Jackson County

Biography - A Roberts

HON. A. H. ROBERTS, a prominent merchant and the ex-Mayor of Murphysboro, is one of the most enterprising and public-spirited citizens of this place. He is now a dealer in hardware and furniture, and also carries on the undertaking business. He was born in Jonesboro, Union County, Ill., April 13, 1844, and comes from an old Pennsylvania family of Scotch descent. His father, Joshua Roberts, was born near Painesville, Ohio, and in an early day emigrated to Union County, this stale. He was one of the first school teachers of that community, and for a time worked as a millwright. Afterward he engaged in the furniture business in Jonesboro, and at the time of its building, he was foreman of the Mt. Carbon Railroad. He married Caroline Cruse, a native of Union County, whither her father removed from North Carolina. The family was of German origin. Mr. Roberts died in 1866, but his widow is still living (1894), at the age of seventy years, and yet enjoys good health. She is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In the family were fourteen children, but only five sons and two daughters are now living.

Our subject, who is the eldest, was reared in Jonesboro, and was educated in its common schools. In 1862 he enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Ninth Illinois Infantry, and immediately went to the south. He participated in the siege of Vicksburg, the battle of Jackson and in other important engagements. For two and a-half years he never had a sick day, but during the last six months of his service he suffered much from ill health. He was sent to Jefferson Barracks, and when he had sufficiently recovered he went to the front again, but it was seven years before he had completely regained his health. He was mustered out at Springfield in June, 1865.

On his return, Mr. Roberts embarked in the furniture business with his father, who died in 1866. He then became sole proprietor, and in 1872 he removed his business to Murphysboro. He is a natural mechanic, and does fine work as a cabinetmaker. In 1883 he built his double brick store at the corner of Chestnut and Main Streets. It is 45x70 feet and two stories in height, with a basement. The first floor is occupied by hardware, stoves, tinware, etc., and the second floor by his furniture and undertaking shop. He also handles agricultural implements and does a fine business, receiving from the surrounding country a liberal patronage. He is a stockholder in the Murphysboro Milling Company, and was one of the organizers of the Southern Illinois Milling Company, of which he is now a stockholder and Director. He is also a Director in the building and loan association, and is serving as its Treasurer.

In 1873, Mr. Roberts wedded Miss Frances E. Sanders, and to them have been born six children: Ella M., Delia, Carrie C; Alex J. and Hamilton S. (twins), and Homer E. Mr. Roberts affiliates with the Democracy. While in Jonesboro he served as Alderman one term, and has been connected with the School Board of this place for six terms, serving a part of the time as its President. Socially, he is connected with the Masonic fraternity, the Odd Fellows' society, and Worthen Post, G. A. R. His wife belongs to the Lutheran Church. Mr. Roberts is also President of the Jackson County Lumber Company, and is a man of excellent business and executive ability, who has achieved a remarkable success in life.

Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, page 419.

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