ROBERTS, WILLIAM P. - In these days of high land values, a man is wealthy who owns plenty of Sangamon County rich acreage, and when it has been accumulated through his own individual effort, he can well afford to retire and live free from the cares of business during his declining years. Illiopolis is the home of a number of retired farmers of this class, among whom is William P. Roberts. He was born in Schuyler County, Ill., January 23, 1831, a son of Norman and Temperance (Lockhart) Roberts, born in South Carolina, October 19, 1800, and Washington County, Ky., November 17, 1796, respectively. The grandfather, Joseph Roberts was born in Virginia, but after several changes, died in Gibson County, Ind., being accidentally killed by a gun shot.
Norman Roberts went in boyhood from South Carolina to Georgia, thence to Kentucky and from there to Indiana. He traded to some extent on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, going as far as New Orleans, but eventually went to Schuyler County in 1830, and from there to Warrie County, Ind., in 1831. In 1852, he came to Sangamon County to engage in farming. Finally he went to Macon County, Ill., where he died, near Niantic, in 1890. He was twice married, the first ceremony occurring June 13, 1821, and his first wife, Temperance Lockhart, bore him seven children of whom William P. Roberts was one. His second wife, whom he married September 18, 1840, was Mrs. Orpha (Whittinghill) Lockhart. To this union four children were born. Her husband, James Lockhart, was a brother of the first Mrs. Roberts. The second Mrs. Roberts died February 6, 1870, aged sixty-three years, seven months and twenty-nine days.
William P. Roberts went to the typical log school of his period, sitting on slab benches, and laboring under the usual number of disadvantages incident to that period, but he managed to lay a good foundation for a solid education that has been of practical value to him. Coming to Sangamon County with his father, he has made it his home ever since, and was a farmer of whom the State may be well proud. Until 1902 he operated his fine 340 acre farm in Illiopolis Township, but in that year he retired still owning his farm, which is just a few feet east of the town line of Illiopolis.
On January 28, 1858, Mr. Roberts was united in marriage by Rev. Nathaniel G. Averitt, in Macon County, Ill., to Nancy E. Boyd, born in Morgan County, Ill., March 12, 1841. Her father became one of the early settlers of Macon County, later removing to Missouri, he being Milton Boyd, and his wife bore the name of Polly Bobbitt before her marriage to him. Mr. Boyd was born in Kentucky, October 15, 1809, while his wife was born in Missouri, August 6, 1813. Leaving Missouri, Mr. Boyd came to Sangamon County, but his last days were spent in southwestern Missouri where he died, February 5, 1898.
Nine children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, five of whom survive: Mary A., wife of William J. Kaylor, living on a farm north of Illiopolis; Tampa Florence, wife of Alva Jeffords a farmer of Illiopolis Township; Ida B., wife of Edward Baker, a farmer of Illiopolis Township; George H., a farmer of the same township, as is Harvey C., who also conducts the Farmer's Elevator Co. There are nineteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren in the family.
Mr. Roberts is a consistent member of the Christian Church to which he accords a hearty support. As a Democrat, he has conscientiously cast his vote, and given his support to those measures which he believed were for the best interests of his community. All his life Mr. Roberts has endeavored to live according to his religious creed and is a true Christian man, hard-working and thrifty, who knows how to save his money and invest it profitably. Such sound, practical farmers as he has been, are a welcome addition to any community, and his success not only reflects credit on him, but advances the standing of his locality, and encourages others to follow his example, and by earnest endeavor place themselves beyond the fear of poverty in their old age.