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History of Adair
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.


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John Roberts.

Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts

Farming interests in Harrison township find a well known and worthy representative in John Roberts, who is living on section 26.  He was born in Indiana on the 11th of May, 1836, his parents being James and Nancy (Dickens) Roberts, both of whom were natives of Kentucky.  They were probably married in that state and subsequently removed to Indiana, where they remained until 1854, when they started across the country with two yoke of oxen and a two horse team, with Kansas as their destination.  On reaching Nodaway county, Missouri, however, the wife and mother died and the emigrant train, consisting of the father and his family, three uncles and a brother-in-law, with their families, diverted their course and came north into Iowa with the intention of going to Boone county.  On reaching Adair county, however, they decided to locate here and the five families took up their abode in Harrison township, where James Roberts spent his remaining days, passing away at the ripe old age of eighty-two years.

John Roberts was a youth of eighteen when the family came to Adair county.  He had attended the district schools of Indiana and he had not only learned from books but had also gained many valuable lessons from the school of experience.  After coming to Iowa he assisted in the development and improvement of the home farm, remaining with his father up to the time of his marriage, which was celebrated September 20, 1860, Miss Emily McDonald becoming his wife.  The young couple began their domestic life upon a tract of rented land and for about five years he cultivated the farm upon which he now resides.  At the end of that time he bought eighty acres in Grand River township, on which he continued to make his home for nineteen years and which he still owns, having in the meantime brought it to a high state of development and improvement.  In 1888 he removed to his present place in Harrison township.  This farm of two hundred acres belongs to his wife and was entered from the government by her father, William McDonald, who came to Adair county from Missouri in 1851, being the first settler in this section of the country, his nearest neighbor at that time being ten miles distant.  William McDonald lived and died in the home which is now occupied by Mr. Roberts, passing away in his eighty-third year.  This house is the original log cabin built by Mr. McDonald when he came to the county and is the oldest residence in the county.  It bears little resemblance to the original building, however, for it has been weather boarded and various additions have been made, transforming it into a more modern home.  Mrs. is probably the oldest resident in the county in point of continuous residence here.

To Mr. and Mrs. Roberts have been born seven children:  James W., who follows farming in Grand River township;  Charles F., of Clay county, South Dakota;  Leonard, who farms in Grand River township;  Mary Almina, the wife of Elmer Beeman, of Harrison township;  Thomas A., a resident of Morton county, North Dakota;  Josiah B., who lives in Guthrie county, Iowa;  and John I., at home.

Mr. Roberts votes with the republican party.  He came to his majority about the time the party was formed and he has always been an advocate of its principles.  He served for several years as township trustee and at an earl period was school director.  He and his wife are of the Christian faith but advanced age has made it almost impossible for them to drive to town to attend worship.  They have long been highly esteemed residents of the community---people of genuine worth whose good qualities of heart and mind have endeared them to many.  Mr. Roberts is now in the eightieth year of his age and such has been the course that he has followed that he can look back over the past without regret and forward to the future without fear.



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