Reuben Roberts

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Reuben Roberts

    Reuben Roberts was January 4, 1742/43 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.  He was the son of John Isaac Roberts and Willie Holifield.  He immigrated to the United States with at least two other brothers.  It is possible that more of his family immigrated at or near the same time.

    Reuben fought in Revolutionary War against the British. He enlisted in the army of the United States in Hillsboro, North Carolina, in April or May, 1775, shortly after the commencement of the war.  He served as a private in the company commanded by Captain William Lytle for 2 years and 6 months and was attached to the 6th N.C. Regiment under the command of Colonel Archibald Lytle in the Brigade of General Nash. He fought in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, at the siege of the White House, and Valley Forge.  At the Battle of Germantown he was wounded by a musket ball, which disabled his right arm; however, he served out the term of his enlistment faithfully and before leaving the army he again enlisted for during the war.  He afterwards fought in the Battle at Kings Mountain in North Carolina and belonged to a scouting party at the Guilford Battle; finally he fell into the Company of Captain Amis and was attached to Col. Lee's Corps of Horse, in that service he remained until after the capture of Cornwallis when the Company was ordered to disperse without being regularly discharged. 

    Reuben, according to family stories, was married the first time to Emily Eschere.  Apparently no children were born during this marriage.  He married the widow of John Asher,  Mary Milly Asher, on August 17, 1785 in Orange County, North Carolina.  It is possible that Emily Eschere and Mary Milly Asher are one and the same but no proof has been found to either prove or dispute this theory.

    Reuben and Milly had at least twelve children:

  1. Elizabeth Roberts, born 1786 in Orange County, North Carolina.

  2. Thomas Roberts, born March 2, 1788 in Orange County, North Carolina.

  3. Mary Martha Roberts, born 1790 in Orange County, North Carolina.

  4. John Osborn Roberts, born April 22, 1792 in Washington County, North Carolina.

  5. William Roberts, born in 1793 in Warren County, Tennessee.

  6. James M. Roberts, born December 29, 1793 in Hillsboro, Orange County, North Carolina.

  7. Mary Emily Roberts, born in 1796 in Elizabethton, Carter County, Tennessee.

  8. Susan Lucinda Roberts, born 1798 in Warren County, Tennessee.

  9. Nancy Roberts, born 1799 in Warren County, Tennessee.

  10. Reuben Roberts, Jr., born 1802 in Warren County, Tennessee.

  11. Caswell Cob Roberts, born October 30, 1804 in Anderson County, Tennessee.

  12. Matthew Scott Roberts, born in 1808 in Anderson County, Tennessee.

Mrs. Blanche Bentley in her book entitled, Old Burial Grounds of Warren County, Tenn., wrote:

"In the earliest days of the county there stood on the Old Kentucky Road two miles south of Rock Island a log church known as Asbury's Meeting House. The men who built the church were Reuben Roberts, a Revolutionary soldier, his sons and sons-in-law, their neighbors and friends; and if the date is correct of their coming to this section given in the diary of one of them, they formed one of its oldest settlements. The meeting house, a building of one room, stood in the heart of a great forest and has been described as of most primeval simplicity both as to building and furnishings. The men, however, who built it found it a perfectly satisfactory place in which to worship God. Being devout Methodists and strictly adhering to the forms of worship permitted by that church in early days, but sometimes at meeting house services mingled with the sweet songs of Zion wild scenes of shouting and fierce exhortations would burst upon the forest silence and terrify a little boy present, who seventy-five years afterwards recounted the sights and sounds of Asbury Meeting House revivals. . .According to very responsible tradition the pioneers of Asbury Settlement honored and collected the history of Warren County as known to them upon their first arrival. As recounted by Captain John Kelly Roberts, grandson of the patriarch Reuben, he himself remembered three diaries that had been written in the settlement and that as a boy he was often present when the entire settlement would meet in the evening to hear these diaries read and talked about and one can imagine how weird and mystical some of these tales must have sounded in the darkening twilight [p.415] within sound of the Caney Fork River. One of the diaries was kept by a young Virginian, a school teacher, who came West with Peter Nuckoll, went to New Orleans under Jackson and never returned. All these precious papers have been lost, but from reading and rereading much of the history was remembered. As they sat thus together in the quiet evening time, the men and women of the little settlement must have often spoken of a very patriotic service once performed by the older men of the community. Sometime while Jackson and his army were at New Orleans word came to the settlement that the General's powder was running low. Immediately Reuben Roberts, Elijah Drake, Peter Buren, Peter Nuckoll, George Sanders, and others from material gotten from the Big Bone Cave and other places, made a large quantity of powder, packed it in wagons drawn by oxen and cutting a new and direct rout e as they went, by Short Mountain, Rutherford and Davidson Counties to Nashville, loaded the powder on flat boats and sent it to New Orleans to General Jackson. (Taken from letters of Captain John K. Roberts.) The road so cut and traveled was called the old road to Nashville and is mentioned in Warren County Road Books as late as 1858."

    Pension was granted to Reuben Roberts on his application dated 11th day of September, 1818.  Reference was made to twelve children but only sons John, James and Cobb were named:

    Reuben Roberts died August 2, 1841 in Warren County, Tennessee.  He is buried in the cemetery adjoining Asbury Methodist Church in Warren County, Tennessee.  

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Last modified: September 30, 2005