Lee County Biographies



Benjamin Roberts has been a resident of Lee County since 1868 and for the greater part of the time since the beginning of his active career he has been connected with agricultural interests here, owning and operating one hundred and thirty-seven and one-half acres of excellent land on sections 11 and 2, Wyoming township. He was born in Pavilion, Kendall County, Illinois. October 8, 1860, and is a son of H. H. and Elizabeth (Scott) Roberts. The father was a carpenter by trade, following this occupation in Pennsylvania for a number of years. In 1848 he came west to Illinois and settled in Kendall County, where he engaged in farming. In 1868 he moved to Lee County and bought the farm now owned by the subject of this review, paying forty dollars an acre for land now worth three hundred dollars per acre. He passed away in 1868 and was survived by his wife until 1905. Both are buried in the East Paw Paw cemetery. They were the parents of eleven children: Crawford, who died in the Union Army during the Civil War; Annie, the wife of R. M. Morgan, a farmer in Oklahoma; Jennie, who married John Wolcott, a farmer in Kendall County, Illinois; Henry, who died in 1910 and is buried in the Wyoming cemetery; Emma, the wife of Joe Agler, who is engaged in farming near Wakefield, Nebraska; Etta, who became the wife of Henry Litz and died in Abilene, Kansas, in 1888; Lizzie, who married Mathew Goodyear, a farmer at Philip, South Dakota; Benjamin, of this review; George, a farmer in Wayne, Nebraska; Mary, the wife of James Britton, county judge of Wayne County,Nebraska; and Della, the wife of George Hicks, a clothier in Paw Paw, Illinois.

Benjamin Roberts acquired his education in the public schools of Paw Paw, laying aside his books at the age of seventeen. He afterward assisted with the work of the farm until he was twenty-two and then became a clerk in a drug store. He was later for eight years connected with the clothing business in Paw Paw. He purchased the homestead at auction and has since carried forward the work of its improvement and development. He engages in mixed farming and under his able management his property has greatly increased in value, being now one of the finest farms in the township.

In Paw Paw, on the 16th of June, 1891, Mr. Roberts married Miss Pearl Carnahan, a daughter of John and Malvina (Cole) Carnahan, the former an engineer and farmer and one of the pioneers in Lee County. He now makes his home in Iowa, having survived his wife since 1907. She passed away when she was sixty years of age and is buried in Saybrook, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts have two children: H. Louise, a graduate of the Paw Paw high school and now a student in Lake Forest College; and Benjamin E., attending high school.

Mr. Roberts is a member of the Baptist church, in which he has been deacon and Sunday School superintendent for fifteens years. He is connected fraternally with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America and gives his political allegiance to the republican party. He has served with credit and ability in various positions of trust and responsibility, having been alderman of Paw Paw for three terms, street commissioner for two terms and also school director. He is a man of many excellent traits of character which he evidences in all the relations of life, holding the esteem and respect of his neighbors as a progressive businessman and upright citizen.

Contributed by Martha Fuller
From: Stevens, Frank E., History of Lee County Illinois,
Vol. II, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1914, pp. 32-33


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