Memorial and Biographical Record and Illustrated Compendium of Biography
containing a compendium of local biography including biographical sketches of hundreds of prominent old settlers and representative citizens of Butler, Polk, Seward, York and Fillmore Counties, Nebraska.
Geo. A. Ogle & Co, Chicago, 1899.
John Roberts, deceased, was numbered among the honored pioneers of Nebraska, who located in Seward county when this locality was a wild and unimproved region. In the work of development he took an active and prominent part and aided in opening up the country to civilization. As the years passed by he faithfully performed his duties of citizenship and his interest in the welfare and progress of the community never abated. Becoming widely and favorably known he made many friends, and his death was a loss to the entire community.
Mr. Roberts was born in Henry county, Kentucky, November 29, 1813, a son of John and Catherine (Lovinggood) Roberts, farming people, who were natives of Virginia and of German descent. Our subject's grandmother bore the maiden name of Ann Plank. The family were among the first settlers of Kentucky, and there the parents of our subject continued to make their home until 1835, when they removed to Fulton county, Illinois, where the father died at the age of eighty-one years, the mother at the age of seventy-two, honored and respected by all who knew them. In their family were nine children, four sons and five daughters.
In his native state John Roberts spent his boyhood and youth, acquiring his literary education in its common schools. In 1835 he accompanied his parents on their removal to Fulton county, Ill., where he engaged in farming for some years, but in 1866 he came to Seward county, Nebraska, and took up a homestead, a part of which is now within the corporate limits of the city of Seward. He assisted in the erection of the first building in that place, and also platted and sold what is now known as Roberts' addition to Seward. He took a leading and active part in its up building and prosperity, and owned many of its best business blocks. He was also one of the promoters of the Oatmeal Mills, the German Lutheran College and many other enterprises which tended to advance the interests of the city.
In 1836 Mr. Roberts was united in marriage with Miss Susan Hall, a native of Franklin county, Illinois, and a daughter of John and Prudence (McFarland) Hall, who were born in Georgia and also died in Illinois. Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, namely: Lucy J.; John N.; Mary, deceased; Susan; Jasper, deceased; Prudence; James F.; Marion F.; Laura I.; and Douglas H.
Mr. Roberts departed this life December 2, 1897, and in his death the community felt that it had lost one of its most valued and useful citizens. Politically he was a supporter of the Democratic party, and he was honored with a number of local offices in his city. As a business man he was honorable and reliable, and due success was not denied him. Religiously he was for many years an active and prominent member of the Hardshell Baptist church, in which he served as an exhorter both in Illinois and Nebraska, and in 1843 he was ordained to the ministry, after which he engaged in preaching to some extent, and was always an untiring worker in the Master's vineyard. He succeeded in accumulating a handsome property, and left to his family about six hundred acres of farm land besides city property. The family is one of prominence, occupying an enviable position in social circles.