Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL


Ancestor of Mary Ann Kaylor (my hubbies line)

WILLIAM P. ROBERTS - William P. Roberts is numbered among the substantial farmers of Sangamon county, owning a valuable tract of three hundred and forty acres of land adjoining Illiopolis. He makes his home on this place, giving his personal supervision to the management of his agricultural interests. The desirability of Illinois as a place of residence is indicated by the fact that so many of her native sons have continued to remain within her borders, becoming active factors in business life here. Among this number is Mr. Roberts, whose birth occurred in what is now Brown county, Illinois, January 23, 1831. His father, Norman Roberts, was born North Carolina, October 19, 1800. The grandfather, Joseph Roberts, was a native of Virginia and was of English ancestry. He removed with his family from the Old Dominion to North Carolina and thence to Kentucky. He remained in the latter state for a few years and then went to Gibson county, Indiana, where Norman Roberts grew to manhood. There he was married to Temperance Lockhart and they resided in Gibson county for a number of years, coming thence to Illinois in 1830. They settled first in what is now Brown county, but in the fall of 1831 they removed to Warwick county, Indiana, locating on a farm, where the death of Mrs. Roberts soon afterward occurred.

William P. Roberts, of this review, was reared upon a farm in Indiana, acquiring his education in the public schools there. When a young man be returned to Illinois, arriving, in Sangamon county on the 12th of February in 1852. Here he worked by the month for two years. For two weeks he was employed at splitting rails for his board and then secured a position as a farm laborer. Subsequently he managed to become the possessor of a breaking team, and engaged in breaking prairie for six years. It was thus that he got his start in life. On the expiration of that period be rented forty acres of land and commenced farming on his own account. In the fall of the same year, however, he secured employment on the construction of the old Western Railroad, which is now a part of the Wabash system, and the following year he again devoted his energies to breaking prairie.

On the 28th of January, 1858, Mr. Roberts was married to Miss Nancy E. Boyd, a native of Morgan county, Illinois. Prior to his marriage he had purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 5, Illiopolis township, and of this he retained eighty acres, upon which he built a home and then turned his attention to the development of a good farm. He sold one-half of his quarter section, but transformed the other half into a very desirable property, improved with good buildings, while his fields were placed under a high state of cultivation. As his financial resources increased he made other investments from time to time, and he now owns three hundred and forty acres, constituting a well-improved farm adjoining the corporate limits of Illiopolis. There he carried on agricultural pursuits from June 10, 1858, until November 10, 1902, and during that time success attended his efforts. He built substantial barns and sheds, erected a good residence, tiled and fenced his place and planted an orchard. In connection with the cultivation of the fields he also engaged in the raising and feeding of cattle, hogs and making more of a specialty, however, of hogs and cattle. He still gives his supervision to his farm and is accounted one of the enterprising agriculturists of this part of the county. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Roberts have been born five children who are yet living and four who have passed away. Those who survive are: Mary Ann, wife of William J. Kaylor, a farmer of Illiopolis township; Temperance, the wife of Alva Jefford, of Illiopolis; Ida Belle, at home; George H., who is married and resides on the old homestead; and Harvey C., who is married and follows farming near Illiopolis. Those who have passed away are: Joseph D., who died at the age of five years; Emma Frances, at the age of sixteen years; Ellen, at the age of eighteen; and one that died in infancy.

Politically Mr. Roberts is a stanch Democrat and his first presidential vote was cast for Pierce in 1852. He and his wife are members of the Christian church, belonging to Long Point church, in Macon county. He has been a resident of Sangamon county during the greater part of his life and is numbered among its active and successful farmers, for by his own labor and enterprise he has accumulated a large and valuable property and good home. He is an honest man who has the confidence and good will of all who know him.

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