A while back, I compared select tax records against U. S. federal census records for male adult Roberts living in Jackson County, Georgia. The research described in that post is part of my research into the natal family of James R. Roberts, my great-great-great grandfather, whose ancestry is a brick wall I’ve been trying to knock down for years.
Below is an outline of what I’ve gathered to date, so that other Roberts researchers can see how I think part of James’ family might fit together. I want to emphasize that my research is not complete, and much of what follows cannot be considered as proof or even evidence; in other words, this is the direction in which the records accumulated thus far seem to be leading. Please bear that in mind while reading this post.
James R. Roberts was born 15 April 1828 and died 30 November 1891.1 He probably lived his entire life in Jackson County, Georgia. James married first on 11 January 1853 in Jackson County to Mary A. Callahan.2 He married second on 25 January 1872 in Jackson County to Nannie E. Street.3
James died intestate. His son Alsa Roberts (my great-great grandfather) was appointed administrator to the estate on 1 February 1892.4 While settling the estate, Alsa paid several debts, including those his father owed to Rachael Garner and Jake Cheatham, which were described in vouchers 12 and 13.5 Voucher 13 noted that Jake received payment for “the above two accounts” which totaled the amounts owed to both Rachael and Jake.
Rachael was at that time the widow of James Monroe Garner, whom she married on 29 April 1852 in Jackson County as Rachel Roberts.6 Jake Cheatham was likely Rachael’s son-in-law, Jacob B. Cheatham, husband to Rachael’s daughter, Sarah Ella Garner.7
Rachael’s recorded ages place her birth between about 1814 and 1823.8 Like my great-great-great grandfather James, I have not been able to find Rachael in 1850. Her residence after that, her maiden name, and her association with James make her a candidate to be a relative. Given her age, it’s possible she may be James’ elder sister.
A second possible sister was enumerated with James’ daughters Mary E., Martha F., and Winney A. in the 1880 federal census as Elizzie Robberts, the girls’ “Ant.” She was 48, single, and born in Georgia.9
In the 1870 federal census, James and his family were enumerated next door to M. C. Roberts, a 69-year old female whose household included Elizabeth Roberts, age 35.10
I could not find an Elizabeth Roberts of a similar age in the 1860 federal census, but in 1850, an Elizabeth Roberts, age 18 and born in Georgia, was enumerated in the household of Lewis Roberts, a 60-year old farmer who was born in South Carolina. This household also included Margarett Roberts, age 48 and born in SC; Andrew Bridges, age 26, born in SC; Martha Bridges, age 25, born in SC; Margaret J. Bridges, age 4, born in GA; and Lewis C. Bridges, age 1, born in GA.11
Lewis Roberts died intestate before 13 July 1867, when his entire estate, including 40 acres of land, was set aside for the use of his widow, Margaret.12 Lewis and “Margarett” were married 17 April 1842 in Jackson County. Her surname was possibly Savoy, Levay, or Lowry. (I had a hard time making it out.)13 Lewis married 7 January 1827, also in Jackson County, to Mary Adare.14
In 1830, Lewis headed a household of three females: one under five years of age, one of 30 and under 40, and one of 60 and under 70. Presumably, his wife Mary was the female aged between 30 and 40.15 In 1840, his household consisted only of himself and a young girl aged between five and ten years.16
In that year, Lewis was enumerated on the line below Nancy Roberts. On 5 November 1838, a Nancy Roberts gave bond with David Roberts, John Roberts, and Stephen Roberts to assure her proper administration of the estate of Moses Roberts, deceased. It is likely that Nancy was Moses’ widow, and that David, John, and Stephen were close kin.17 I mention Nancy because in 1840 she headed a household with ten other members, including two young males who fell into the same age range as James and his (by family tradition) twin brother, William.18
What I’ve accumulated is a very thin trail leading from James to Rachael (maybe), and from James’ daughters to Elizabeth, who may have been a daughter of Lewis by his second (or third?) wife, Margaret, and then to another possible sister or step-sister, Martha, who used the name Martha Roberts when she married Andrew Bridges in 1844.19 Let’s suppose I’m correct and James, William, Rachel, Elizabeth, and Martha were all children of Lewis. Where were they in 1830 and 1840? Could some of those children have been living with Nancy in 1840? Were others children of Lewis’ wife Margaret?
And that’s assuming that there was only one Lewis Roberts in Jackson County during that time period, that I’ve connected Elizabeth correctly and she wasn’t, say, a widow who was incorrectly identified as single in 1880, and that I haven’t placed too much emphasis on Rachael’s appearance in the records of James’ estate.
It’s all very tenuous right now. You know what this family really needs? More research. Two records sets that I’d like to hit (and that I keep saying I’d like to hit but haven’t had time to actually, you know, hit) are the land and tax records. The latter especially should give me a better idea of which Roberts moved into the county when and how long they stayed, and the former might illuminate relationships for this bunch. I’d also like to go through the estate records for other Roberts.
Hey, it’s on my list!
* * * * *
1. James A. and Betty Ann Waddell Mathis, Jackson County, Georgia Cemetery Records (Danielsville, GA: Heritage Papers, 1980), 245. James was buried in Academy Baptist Church Cemetery. His marker gives the year of his death as 1890, but other records contradict this date. A notice of his death appeared in the 4 December 1891 issue of The Jackson Herald, and probate for his estate was not begun until that same month. It is therefore likely that he died in 1891, not 1890.
2. Jackson County, Georgia, Marriage Book 1, 1803 – 1860: 379; Probate Court, Jefferson.
3. Jackson County, Georgia, Marriage Record, 1869 – 1873: 34; Probate Court, Jefferson.
4. Jackson County, Georgia, Letters of Administration, 1873 – 1917: 234; Probate Court, Jefferson.
5. Jackson County, Georgia, Annual Returns Book 1, 1890 – 1898: 306; Probate Court, Jefferson.
6. Jackson Co., GA, Marriage Book 1, 1803 – 1860: 374.
7. Jackson Co., GA, Marriage Record, 1869 – 1873: 404, Jake Cheatham and Ella Garner, 1879. Jake (as Jacob B. Cheatham) and Ella (as Sarah E. Garner Cheatham) were buried in the Garner Family Cemetery near Rachel and her husband. See Mathis and Mathis, Jackson County, Georgia Cemetery Records, 287. See also 1860 U. S. census, Jackson County, Georgia, population schedule, Jefferson District, page 40, dwelling 282, family 282, James M. Garner household; digital image, Ancestry.com (accessed 16 January 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 128.
8. Mathis and Mathis, Jackson County, Georgia Cemetery Records, 287. Also 1860 U. S. census, Jackson Co., Ga., pop. sch., Jefferson Dist., p. 40, dwell. 282, fam. 282. Also 1870 U. S. census, Jackson County, Georgia, population schedule, Subdivision No. 71, page 83, dwelling 579, family 579; digital image, Ancestry.com (accessed 16 January 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 159. Also 1880 U. S. census, Jackson County, Georgia, population schedule, 285 G. M., page 29 (stamped page 619-A), enumeration district 58, dwelling 252, family 259; digital image, Ancestry.com (accessed 16 January 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 153.
9. 1880 U. S. census, Jackson County, Georgia, population schedule, 428 G. M., page 32, enumeration district 58, dwelling 276, family 283; digital image, Ancestry.com (accessed 16 January 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 153.
10. 1870 U. S. census, Jackson County, Georgia, population schedule, Subdivision No. 71, pages 56 – 57, dwelling 405, family 405, M. C. Roberts household; digital image, Ancestry.com (accessed 16 January 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 159.
11. 1850 U. S. census, Jackson County, Georgia, population schedule, Subdivision No. 45, pages 152 and 153, dwelling 1127, family 1127; digital image, Ancestry.com (accessed 16 January 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 74.
12. Jackson County, Georgia, Inventories and Appraisements Book D Pages 401 – 800, 1860 – 1868: 778; Probate Court, Jefferson.
13. Jackson Co., GA, Marriage Book 1, 1803 – 1860: 291.
14. Jackson Co., GA, Marriage Book 1, 1803 – 1860: 165
17. Jackson County, Georgia, Letters of Administration, 1818 – 1843: 230; Probate Court, Jefferson.
19. Jackson Co., GA, Marriage Book 1, 1803 – 1860: 304.