PAST AND PRESENT
OF
MENARD COUNTY, ILLINOIS - 1905

Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company


Transcribed by: Laurie K. Engel

Page 229

GEORGE C. ROBERTS, who is filling in the position of postmaster at Greenview and is also engaged in dealing in harness and saddlery there, was born in Athens, Illinois, February 3, 1858, his parents being James T. and Alvira (Hartwell) Roberts. The father was born November 28, 1832, in Winchester, Virginia, and lost his father when but five years of age. When a youth of 10 years he became a resident of Athens, Illinois, where he attended school for about five years and at the age of fifteen he was taken to the Mexican war as a bugler by his uncle, J. B. Backenstos. After seven months' service he was sent home with two officers, Captain Bradford and Lieutenant Barrett. Mr. Roberts did not return to the scene of conflict, but soon afterward began learning the blacksmith's trade, in which he became an excellent workman, following that pursuit continuously until the country became involved in civil war. On the 6th of August, 1862, he enlisted as a member of Company K, One Hundred and Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, and participated in a number of very important engagements, including the battles of Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Spring Hill, the two battles of Nashville, Franklin, Resaca, Tunell Hill, Buzzard's Roost and Dalton. Just after the battle of Chickamauga there was an order sent to his captain to have the regiment fall in line and a call was issued for a volunteer to go back to Bridgeport, Tennessee, a distance of twenty-five miles, for the pay rolls, which were in the desk of the company. No member of the regiment volunteered and the officers would not detail a man. Mr. Roberts then asked the captain what the call had been made for, and when told he offered to go if they would furnish him a horse. He started that day and at night he was on top of the mountain. Seeing a cabin, he made his way to it and found that it contained an old couple, man and wife, who were Union people. He gave them his rations and asked them to prepare supper for him. He then started in search for food for his horse. The old man sent him a mile and a half to get corn and told him the rebel cavalry were in that locality each day and to be on the lookout. While Mr. Roberts was on one side of the corncrib five rebel cavalry men were on the other side, and while they were getting their corn he made his escape by crawling through the grass on his hands and knees for a distance of two hundred yards. However, he returned to the cabin in safety and there partook of his supper, which was prepared of cold coon, hardtack and coffee. The old couple offered him a bed at night, but he preferred to sleep in the woods and the next morning he started again on his journey. He reached the foot of the mountain at twelve o'clock and at Sequasiaville he saw a general and other officers at a cabin door. The general hailed him and asked him where he was going, and on replying to the question he was requested to show his pass. He was there delayed over a day and a half until the general found out where he had come from and such information concerning the road, for they were on their way to the camp which Mr. Roberts had left and had been misdirected. General Longstreet and his men were just across the river, and when Mr. Roberts rode along the mountain side he had to keep his horse between the rebel troops and himself. His horse was shot once, but he continued on his way. He traveled the remainder of that day and at night arrived at Bridgeport, where he camped with seven invalid Union men. The next morning he overhauled the desk, procured the papers that were wanted and he also found the company's flag which he put in his knapsack. He then started to return to camp, slept in the woods that night and the next day about three o'clock reached his destination. He was discharged as a drum major and the flag which he brought back was given to him and is still in his possession. He was honorably discharged June 11, 1865, at Camp Harker, Tennessee, following the close of hostilities, and then returned to Athens, Illinois, where he again engaged in blacksmithing. He followed that pursuit there until December, 1868, when he came to Greenview and established a blacksmith shop, which he conducted successfully until failing health caused him to retire from the business in 1884. In early manhood he had married Miss Alvira Hartwell, who was born in Vigo county, Indiana, July 21, 1834. They had three children: Maria Ann, now the wife of I. H. Primm, of Mason City, Illinois; Marcie E., who married Thomas Brewer, and died February 22, 1898; and George C. The parents are members of the Christian church and they reside at Greenview, where they have many warm friends.

George C. Roberts was educated in the schools of Greenview and at the age of sixteen years began learning the harness-maker's trade, which he followed as an employee until 1881. In that year he began business for himself, a few doors north of his present location, and he has since conducted harness and saddlery making, securing a good patronage, which makes his business profitable. In December, 1990, he was appointed postmaster of Greenview and discharged his duties of that office in connection with his commercial interests. He has likewise been a member of the town board and the school board, and in his political affiliation he is a stanch Republican, never failing to exercise his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of that party.

On the 10th of March, 1881, Mr. Roberts was united in marriage to Miss Hattie E. Cleveland, a daughter of Charles and Ann Wood Cleveland, the former a native of Vermont and the latter of Illinois, but both are now deceased. Unto Mr. And Mrs. Roberts have been born nine children: Etta May, born March 13, 1882, died April 2, 1891; Pearl E. and Earl E., twins, born July 19, 1884, died on the 13th and 16th of August, 1885, respectively; Herschel, born April 11, 1885, is in partnership with his father in the harness business; Harry F., born August26, 1887, is at home; Fern, born December 21, 1891, James T., born March 30, 1893, Dorothy Marie, born January 14, 1899, and Ann Louise, born April 2, 1902, are all home.

Mr. and Mrs. Roberts hold membership in the Christian church and are deeply interested in all that pertains to the moral as well as the material development of their county. Fraternally Mr. Roberts is connected with the Modern Woodmen camp, No. 178; with Greenville lodge, No. 653, A. F. & A. M.; and also the Fraternal Life Reserve. He has spent his entire life in this part of the state and has become a substantial business man of Greenview, his success being largely due to the fact that he has continuously engaged in the business in which a young tradesman he embarked, gaining a comprehensive knowledge thereof, which resulted in excellent workmanship and secured a liberal patronage.


1905 Bio. Index

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