DEWITT C. ROBERTS was born June 8, 1842, son of Hiram and Thankful (Humphrey) Roberts. His grandfather, Amasa Roberts, a native of Bristol, Hartford County, Conn., was born April, 1758. He left Connecticut with the intention of locating himself in Genesee County, New York, starting with his wife and three children in an ox-cart; but, when he travelled as far as Fenner, Madison County, his cart was broken so badly that he was obliged to stop there, and on investigation of the country was so well pleased that he concluded to remain. He bought new land, which was all woods and his first house was of course the usual log cabin. His handsome frame house, afterward built, was the first of the kind ever seen in
the vicinity. He was a very hard-working man, wrestling with every possible obstacle in his endeavors to support his family. Through the forest full of wild beasts and treacherous Indians he wended his weary way many miles to the nearest mill, taking bridle-path, with his sack of wheat strapped on the horse with him, to get flour for daily bread.
His wife, Keturah Lindsley, born February 20, 1768, was a devoted and noble helpmate. Untiring in her loving efforts to sustain and cheer him in his labor, lending her willing hands, not only to cooking and the care of the house, but also to carding, spinning, and weaving every article of clothing worn by the
family, there was scant time for reading or gossip, as night after night she went to her couch with tired feet and aching limbs. It is a matter of wonder how these pioneer women lived to such an age. The grandfather died at the age of fifty-two years, November 14, l810, and the grandmother in 1830, at the age
of sixty-two. Their family consisted of seven children,--Jesse, Alvory, Susanna, Alice, Amasa, Hiram, and Jared. They all grew up, had families of their own, and are now all dead. The grandfather and grandmother were Presbyterian in religious belief, and in politics he was a Whig. In the deaths of this couple two of the oldest pioneers of Madison County passed away.
Hiram Roberts was born August 31, 1798, and grew up in the town of Fenner, a toiling farmer. He owned a part of the old homestead, consisting of about seventy-five acres of good land, and on it raised the flax and wool which his wife spun and wove into the family clothing. He married Miss Thankful
Humphrey, a native of Massachusetts, who was born April 13, 1797, a daughter of Elias and Thankful (Sumner) Humphrey. She was a factor in assisting him in his
struggle for fortune. They raised a family of seven children,--three girls and four sons,--as follows: Susanna H., born December 10, 1826, died July 22,1853; Lucretia L., born June 1, 1829, widow of Stephen L. Smith (Mr. Smith was killed at the siege of Knoxville, in 1863, aged thirty-one years. He was a member of Company G, Eighth Michigan Regiment, under General Burnside); George W., born
June 24, 1831, died February 5, 1885; Irving L., born July 27, 1833, now the oldest merchant in business in Canastota; Jay H., born June 19, 1836, served in the late war, Company H, Twelfth Regiment New York Volunteers, now resides in the village of Oneida; Lorraine A., born August 16, 1838, unmarried, and resides with his youngest brother, Dewitt C., who was born June 8, 1842. Elias Humphrey was one of the early settlers of of Nelson, and was born February 19,1774, and
died March 27, 1845. His wife, Thankful Sumner, was born January 23, 1777, and died October 21, 1805. They had a family of six children: Thankful, the mother of our subject, died January 15, 1867; Elias, born in 1799, died in 1836; George, born in 1801, died in 1843; Susanna, born in 1803, died in 1837; and Elijah and Elisha (twins), born in 1805, died infants. The grandfather Humphrey was a Baptist, and was a Whig in politics.
Our subject was born on the old home farm where he now resides. He received his education in the district schools, and for one year attended the Cazenovia Seminary. When a young man, he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, and remained on the farm, where he has always made his home, looking after the work of the place and taking care of his parents in their old age. He has since
bought the old homestead, and has added to the farm until he now has about one hundred and fifty acres of land, some of it forest. He raises good crops of grain and hay, and pays great attention to his stock, which consists of fifteen head of full-blooded Durham cattle. He has also some fine horses.
Mr. Roberts erected a beautiful residence in 1887. He has remained single, and, with his two sisters, Loraine and Mrs. Stephen Smith, maintains a fine and generous hospitality. He is classed among the best farmers in his vicinity, and keeps everything on the farm in excellent condition. A Baptist in his religious belief, in politics he casts his vote with the Republican party, being steadfast in the opinion that its measures are the best for the progress of the country. The centennial year, which has set people to thinking of the character and deeds of their ancestors, has been of more than passing interest to our subject, as his family have been identified since early in the eighteenth century with the history and growth of this country.
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