Ancestor Bio – Elizabeth (Blackwell) Roberts

52 Ancestors – Week 2018-18
Roberts/Blackwell Line

By Don Taylor

IPhoto of Don Taylor with cat Nasi. recently saw a bumper sticker that said, “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History.”[1] With that in mind Elizabeth (Blackwell) Roberts must have been extremely “well behaved.” All of the records I have found only refer to Elizabeth, none of them are about Elizabeth. She was born in Western North Carolina, moved during the pioneer days to Tennessee as a child. She married in Tennessee and had sixteen children. She lived a full life dying at the age of 70.

Roberts Research 2018
Ancestor #96

List of Grandparents

When Elizabeth Blackwell was born, on 10 Sept 1796, George Washington was in his second term. She was born in Surry County, North Carolina, the fifth of nine children of David and Sarah (Harris) Blackwell.

The siblings of Elizabeth included:

  • Nancy Blackwell was born in 1779. She died before 1848 (Possibly in 1840.).
  • William Blackwell was born in 1781. He died in 1826.
  • Patsy Blackwell was born in 1783. She died before 1848 (Possibly 1840).
  • Richard Blackwell was born in 1783. He died in 1832.
  • Armestead Blackwell was born in 1794. He died before 1848.
  • Hugh Blackwell was born in 1803. He probably died before 1848
  • Dicy Blackwell was born in 1804. She died in 1880.
  • George W. Birth unknown; he died on 02 May 1840 in Tennessee, USA.
Surry County, North Carolina

Nothing is known of Elizabeth’s childhood. We know that her family moved from Surry County, North Carolina, to Roane County, Tennessee sometime before April 1816, when the twenty-year-old Elizabeth married twenty-one-year-old John Calvin Roberts in Poplar Creek, Roane County, Tennessee. John had served in Captain Chiles company of the Tennessee Militia during the war of 1812 and returned home after he mustered out on 1 May 1815. Fresh back from the war, the young couple settled down and started a family.

John and Elizabeth had sixteen children together, all of whom were born in Roane County, Tenn. (Death dates are either approximate or unconfirmed.)

Children of John Calvin and Elizabeth (Blackwell) Roberts

  • Calvin Roberts (b. 25 Dec 1816 – d. 1848).
  • Elias R. “Robbie” Roberts (b. 27 Oct 1818 – d. 1902).
  • David R. Roberts (b. 24 April 1820 -d. 1848).
  • Elijah Josiah Roberts (b. 10 Feb 1823 – d. 12 Nov 1868).
  • Elizabeth Roberts (b. 17 Nov 1823 – d. 1848.
  • George W. Roberts (b. 22 Nov 1824 – d, 1848.
  • Francis Marion “Jack” Roberts (b. 03 Dec – d. 1863).
  • John F. Roberts (b. 07 Oct 1827 -d. 1848).
  • Phillip Roberts (b. 31 May 1829 – d.1848).
  • Amanda Roberts (27 Apr 1831- 01 Oct 1917).
  • Hugh Roberts ( 24 Aug 1833—23 Apr 1916).
  • Asa Ellis Roberts (28 Feb 1835 – d. 05 Oct 1886.)
  • Robert Samuel Roberts (05 Jun 1837 – 08 Jun 1910)
  • Brazzel Roberts (20 May 1839 – 17 Feb 1877.
  • Rebecca Elizabeth Roberts (b. 21 Jan 1841- d. Between 1880 and 1900).
  • William C. Roberts (b. 19 Nov 1843 – d. after Jun 1850.)

Adulthood

1820 Census

I have not been successful finding John Calvin Roberts nor Elizabeth in the 1820 Census, nor have I been successful finding Elizabeth in any earlier census records.

1830 Census

John Calvin Roberts appeared in the census of 1830 at Roane Co., Tennessee, p. 55, line 18

  • Name:John Roberts
  • Home in 1830 – Roane, Tennessee
  • Free White – Males – Under 5: 2 –Francis (Age 4), John (2), & Philip (1)
  • Free White – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 – Elijah (7), George (5)
  • Free White – Males – 10 thru 14: 3 – Calvin (13), Elias (11), & David (10).
  • Free White – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 – John (Age 38).
  • Free White Persons – Females: 1 – 5 thru 9: – (Elizabeth (6)
  • Free White Persons – Females: – 30 thru 39: 1 – Presumed to be Elizabeth (Age 33).

Husband, wife and all known children are accounted for in the 1830 Census.

Elizabeth was mentioned in her father’s will dated 1842.[2]

1840 Census

  • Name: John Roberts
  • Home in 1840: Roane, Tennessee
  • Free White  – Males – Under 5:3  –  Asa (Age 5), Robert (2), 1837 Bazil (0)
  • Free White  – Males – 5 thru 9:1  – Hugh (6)
  • Free White  – Males – 10 thru 14:1 — Francis (14)[3]
  • Free White  – Males – 15 thru 19:2 — Elijah (17)  George (15)
  • Free White  – Males – 20 thru 29:2  — Elias (21) and either Calvin (23) or David (20)[4]
  • Free White  – Males – 40 thru 49:1 –  John (48)
  • Free White  – Females – 5 thru 9:1  –  Amanda (9)
  • Free White  – Females – 15 thru 19:1  –  Elizabeth (16)
  • Free White  – Females – 40 thru 49:1  – Presumed to be Elizabeth (Age 43)

It appears that three of the children died before 1840. They are John, born 1827, Philip born 1829, and either David, born 1820, or Calvin, Born 1816)

1850 Census

The 1850 Census is the first census that provides the names of people besides the head of the household. The census reports John’s household consists of the following:

  • John Roberts                        55
  • Elizabeth Roberts             53
  • Hughy Roberts                    17
  • Acy Roberts                          15
  • Robert S Roberts                13
  • Bazel Roberts                      11
  • Rebecca Roberts                10
  • William Roberts                  9
  • Elizabeth Nelson[5]        23

The 1850 Census indicates that Elizabeth could not read nor write.

1860 Census

The 1860 Census finds John as the head of the household living with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Rebecca in Kingston, North Carolina.

Elizabeth died on 5 July 1867, “with the rhumatisms settled on her lung.” She is buried in the Roberts Cemetery, in Roane County, Tennessee.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Research who Elizabeth Nelson in the 1850 Census for John Roberts was and what her relationship is.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–


Sources

  • 1830 Census (A) (NARA), Ancestry.Com, 1830 Census – John Roberts – Roane, Tennesee (A). 1830; Census Place: Roane, Tennessee; Series: M19; Roll: 180; Page: 55; Family History Library Film: 0024538.
  • 1840 Census (A) (NARA), Ancestry.Com, 1840 Census – John Roberts – Roane, Tennessee (A). 1840; Census Place: Roane, Tennessee; Roll: 535; Page: 70; Image: 1022; Family History Library Film: 0024549.
  • 1850 Census (FS), Family Search, John Roberts – Roane, Tennessee – House Number 1415. Accessed: 6 August 2016.
  • 1860 Census (A) (NARA), Ancestry.Com, 1860 Census – John Roberts – 14th District, Roane, TN – Post Office Kingston.
  • Chris H. Bailey, Descendants of David Blackwell, Files (Personal), 6 – Elizabeth Blackwell. Pages 7, 8, and 9.
  • Find a Grave, Find a Grave, Elizabeth Blackwell Roberts – Memorial #147852443. Accessed 13 Feb 2017 . https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=147852443.
  • Gregory Vaut, Ancestors of Alexandra Catlin Vaut, Files (Personal), Elizabeth Blackwell #78189. Accessed 13 Feb 2017. http://www.acvancestors.com/g2/p2607.htm#i78189.
  • Roberts, S. E., Roberts families of Roane County, Tennessee, 1794-1969, Copy, John C. Roberts – Page 226 thru Page 229. Roberts, Snyder. E. (1968). Roberts families of Roane County, Tennessee, 1794-1969. Oliver Springs? Tenn.
  • WorldCat: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/608494916
  • Index Only: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89064848997.
  • Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002, Ancestry.Com, John Roberts & Elizabeth Blackwel. Accessed 13 Feb 2017.
  • Tennessee, Compiled Marriages, 1784-1825, Ancestry.Com No Image – John Roberts & Elizabeth Blackwell – Marriage Date: 3 March 1816. Accessed 13 Feb 2017.

ENDNOTES

[1] Attributed to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, See: Chicago Now – http://www.chicagonow.com/listing-beyond-forty/2015/07/who-said-well-behaved-women-seldom-make-history/

[2] I will write more about Elizabeth’s share in her father’s will when I write about David Blackwell (1757-1842)

Birth, Marriage & Death Collection[3] There were three male children that should have been 11 to 14 years of age that do not seem to appear in the 1840 Census Record. John, Age 12 and Philip, Age 11, both died before 1848; from this census it appears they died before 1840.

[4] There were three male children born that would have been 20 to 29 during this census-Calvin (23), Elias (21), and David (20). Any one of them could have moved out or could have died before 1840. Both Calvin and David are believed to have died before 1848 so it is very possible one of them died before the 1840 Census.

[5] It is not clear who Elizabeth Nelson was. Elizabeth’s daughter Elizabeth was born in 1823, which would make her 26 years-old during the 1850 Census, so I don’t believe it was her, but it could be.

Ancestor Biography – Elizabeth Blackwell Roberts (1796-1867)

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.During my recent “We’re Relate” Famous Friday investigation, I noted that my relationships to Luke Bryan and to Carrie Fisher were both based upon David Blackwell, supposedly the father of my 3rd great-grandmother Elizabeth Blackwell. I had originally intended for her to be #6 in my continuing Roberts, but determining if I might be related to Carrie Fisher enticed me to jump Elizabeth ahead to next to research.

Roberts/Barnes Research – Generation 6: Ancestor #33

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather:                          Bert Allen Roberts
  • 1st Great-grandfather:          Hugh Ellis Roberts
  • 2nd Great-grandfather:         Asa Ellis Roberts
  • 3rd Great-grandmother:Elizabeth Blackwell
  • 4th Great-grandfather:          David Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell Roberts (1796-1867)

Birth

Elizabeth Blackwell was born on 10 September 1796[i] in Surry County, North Carolina[ii]. She was possibly the 11th of 17 children of David Blackwell. An incredible amount of work is still needed to confirm and validate all her siblings.

Childhood

Elizabeth’s father was a revolutionary war veteran. Her mother died while Elizabeth was still young, probably before she was 10-years-old.

Marriage

Elizabeth married John Calvin Roberts on 3 March 1816 in Roane county, Tennessee.[iii]

1820 Census

Family Search Wiki indicates that the 1820 Census for Roane County, TN has been lost.[iv]  The Wiki suggests an alternate source in Mary Barnett Curtis, Early East Tennessee Tax Lists…. I have requested a copy through Interlibrary Loan.

1830 Census

The 1830 Census finds the John Roberts household of Roane County, Tennessee with the following household:[v]

1 Male 30 to 39:              [John Calvin Roberts – Age 35]

1 Female 30 thru 39:     [Elizabeth (Blackwell) Roberts – Age 33]

3 Males 10 thru 14:        [Calvin, Elias, & David – Ages 10, 11, & 13 respectively]

2 Males 5 thru 9:            [Elijah & George – Ages 8 & 6 respectively]

1 Female 5 thru 9:          [Elizabeth – Age 6]

2 Males under 5:                        [Frances, Phillip, & John – Ages 4, 2, & 1 respectively]

Only two children were reported as being under 5. Francis married and was living during the war. Both Phillip and John are believed to have died before 1848. One of them must have died before the 1830 Census.

1940 Census

The 1840 Census finds the John Roberts Family in Roane County, Tennessee with the following: [vi]

1 Males – 40 thru 49:     [John Calvin Roberts – Age 45]

2 Males – 20 thru 29:     [David, Elias, & Calvin – Ages 20, 21, & 23 respectively.]*

2 Males – 15 thru 19:     [George and Elijah – Ages 16 & 18]

1 Male   – 10 thru 14:     [Phillip, John & Francis, Ages 11, 12, & 14 respectively]**

1 Male  – 5 thru 9:       [Asa & Hugh – Ages 5 & 6 respectively]***
3 Males – Under 5:     [Robert and Brazzel – Ages 1 & 3 respectively]***

*Both Calvin and David are believed to have died before 1848. One of them, may have died before 1840. Alternately, one of them may have established their own home by 1840. Further research is needed to determine which two remained in this household.

** This time only one male is reported as age 10 thru 14. Francis married and was living during the war (1860s). Both Phillip and John are believed to have died before 1848. For this census record to be accurate, both of them must have died before the 1840 Census.

*** Two males between 5 and 9 were reported and one male child under 5 was missing.  I believe that five-year-old Asa was reported in error.

1 Female – 40 thru 49:   [Elizabeth – Age 44]

1 Female – 15 thru 19:   [Elizabeth – Age 17

1 Female – 5 thru 9:        [Amanda – Age 9]

1850 Census

The 1850 Census names the individuals within the household but does not provide relationships. It indicates that the first ten children had either died or left home. The remaining six children are identified in the census. The John Roberts Household consisted of:[vii]

  • John Roberts                           M         55        Tennessee
  • Elizabeth Roberts                   F          53        North Carolina
  • Hughy Roberts                        M         17        Tennessee
  • Acy Roberts                             M         15        Tennessee
  • Robert S Roberts                    M         13        Tennessee
  • Bazel Roberts                          M         11        Tennessee
  • Rebecca Roberts                     F          10        Tennessee
  • William Roberts                      M         9          Tennessee

Also in the household was an Elizabeth Nelson, age 23.  Her relationship is unknown at this time. John and Elizabeth’s daughter named Elizabeth (born 1823) would have been 26 years old. I do not believe that Elizabeth Nelson is their daughter returned home with a new surname, rather, I believe they were two separate individuals.

1860 Census

The 1860 Census finds the Roberts family still in Roane County, Tennessee. The receive their mail through the Kingston post office.

The only one of the children of John and Elizabeth is their 18-year-old daughter Rebecca.[viii]

Death

Elizabeth Blackwell Roberts died on 5 July 1867 in Roane County, Tennessee. [ix], [x]  It does not appear that she has a marker.

Conclusion

The good news is that, at least in my mind, Elizabeth Blackwell’s parents were David and Sarah (Harris) Blackwell provided one more step along the way towards seeing those “We’re Related” relationships are possibly real. The bad news is that several researchers that I trust indicate that David Blackwell’s father was William Blackwell, Not Samuel Blackwell as the Luke Bryan “We’re Related” lineage suggests. Likewise, “We’re Related” suggests that David Blackwell’s mother was Elizabeth Steptoe; however, most other researchers suggest that David Blackwell’s mother was Mary Marshall.  So, at this point I don’t believe either Luke Bryan or Carrie Fisher are related through the line that “We’re Related” suggests.  I still need to confirm the parents of David Blackwell myself, but the priority of that research has dropped back to normal.   

Further Actions / Follow-up

  1. Review: Mary Barnett Curtis, Early East Tennessee Tax Lists: a compiled list of residents of the area covered in 22 east Tennessee counties for which there is (sic) no census records prior to 1830 (Fort Worth, Texas: Arrow Printing, 1964) [FHL 976.8 R4c] for Roberts.  (I have requested this book through the Inter-Library Loan system.)
  2. Review: Snyder E. Roberts; Roberts families of Roane County, Tennessee, 1794-1969, 1968 for Roberts Family. WorldCat: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/114828. (I have requested this book through the Inter-Library Loan system.)
  3. Review: Chris H. Bailey, “Descendants of David Blackwell of Surry County, North Carolina and Roane County, Tennessee,” particularly his footnotes which contain many of his sources.

————- Disclaimer ————-


Endnotes

[i] Find a Grave, Find a Grave, No Marker – Elizabeth Blackwell Roberts – Memorial #147852443. Accessed 13 Feb 2017. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=147852443.

[ii] Gregory Vaut, Ancestors of Alexandra Catlin Vaut, Files (Personal), Elizabeth Blackwell #78189. Accessed 13 Feb 2017. http://www.acvancestors.com/g2/p2607.htm#i78189.

[iii] Tennessee, Compiled Marriages, 1784-1825, Ancestry.Com, No Image – John Roberts & Elizabeth Blackwell – Marriage Date: 3 March 1816. Accessed 13 Feb 2017. http://search.ancestry.com/search/collections/eamtn/14655/printer-friendly?ssrc=pt&tid=28584065&pid=12093609656&usePUB=true.

[iv] Family Search Wiki – Roane County, Tennessee Genealogy https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Roane_County,_Tennessee_Genealogy

[v] 1830 Census (A) (NARA), Ancestry.Com, 1830 Census – John Roberts – Roane, Tennesee (A). 1830; Census Place: Roane, Tennessee; Series: M19; Roll: 180; Page: 55; Family History Library Film: 0024538.

[vi] 1840 Census (A) (NARA), Ancestry.Com, 1840 Census – John Roberts – Roane, Tennessee (A). 1840; Census Place: Roane, Tennessee; Roll: 535; Page: 70; Image: 1022; Family History Library Film: 0024549.

[vii] 1850 Census (FS), Family Search, John Roberts – Roane, Tennessee – House Number 1415. Accessed:  6 August 2016.

[viii] 1860 Census (A) (NARA), Ancestry.Com, 1860 Census – John Roberts – 14th District, Roane, TN – Post Office Kingston.

[ix] Find a Grave, Find a Grave, (No Marker) – Elizabeth Blackwell Roberts – Memorial #147852443. Accessed 13 Feb 2017. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=147852443.

[x] Gregory Vaut, Ancestors of Alexandra Catlin Vaut, Files (Personal), Elizabeth Blackwell #78189. Accessed 13 Feb 2017. http://www.acvancestors.com/g2/p2607.htm#i78189.