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Missouri and Arkansas Roberts/Robbirds/Robirds
Posted by: Dan Robirds (ID *****8912) Date: August 24, 2008 at 14:13:30
  of 11

Regarding the previous messages posted, some of this information is correct and can be proven, parts of it are wrong, much of the detail information listed with this family does not apply.

William Roberts married Ann Vandergriff - I have yet to see William's parents proven, though there are several claims, the listed families no doubt being related. Family legend is that William had a brother named Jacob in the Revolutionary War supposedly the namesake oof William's son Jacob, however Ann's father was named Jacob and it is an oft used name in the VANDERGRIFF family. I have yet to find any additional information on Ann Vandergriff herself, but their marriage is confirmed by the close association between these Roberts and the Vandergriff families for the next 50+ years.

1796 - Jacob Vandergriff (father of Ann) and sons listed in court records for Carter County, Tennessee - newly created from the western part of Washington County, NC at the time Tennessee became a state.

1803 - marrige record in Grainger County for a William Roberts, unconfirmed if this is the right William.

1808 - Grainger County court records list William Roberts, Leonard Vandergriff and John Hunter building a road to Powder Springs Gap. Leonard Vandergriff married Sally Roberts 1804 in Grainger County, John Hunter bondsman. Sally is listed by some to be William's sister, the age is totally wrong for this, she is probably he and Ann's oldest child. Other records clearly suggest that they lived on the north side of Clinch Mountain near Powder Springs.

1828 - Jacob and Sarah VANDERGRIFF (Ann's parents) die in Anderson Co., Tennessee

1830 - The only proven sons (so far known to me) of Ann and William Roberts are Jacob Roberts (wife: Elizabeth Grove(s)) and William A. Roberts (wife: Jane Bunch) listed in Anderson County near their Vandergriff relatives. There is another Roberts family of no known relation already in the county: Collins Roberts (founded Robertsville) also connected to adjacent Roane Co.

1832 - William Roberts applies for his Revolutionary War pension in Hamilton County, witnessed by Gilbert Vandergriff (should be the Gilbert that was his brother-in-law)

1836 - Land sale to Jacob Roberts in Hamilton County, confirmed to be in the Falling Water/Roberts mill area. Jacob also on tax list for 1836 and 1837. Jacob's first wife dies about this time.

1840 - There are two different Roberts families in Hamilton County, apparently unrelated. This family listed on pages 147-148 of the census (Falling Water/Roberts Mill)including:
William Roberts (Jane Bunch and their three children, unknown male same age as William)
Jacob Roberts
David Bunch listed next to Jacob Roberts should be husband of Jacob's daughter Lucy, he should be Jane Bunch's brother)
C. Roberts - Caswell, son of Jacob
William Roberts - son of Jacob

William Roberts would be too old by now to show up on a tax list, he seems to be shy about showing on any census and is presumed to be living with one of his children.

About 1841 - William Roberts, sons Jacob and William, Garret Vandergriff (Williams brother-in-law), Joel Hall and Uriah Gann (both married to Vandergriffs) and most of their extended families moved to Missouri.

1842 - William Roberts pension transferred to Greene County. (Part of Greene County became Christian COunty were Jacob settled)

In the 1950s, both sides of the family agreed that William died on his son William's farm on the Big Piney River, near Cabool, Texas County, Missouri but could not agree on the year. It is claimed that William received his last pension payment in 1846 and he is not listed on the 1850 census suggesting he probably died about 1847-1849 close to 90 years old.

In addition to the Sally Roberts previously mentioned, there is a good possibility the following may be additional children of William Roberts or are otherwise closely related:

Ninyon Roberts born 1793 - Ninion listed in 1830 census for Anderson County but not near known Roberts or Vandergriffs. 1836: Jacob Roberts witnesses land sale to Ninion Roberts, four months after Jacob buys his land from one of the same sellers 1837: Nineon on tax list for Falling Waters district with Jacob Roberts 1840: Listed as "H" Roberts on census in Falling Waters area near known Roberts and Vandergriffs 1850: Still in Falling Waters/Roberts Mill area, sons Moses and Emerson listed either side.

Anderson Roberts born 1795 - listed in 1860 census for Hamilton County but not near known Roberts or Vandergriffs 1870: Widow Lavinia and children listed near Emerson Roberts in Falling Waters/Roberts Mill area.

Joseph Roberts born 1800-1810 - listed 1840 next to David Bunch and Jacob Roberts. Note: This is not the same Joseph Roberts that is later in Christian County, MO.

John Roberts born 1800-1810 - listed in 1830 census for Anderson County near Jacob and William Roberts.

Unknown assumed - probable daughters married in Grainger, Knox or Anderson counties.

(It is claimed that there was a Harvey Roberts, also a son, that went with the family to Missouri. This appears to be a corruption (possibly of modern times) of the story of the Joel Hall wagon train. There was a Harvey Burkhart that was a son-in-law of Jacob Roberts that did leave Hamilton County for Missouri. The "H" Roberts on the 1840 census claimed to be Harvey is actually Ninyon Roberts, supported by Ninyon being on the 1837 tax list and a known land owner.)


Some of the records for Jacob ROBERTS (possibly including his pension and will) are spelled ROBERDS, apprently this is an anomaly and all known descendents of Jacob spell their name ROBERTS.

Jacob's brother William A. ROBERTS line from Texas County, Missouri and Boone County, Arkansas is where the name changes occur. The middle initial for William A. ROBERTS (also nicknamed "Humpy") comes from the 1860 census where he is listed as Wm A to differntiate him from his son Wm M listed next. There is nothing to indicate he is a "Junior" to his father William ROBERTS, since middle names were not in general use before the Revoltionary War except among the well-to-do. The first indication of the change in spelling are several land transactions in 1850 Texas county to William ROBBIRDS, though the 1850, 1860 census and all Civil War era records spell the name ROBERTS. After the Civil War, the spelling change was in effect but has not remained consistent.

William A. ROBERTS/ROBBIRDS and Jane BUNCH are only known to have had three children:

William Mattison ("Billy" or "Bill")
James David ("Davey" or "Dave")
Eliza Jane

William Mattison ROBIRDS born 23 Oct 1834 in either Anderson or Hamilton Co., TN. Married (1) to "Franky" (Frances?) Elizabeth HENDRICKS (HENDRIX?) about 1834 probably in Texas Co., MO. Children:

1. William Harrison ROBIRDS born 20 Sep 1855
2. James Mattison ROBBIRDS born 13 Mar 1857 (only one to keep ROBBIRDS spelling in this generation but only had daughters)
3. Sampson David ROBERTS born 1 Jun 1858 (married first cousin Sarah Margaret, reverted to ROBERTS spelling in later years)
4. Mary Jane born 2 April 1860
5. Price (son)
Sometime soon after his birth, Elizabeth and her son Price both died somewhere in Arkansas or Missouri during the Civil War.

married (2) 31 Jul 1864 in Iron Co., MO to Martha Clementine FLOWERS; soon divorced; no record of any surviving child found

married (3) 28 May 1868 Martha Ann (or Joanne) ELMORE (DAVIS). Family history claims his third wife was the "widow DAVIS" and his next wife was Martha Joanne ELMORE, it is now known they are the same person. Martha was the daughter of George Washington "Rory" ELMORE and may have been the widow of neighbor Green C. DAVIS claimed to have been killed in the Civil War. The 1870 census for Texas County shows a Louisa J ELMORE (her sister?) and a Laura M. DAVIS age 4 (niece? daughter?) also in their household. Children:

6. George Franklin ROBIRDS born 21 Mar 1869 - known as "Frank" in the family, later as "George"
7. Thomas Henry "Tom" ROBIRDS born 22 Aug 1870
8. Cordelia born about 1872 died about 1886
9. Elizabeth A. "Liz" born 9 Aug 1876 - two marriages - no known surviving children
10. Jesse A. born 9 Aug 1876 died young after 1880
11. Charles Monroe ROBIRDS born 1 May 1878 (my g-grandfather)
12. John Michael "Mike" ROBIRDS born Feb 1880 died of croup 1 Nov 1883, listed on the 1880 census as Nicholas
13. Emor Josephine born 1 Oct 1883, died young

Martha died of "consumption" (TB) 31 Jan 1897 probably near Halfway, Polk Co., MO.

married (4) to a Catherine Jane who survived him when he died in 14 Nov 1900 Elm Springs, Washington Co., AR. All William Mattison ROBIRDS children, except Price, should have been born on the Big Piney River near Cabool, Texas Co., MO.

James David ROBBIRDS born 8 May 1837 in Anderson or Hamilton Co., Tennessee married Nancy Jane BELL about 1855 probably in Texas Co., MO. They had the following children (should have been born on the Big Piney River, near Cabool, Texas Co., MO):

1. Eliza Jane "Lidy" born 11 May 1856
2. Rose Ann Malinda born about 1857
3. Mary born about 1859?
4. Sarah Margaret born 5 Nov 1861 (married William David ROBERTS)
5. Missouri Ann "Curl" born about 1863?

(The following children were born after the Civil War near Lead Hill, Boone Co., Arkansas:)
6. John W. ROBBIRDS born and died 26 Mar 1867 buried ROBBIRDS cemetery
7. William Harrison ROBIRDS born 13 Sep 1869
8. Emma "Em" born 24 Jun 1872
9. Victoria born 27 Dec 1874

James David died 10 Nov 1908; wife Nancy 28 Jan 1909; buried ROBBIRDS cemetery with his mother Jane (BUNCH) ROBBIRDS.

The above information is based on the current best information available to me. A substantial amount of information comes from a late 1950s book by William David ROBERTS, son of Sampson David and Sarah Margaret ROBERTS; contributions from other researchers and cousins, family bible, census and other various records.

When known, the last known used spelling of the surname has been used, it appears that ROBIRDS was not used until after the Civil War. Note that this ROBBIRDS name has not been found to exist in current day for this family, the current ROBBIRDS family originates in Florida and is of no known relation. There are also several additional ROBIRDS families that are of no known relation.

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