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ROBERTS , GEORGE ( 1769 - 1853 ), settler and Independent minister in U.S.A. ;

b. at Bron-y-llan , Mochdre, Mont. , 11 Feb. 1769 . His father was EVAN ROBERTS ( 1729 - 1813 , obituary by his son John in Y Dysgedydd , May 1831 ), whose grandmother had been servant-maid to the old Puritan minister Henry Williams (q.v.) of Ysgafell. George 's mother, Evan Roberts 's first wife Mary ( 1734 - 1777 , née Green — the Greens were also connected with Ysgafell ), had a sister Elizabeth who m. William Newell and became the grandmother of Richard Newell (q.v.) . Of the seven children of Evan Roberts 's first marriage, John ( 1767 - 1834 ) is separately noticed; Elizabeth ( Lewis ) had two sons, of whom the elder became a justice of the peace at Ebensburg, Pa. , and the younger a minister in Indiana ; and Mary ( Williams ) was the mother of William Williams ( Gwilym Cyfeiliog , 1801 - 1876 , q.v.) and of Richard Williams ( 1802 - 1842 , q.v.) , and the grandmother of the antiquary Richard Williams ( 1835 - 1906 , q.v.) . John Roberts 's three sons, and his daughter Maria 's son John Griffith ( 1821 - 1877 ) , all separately noticed, round off the tale of this exceptionally interesting family.

George Roberts 's autobiography, written at intervals ( 1827 , 1835 , 1846 , and 1850 ), begins with a very full account of his family and connections, and a long account of his early religious experiences. Up to the age of 17, he remained at the loom with his father, but afterwards served on farms at Carno and Llanbryn-mair . In May 1795 he m. Jane Edwards , of Llanerfyl , and in July, in company with Ezekiel Hughes (q.v.) and others, emigrated to America — their troubles with press-gangs and with storms at sea are recounted in the autobiography. They landed at Philadelphia on 26 Oct. , remained there till Sept. 1796 , and then ‘wandered on foot’ till 19 Nov. , when George and his family settled in the ‘ Cambria County ’, founded by M. J. Rhys (q.v.) . There, Roberts found it for several years impossible to extricate himself from debt. But in 1807 he was appointed one of the two salaried justices of the county , and in 1808 a remunerative land-agency fell to his lot; thenceforth he prospered, and purchased lands . In 1805 he had been encouraged to preach , and in June 1806 he was ordained co-pastor of the congregation at Ebensburg , where in 1834 he published A View of Primitive Ages , an English version of the famous classic of Theophilus Evans (q.v.) . He d. in Nov. 1853 at Ebensburg .

Sources:

  • Autobiography, printed by I. C. Peate in Y Cofiadur , 1952 , 37-60;
  • letters, printed by A. H. Dodd in the quarterly Pennsylvania History Quarterly Journal of the Pennsylvania Historical Association , 1934 ff , April 1955 , 134-45;
  • D. Jones , Memorial Volume of Welsh Congregationalists in Pennsylvania, U.S.A., 1797 to 1931 , Utica, 1934 (Utica, N.Y., 1934 ), ch. 1;
  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies , second ed., 1894 .

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959