granddaughter had already completed her third year of college by 1940, and his grandson was in high school. Definitely a well educated family, carrying on the traditions through four generations, starting with George’s father, William Roberts, who taught school.

George passed away one year later, on 26 February 1941, in Kansas City, Clay County, Missouri, where the family had moved. The Rev. Williams of Lafayette, Indiana (home of Purdue) conducted the memorial service, and said George was:

“an overflowing soul that fed, encouraged, inspired and built character in the lives of his students. So it was to his friends and collaborators in society, school and church. He was a life crowned with great achievements.”

George, his wife Olive C. (Lynch) Roberts, his two children Paul L. Roberts and Miriam (Roberts) Smiley, and George’s mother, Sarah (Christie) Roberts, are all buried in South Park Cemetery in Greensburg, Decatur, Indiana.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Special thanks to Jon Roberts for the information he shared and his excellent biography of George L. Roberts on Find A Grave- we have used one paragraph directly. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=134894771&ref=acom
  2. The Roberts family valued education in other lines as well- George Anthony Roberts sent his daughter, Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck to the University of Iowa. (Her brother was not interested in college and preferred to work on the farm, so his father bought him a herd of cattle instead.) Edith graduated with a degree in biology in 1923- fairly unusual for a woman back then.
  3. A genealogical and biographical record of Decatur County, Indiana; compendium of national biographyby Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1900. “George L. Roberts” entry, pages 253-254. https://archive.org/stream/genealogicalbiog02lewi#page/252/mode/2up
  4. Education in Indiana: An Outline of the Growth of the Common School System, Together with Statements Relating to the Condition of Secondary and Higher Education in the State and a Brief History of the Educational Exhibit. Prepared for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Held at Saint Louis, May 1 to Nov. 30, 1904, by Indiana Dept. of Public Instruction, Fassett Allen Cotton, 1904, pages 298, 385. https://books.google.com/books?id=NqwAAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA385&lpg=PA385&dq=%22George+L.+roberts%22+education&source=bl&ots=I73pBlOB6Q&sig=orTvFptpHDHD85YkSr29UTEcIdQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjQsYeElILMAhWKcT4KHXiHB_4Q6AEILzAG#v=onepage&q=%22George%20L.%20roberts%22%20education&f=false

  5. Education Report, 1911- Professors of Pedagogy and Heads of Departments of Pedagogy in Universities and Colleges, in

    Report of the Commissioner of Education [with Accompanying Papers]., Volume 1, United States. Bureau of Education, page 654. US Government Printing Office, 1912.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=-1Q6AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA654&lpg=PA654&dq=%22George+L.+roberts%22+education&source=bl&ots=RgK2iJr5Qv&sig=nIYUkYTEjiIC3VZPEIgoSMCPkko&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj8-vyglILMAhUMdD4KHRxMD_o4ChDoAQgdMAE#v=onepage&q=%22George%20L.%20roberts%22%20education&f=false

  6. Professors of Pedagogy and Heads of Departments of Pedagogy in Universities and Colleges, in Education for the Home: Introductory survey ; Equipment for household arts, Benjamin Richard Andrews, US Government Printing Office, 1915, page 84, 118. https://books.google.com/books?id=72UAAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA3-PA84&lpg=RA3-PA84&dq=%22George+L.+roberts%22+education&source=bl&ots=ywjTYB7Oue&sig=0U9YofQVMW3uBqh48yPCDGh-ZmU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjQsYeElILMAhWKcT4KHXiHB_4Q6AEINzAJ#v=onepage&q=%22George%20L.%20roberts%22%20education&f=false

  7. Problems of Vocational Education in GermanyWith Special Application to Conditions in the United States, Issues 33-43, pages 81, 177, George Edmund Myers, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1915. https://books.google.com/books?id=oWcAAAAAYAAJ&dq=%22George+L.+roberts%22+education&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  8. Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA), “Past Presidents of the Indiana State Teachers Association 1854-Present.” https://ista-in.org/your-ista, accessed 04/09/2016.
  9. Patterson’s American Educational Directory, Volume 16, American Educational Company, 1919, page 627. https://books.google.com/books?id=AmRAAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA627&lpg=PA627&dq=%22George+L.+roberts%22+education&source=bl&ots=1mEJA9_KwE&sig=nmHsWcwaQFvAt-kyXZRTjDdBf2s&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjQsYeElILMAhWKcT4KHXiHB_4Q6AEIKDAD#v=onepage&q=%22George%20L.%20roberts%22%20education&f=false

  10. The Educator-Journal, Vol. 10, No. 10, no page (Google p329), June 1910, Educator-Journal Company, 1910. https://books.google.com/books?id=0E_PHPTZwk8C&dq=educator-journal+volume+10+no+10&q=george+l.+roberts#v=snippet&q=george%20l.%20roberts&f=false

  11. The Educator-Journal, Vol. 15, page 504, Educator-Journal Company, 1914.
  12. Engineering Technology Teacher Training-http://www.education.purdue.edu/dean/PCC/attachments/2008-01-10/ETTE%20Program%204%20PCC%201-10-08%20(2).pdf
  13. Roberts, George L. (1914-) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections- http://www4.lib.purdue.edu/archon/?p=creators/creator&id=420
  14. A Century and BeyondThe History of Purdue University, by Robert W. Topping, Purdue University Press, 1988. pp. 172-3.

  15. History of agricultural education of less than college grade in the United Statesa cooperative project of workers in vocational education in agricultural and in related fields, Federal Security Agency, 1942, p.132.

  16. Minutes of the Northwest Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, GoogleBooks, p155-156. https://books.google.com/books?id=hG0zAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA155&lpg=RA1-PA155&dq=%22george+l+roberts%22+purdue+education&source=bl&ots=sW1-0hIG7p&sig=Egm9s6kWY4yfEkOC_lmAiN6MTGc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj31q6xp4fMAhWEpR4KHRjBB0IQ6AEINzAI#v=onepage&q=%22george%20l%20roberts%22%20purdue%20education&f=false
  17. The Grand Old Man of Purdue University and Indiana AgricultureA Biography of William Carroll Latta, Purdue University Press, 2005, page 242.

  18. Annual report of the Office of Experiment Stations for the year ended June 30, 1908, U.S. Government Printing Office, via GoogleBooks. https://books.google.com/books?id=i5lcT1NE5ksC&dq=%22george+l+roberts%22+purdue+education&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  19. “History of the Indiana Audubon Society 1898-1998” by Charles E. Keller, Indiana Audubon Society, 1997, np. http://www.indianaaudubon.org/portals/0/documents/ias_history.pdf
  20. “Review of “The Rural School from Within” by George L. Roberts in “The School Review, Vol. 25, No. 7, Page 529.
  21. Some excerpts above are included on the Find A Grave memorial for George, written by Jon Roberts. Find A Grave Memorial# 134894771.

 

 

 

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Military Monday: Henry Clay Christie and the 34th Iowa Infantry Volunteers

Enlistment of Henry Clay Christie, August 12, 1862. Civil War Enlistments, 34th Iowa Infantry, Co. D-1, JK 6360.6, A.3, C5, Reel 16, State Historical Society of Iowa.
Enlistment of Henry Clay Christie, August 12, 1862. Civil War Enlistments, 34th Iowa Infantry, Co. D-1, JK 6360.6, A.3, C5, Reel 16, State Historical Society of Iowa.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Today’s Guest Post is by our cousin Jon Roberts, written 24 August 2015. John has provided all the recent Roberts pictures we have posted from the Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Collection, and we are so happy to have found another cousin and line of the family!

Jon’s line is from John S. Roberts (1805-1875) and Jane (Salyers) Roberts (1806-1880) through their son William Roberts (1827-1891); ‘our’ line is through William’s brother, John S. Roberts (1832-1922).

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

“Henry Clay Christie is my 3rd great uncle, the brother of my 2nd great grandmother, Sarah (Christie) Roberts, who is the grandmother of my paternal grandfather, Lloyd William Roberts.”

The seeds for formation of the 34th Regiment of the Iowa Infantry Volunteers were sown on June 28, 1862 with a message to President Lincoln from the Governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and the President of the Military Board of Kentucky.

The undersigned, Governors of States of the Union, impressed with the belief that the citizens of the States which they respectively represent are of one accord in the hearty desire that the recent successes of the Federal arms may be followed up by measures which must insure the speedy restoration of the Union; and believing that in view of the present state of the important military movements now in progress and the reduced condition of our effective forces in the field, resulting from the usual and unavoidable casualties of the service, that the time has arrived for prompt and vigorous measures to be adopted by the people in support of the great interests committed to your charge, we respectfully request, if it meets with your entire approval, that you at once call upon the several States for such number of men as may be required to fill up all military organizations now in the field, and add to the armies heretofore organized such additional number of men as may in your judgment be necessary to garrison and hold all of the numerous cities and military positions that have been captured by our armies, and to speedily crush the rebellion that still exists in several of the Southern States, thus practically restoring to the civilized world our great and good Government. All believe that the decisive moment is near at hand, and to that end the people of the United States are desirous to aid promptly in furnishing all re-enforcements that you may deem needful to sustain our Government.

On July 1, 1862, President Lincoln responded by issuing an Executive Order to call an additional 300,000 troops into service.

To the Governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and the President of the Military Board of Kentucky:

 GENTLEMEN: Fully concurring in the wisdom of the views expressed to me in so patriotic a manner by you in the communication of the 28th day of June, I have decided to call into the service an additional force of 300,000 men. I suggest and recommend that the troops should be chiefly of infantry. The quota of your State would be ___________. I trust that they may be enrolled without delay, so as to bring this unnecessary and injurious civil war to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion. An order fixing the quotas of the respective States will be issued by the War Department to-morrow.

General George Washington Clark, appointed colonel of the 34th Iowa Volunteers. Illustration in History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century, 1903; via Wikipedia, public domain.
General George Washington Clark, appointed colonel of the 34th Iowa Volunteers. Illustration in History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century, 1903; via Wikipedia, public domain.

The 34th Iowa, primarily composed of men from the counties of Decatur, Lucas, Warren, and Wayne, began gathering at Camp Lauman in Burlington, Iowa in August 1862. Henry Clay Christie volunteered for service on August 12, 1862 and was assigned to Company G, which was mostly composed of men from Lucas County. When mustered into service on October 15, 1862, the 34th was composed of 941 men. Its commander was Colonel George W. Clark. During the two months between August and October 1862 when the troops were gathering at Camp Lauman, no less than 600 men were struck with measles and later, pneumonia was prevalent. As a result, many deaths occurred while numerous other men were unfit for duty during their entire time at Camp Lauman.

On November 22, 1862, the 34th was ordered to Helena, Arkansas where General William Tecumseh Sherman was gathering troops in preparation for the engagement against Vicksburg, Mississippi. They arrived December 5th and were assigned to the Third Brigade of the Fourth Division of the Sixteenth Army Corps, commanded by Brigadier General John M. Thayer. Soon after arrival, smallpox broke out among the Regiment. This, coupled with exposure from living in dog tents and weather conditions of heavy rain, numbing cold, and snow, caused many more deaths or rendered many men unfit for duty due to sickness.

Battle of Chickasaw Bayou. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Map by Hal Jespersen www.posix_.comCW
Battle of Chickasaw Bayou. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Map by Hal Jespersen www.posix_.comCW

Sometime between the 34th’s arrival at Helena, Arkansas on December 5th and the order to proceed toward Chickasaw Bayou on December 21st, Henry C. Christie was hospitalized. The muster roll for Company G of the 34th Iowa shows that Henry was hospitalized at Helena, Arkansas on December 21st; therefore, he was one of those unfit for duty and unable to participate in the upcoming battle.

The Battle of Chickasaw Bayou was the opening campaign to capture Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. On December 26th, three Union divisions under General Sherman disembarked at Johnson’s Plantation on the Yazoo River to approach the Vicksburg defenses from the northeast while a fourth landed farther upstream on the 27th. On the 27th, Sherman’s troops pushed their lines forward through the swamps toward Walnut Hills, which were strongly defended. On the 28th, several futile attempts were made to get around these defenses and on December 29th, Sherman ordered a frontal assault which was repulsed with heavy casualties. Sherman then withdrew. To make matters worse, the weather during this period was terrible. One morning, the troops awoke “drenched and almost overwhelmed with a terrific rainstorm, leaving us . . . lying midside deep in pools of cold water.” The Battle was a resounding Union defeat.

Colonel Clark described this defeat and the subsequent movement of the men of the 34th in this way:

The hardships and disasters of Sherman’s repulses at Chickasaw Bluffs can never be comprehended by any except the brave and hardy men who were there and survived them. The humiliation and misery, consequent upon a useless and senseless slaughter, were greatly aggravated by the inclemency of the weather. When these unfortunate operations on the Yazoo were ended, we moved out of this loathsome and poisonous stream . . .

Battle of Fort Hindman/ Arkansas Port. Currier & Ives print from Library of Congress via Wikimedia, public domain.
Battle of Fort Hindman/ Arkansas Port. Currier & Ives print from Library of Congress via Wikimedia, public domain.

After Chickasaw Bayou, the Arkansas River Expedition was organized and the 34th was ordered upriver to Arkansas Post, also known as Fort Hindman. This expedition was organized by Major General John Alexander McClernand because Confederate ships used the Fort as a base to launch raids on Union shipping, culminating in the capture of the Blue Wing, a supply ship of munitions meant for General Sherman. The 34th Iowa arrived in the vicinity of Arkansas Post on January 9, 1863. As previously noted, smallpox had broken out in the Regiment and that, along with other diseases that had broken out during the trip up the Mississippi River, had greatly reduced the effective force available for battle.

Naval forces commanded by Rear Admiral David D. Porter opened the battle at approximately 5:30 pm on January 10th by ordering three of his ironclads, Baron DeKalb, Louisville, and Cincinnati, to engage Fort Hindman’s guns. The bombardment did not cease until well after dark. The men of the 34th Iowa marched all night through the woods and swamps to reach their positions about 150 yards from the Fort the next morning, January 11th, where the guns of the Fort were unleashed on them. This artillery exchange continued until approximately noon when orders were issued to begin advancing on the Fort. As the infantry, which included the 34th Iowa, was moving toward the Fort, white flags of surrender appeared around 4:30 pm. After the surrender, nearly 4,800 Confederate soldiers were taken prisoner. The 34th Iowa, along with five companies of the 113th Illinois Regiment, were ordered to transport all prisoners, except commissioned officers, to Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois. The officers were transported to Johnson’s Island in Sandusky Bay, Ohio. One of the Confederate prisoners captured that day was my 2nd great grandfather, Private James Henry Owens who was with the 15th Regiment, Texas Cavalry. James was the grandfather of my maternal grandfather, James Roston Pollard.

The "Lookout," a transport steamer similar to that used to carry Henry Clay Christie and his comrades upriver. This image is the Lookout on the Tennessee River, ca. 1860 - ca. 1865. Matthew Brady, NARA, restored, via Wikimedia; public domain.
The “Lookout,” a transport steamer similar to that used to carry Henry Clay Christie and his comrades-and enemies- upriver. This image is the “Lookout” on the Tennessee River, ca. 1860 – ca. 1865. Image by Civil War photographer Matthew Brady, NARA, restored, via Wikimedia; public domain.

The three weeks following the surrender of Fort Hindman were among the worst the 34th Iowa had endured up to that point. The first leg of the trip on the Mississippi River, from Arkansas Post to Benton Barracks in St. Louis, was a horrible ordeal as about 5,500 men (Union soldiers from the 34th Iowa and the 113th Illinois Regiments and their Confederate prisoners) were crammed onto the Sam Gaty, the John J. Row, and the Nebraska – “three of the poorest steamboats in the fleet” according to Colonel Clark. It took two weeks to get to St. Louis, where they were transferred to trains for the reminder of the trip. During that two week period, “the weather [was] colder than it had ever been known” and the men were crowded together “worse than a humane man would crowd cattle on a voyage to the shambles.” Union and Confederate soldiers lay side by side on the floors, sick with fevers, pneumonia, measles, smallpox, and chronic diarrhea. Excretion pails were overflowing and ran along the floors of the cabins. The stench was horrific. Sick men were left at stops in Memphis, Tennessee, Cairo, Illinois, and Arsenal Island, just south of St. Louis. According to Colonel Clark, “the human suffering during the trip exceeded anything I have ever witnessed in the same length of time.” This from a man who has seen plenty of suffering on many battlefields.

Based on muster rolls for the 34th, it appears Henry was picked up at Helena, Arkansas while the 34th was on the way to Benton Barracks with the POWs and was one of those left at Arsenal Island. One muster roll states he was “left sick at Small Pox Hospital, Arsenal Island, St Louis, MO, Jany 27, 63.” A hospital record notes that Henry was admitted to Small Pox U.S.A. General Hospital, St. Louis, MO on January 24, 1863 with complaints of varioloid and chronic diarrhea. Thus, for the portion of the trip described in the preceding paragraph, it appears both my 3rd great Uncle Henry and 2nd great grandfather James were together, though it cannot be established whether or not they were on the same steamboat.

Muster rolls then indicate Henry was discharged from the hospital on March 26, 1863 and discharged from military service in Saint Louis on March 30, 1863. He died in Jackson Township, Monroe County, Iowa less than a month later on April 25, 1863 and is buried at Evans Cemetery, Monroe County, Iowa, plot EVA019.

GAR Index for Henry Clay Christie, CAR-C00, Pol-H-1216, Microfilm #1570123 State Historical Society of Iowa Library.
GAR Index for Henry Clay Christie, CAR-C00, Pol-H-1216, Microfilm #1570123
State Historical Society of Iowa Library.

 

An additional note: Any soldier would much prefer to pass to the next world surrounded by his loving family, rather than in a horrible military hospital with strangers. Henry C. Christie was granted this, and his family was most likely very happy to have him for even that short month he survived his enlistment. He was buried where others in the family were later laid to rest. Had Henry been one of the 470 soldiers who died at the smallpox hospital on Arsenal Island, he would have been buried there. The wooden headboards used to mark the graves of those soldiers were washed away by floods over the years as the Mississippi River rose in its annual cycles. The bodies were reinterred later at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. Sadly they could not be individually identified since their markers had washed away; they were buried as “Unknown Soldiers.”

It must have been a comfort to the Christie family to know that that their soldier, their boy, was instead ‘resting quietly’ in the cemetery near them in Iowa.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, The Abraham Lincoln Association http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idxc=lincoln;rgn=div1;view=text;idno=lincoln5;node=lincoln5%3A657.
  2. “The American Presidency Project,” University of California – Santa Barbara http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=69811.
  3. Iowa and the Rebellion: History of the Troops Furnished by the State of Iowa to the Volunteer Armies of the Union, Which Conquered the Great Southern Rebellion of 1861-5, Lurton Dunham Ingersoll, author, 1867. (p624-639, available on GoogleBooks via https://books.google.com/books?id=oVs7AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA624&lpg=PA624&dq=camp+lauman+burlington&source=bl&ots=-N5MU0zmBs&sig=meRh5pcFZa-wJJ-DE12JcUfs2Ik&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiV4MuuyPrKAhUHgj4KHdzZCfIQ6AEIKzAC#v=onepage&q&f=false
  4. Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, Vol V, 32-48, Regiments, E 507.3, I64, Guy E. Logan, author, State Historical Society of Iowa.
  5. “Chickasaw Bayou,” National Park Service, American Battlefield Protection Program via http://www.nps.gov/abpp/battles/ms003.htm.
  6. The Thirty-Fourth Iowa Regiment: Brief History, 1892, J. S. Clark, Historian of the Regiment.
  7. Iowa Colonels and Regiments: Being a History of Iowa Regiments in the War of the Rebellion; and Containing a Description of the Battles in Which They Have Fought, 1865, Captain A. A. Stuart, Seventeenth Iowa Infantry.
  8. “Chickasaw Bayou” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Chickasaw_Bayou).
  1. “American Civil War: Major General John McClernand” via http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/UnionLeaders/p/American-Civil-War-Major-General-John-Mcclernand.htm
  1. “American Civil War: Battle of Arkansas Post” via http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/civilwar/p/arkansaspost.htm
  1. “The Battle of Arkansas Post: Stepping Stone to Vicksburg,” Civil War Trust via http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/navy-hub/navy-history/the-battle-of-arkansas-post.html
  1. GAR Index, CAR-C00, Pol-H-1216, Microfilm #1570123, State Historical Society of Iowa.

 

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Those Places Thursday: Isaac H. Roberts and a Move to Kansas

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Collection
Issac H Roberts, c1893, from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.
Issac H Roberts, c1893, from the Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Album.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Places today are easy- we have so many modes of fast modern transportation to choose from, and if we can’t be there in person, we can Skype, email, or make a free cell phone call- even look at places on a webcam! Not so in the 1800s though. Train travel did make it easier than we may realize, but folks did not travel back and forth for each holiday or special event once they had moved to a new part of the country. Letters had to suffice for most or all of the time, and often the lines of communication broke down over many years. It must have been very sad for parents such as William and Sarah Roberts to watch their son Isaac drive off to head west to Kansas sometime between 1880 and 1900. They probably worried that they might never see him again.

Isaac Henry Roberts had been born to William Roberts (1827-1891) and Sarah (Christie) Roberts (1829-1912) in March of 1863, likely in Adams, Decatur County, Indiana. He was the youngest surviving son of three, and had a sister who did not survive infancy.

Isaac would have grown up on the family farm, and was listed in the US Federal Census as age 7 in 1870. In 1880, he was 17 and listed as “at home” with the family, rather than a farm laborer.

Isaac’s father died in 1891 in Indiana- did Isaac decide to move west after that?

Isaac married Clara Lillian Shrader (b. 1866) about 1894, and they were living in Arion, Cloud County, Kansas at the 1900 US Federal Census. Isaac farmed and raised stock on their land. He owned the farm which was mortgaged, and he was listed on the Agriculture Schedule.

Clara Shrader, eventually wife of Isaac H. Roberts. From the Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Collection, cropped from picture with Eva Bennett.
Clara Lillian Shrader, eventually wife of Isaac H. Roberts. From the Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Collection, cropped from picture with Eva Bennett (a cousin since her mother was a Bennett?).

Isaac and Clara had two sons, Lloyd William Roberts (1897-1981), who owned all the photos in the collection we have been posting, and Max Duane Roberts (1898-1980).

The family was still living in Arion in 1905, but in 1910 they were listed in Pomona, Franklin, Kansas, again owning a farm with a mortgage. They were found in the same place through the 1940 US Federal Census, the most recent available. They were still noted as farming in 1940 when Isaac was 77 years old.

Clara died just six years after that 1940 census, on 5 June 1946. Isaac survived her by four years and then was laid to rest quietly beside her after his death on 3 May 1950 (in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma). They share a headstone in  Highland Cemetery, Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Find A Grave Memorial #158908260 for Isaac Henry Roberts – http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=158908260
  2. Find A Grave Memorial #158908315 for Clara Lillian (Shrader) Roberts- http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=158908315
  3. Mentioned in biography of his brother George Lucas Roberts in A genealogical and biographical record of Decatur County, Indiana; compendium of national biography, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, page 253- https://archive.org/stream/genealogicalbiog02lewi#page/252/mode/2up

 

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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.
 
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Mystery Monday: Who is with Clara Shrader Roberts?

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Collection
Clara Shrader and Eva Bennet, from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.
Clara Shrader and Eva Bennett, from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Thankfully someone noted the names of these two lovely ladies on this photo. We know that Clara Shrader married Isaac Henry Roberts, the son of William Roberts and Sarah (Christie) Roberts. The mystery is Eva Bennett.

Clara’s mother was Mary Ann (Bennett) Shrader. Could Eva be Mary Ann’s sister, and therefore Clara’s aunt? They look to be of similar ages, though it was possible within large families for young aunts and uncles to happen.

Another possibility is that since Eva’s last name is Bennett, she could be the daughter of a brother of Mary Ann (Bennett) Schrader. That would make Clara and Eva first cousins.

Finding siblings of Mary Ann Bennett has been unsuccessful thus far. Her parents were Harry Bennett and Elizabeth Basone per Mary Ann’s death certificate.

Just to add to the mystery, here is another photo that was in with the family collection. It is labeled, thankfully.

Charley Bennett, from the William Roberts Family Photo Collection.
Charley Bennett, from the William Roberts Family Photo Collection.

If you know any more than this small amount about Eva Bennett, Charley Bennett, or Mary Ann (Bennett) Shrader, please contact us using our form or leave a comment.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. William Roberts Family Photo Album.

 

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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 2013-2015 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.
 
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Sibling Saturday: John W. Roberts, George Lucas Roberts, and Isaac H. Roberts

This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series Lloyd Roberts Family Photo Collection
The sons of William Roberts and Sarah Christie Roberts, from left: Isaac H. Roberts, George L. Roberts standing, and John W. Roberts on right.
From left: Isaac H. Roberts, George L. Roberts standing, and John W. Roberts on right.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

The sons of William Roberts and Sarah Christie Roberts, from the William Roberts Family Photo Album.

George was eleven years older than his brother John, and fourteen years older than Isaac.

More to come on these Roberts families.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. William Roberts Family Photo Album.

 

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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.
 
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