James B. Roberts

JAMES B. ROBERTS, now living retired at Denton, was a pioneer in that section of Doniphan County, and his life, which has been prolonged to four score, has been one of well directed and honorable effort throughout. He is a veteran of the great war between the states, and Mrs. Roberts is conspicuous among Kansas women for the part she has taken officially and otherwise in the Woman's Relief Corps.

Mr. Roberts was born at Remsen in Oneida County, New York, November 7, 1837. His father, Rees Roberts, was born in Wales in 1805. When a young man he came to America, locating first near Utica and afterwards at Remsen in Oneida County. By trade he was a tinsmith and he followed that until 1849. In that year he removed to Columbus, Ohio, and was a farmer in that section until his death in 1872. In politics he became identified with the republican party at its organization in 1856 and steadily voted with it the rest of his life In religious matters he was a member of the Presbyterian Church. Rees Roberts married Esther James, who was born in New York City in 1807 and died near Columbus, Ohio, in 1875. They were the parents of eight children: Mary, Louisa, Sarah, all deceased; James B.; George W., a farmer at Denton, Kansas; Daniel, a farmer near Clearwater in Sumner County, Kansas; William, who died young; and Albert, also deceased.

James B. Roberts received his early education in the rural schools of Oneida County, New York, at Remsen, and being twelve years of age when his parents removed to Columbus, Ohio, he attended school there until his education was considered sufficient for his means. Mr. Roberts lived at home with his parents until he was thirty-three years, but in the meantime had enlisted and served and made an enviable record as a soldier. He went to the front in August, 1861, in the Thirtieth Ohio Infantry. His military record includes participation in the battles of Carnifax Ferry, South Mountain, the second battle of Bull Run, and concluded with the grim and bloody battle of Antietam, where his shin bone was shattered by a bullet and he was incapacitated for further active duty. He was mustered out and granted his honorable discharge on February 9, 1863.

Mr. Roberts has lived in Kansas since 1870. In that year he located at the present site of the Town of Denton, and developed a farm from the wilderness prairie and steadily cultivated and managed his place until 1908, when, having acquired a sufficiency for all his needs, he retired into Denton. In that town he owns a modern residence which was built in 1909 and also has two farms two miles west of Denton, each containing 160 acres. In politics Mr. Roberts is a loyal republican.

He married Almira McClellan. Mrs. Roberts was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, November 26, 1850. Her father, William McClellan, was born in Greene County, Pennsylvania, in 1820 and died in Guernsey County, Ohio, in 1892. After being reared to manhood in his native county he removed to Guernsey County, was married there, and followed his trade as gunsmith for many years. He was a democrat and an active supporter of the Christian Church. William McClellan married Jane Ray, who was born near Wheeling in what is now the State of West Virginia in 1826, a daughter of Edward Ray, who was brought from Ireland when two years of age and spent most of his life as a pioneer farmer in Guernsey County, Ohio. Mrs. William McClellan died at Cromwell, Indiana, in 1875. Her children were: Martha J., deceased; Mrs. James Roberts; Mrs. Ella Ramsey who lives at Columbus, Ohio, Eva, deceased, and James C., a farmer near Fredericktown, Missouri.

Mrs. Roberts was educated in the public schools of Albion, Indiana, where she graduated from high school and prior to her marriage taught for five years in Noble County, Indiana. For many years she has been one of the prominent members of the Woman's Relief Corps. She attained the signal honor of having been elected a member of the State Executive Board for one year, receiving 153 out of the 191 votes cast. She was appointed a number of times as delegate to state encampments, and in 1900 was elected a delegate from the First Congressional District of Kansas to the National Encampment in Chicago. Mrs. Roberts served eleven years as president of the Severance Chapter of the Woman's Relief Corps and for four years was its secretary and treasurer. She is also a member of the Royal Neighbors and has long been active in the Christian Church, being president of the Ladies' Aid Society of that church.

Mr. and Mrs. Roberts had a family of seven children: Herby, the oldest, dying at the age of sixteen months; Fannie is the wife of Phil Myers, a farmer at Apache, Oklahoma; Leonard is a banker at Powhattan, Kansas; William S., who died in June, 1916, was a farmer at Denton; Gertrude married Sherman Postle, a farmer at Edmond, Oklahoma; Norman is on the old homestead farm at Denton; George, the youngest of the family, is cashier and owner of a controlling interest in the Denton Bank.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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