J. W. Roberts

The Courant American
Cartersville, Georgia
October 18, 1888, Page 1
Transcribed by 2006

A Remarkable Family
Facts Unfolded by the Man Who Runs the Elevator.

A Cartersville Reunion That Sixty-Odd People Will Enjoy –Solid Vitality, Unique Nomenclature, &c.

[Atlanta Constitution.]

“Yes, Sir” said the elevator man, “I can say what very few people can say in Atlanta.”

“What’s that?”

“I haven’t missed an hour out of the elevator in three years – not an hour, and I have put in a good many extra hours.”

“That so?”

“Yes, sir, it’s a fact. Before I came here to Chamberlin and Johnson, I was over there in the Constitution building, and I have run that elevator over there for forty-eight hours at a time.  That was only once, but a good many times I have run it for twenty-four and twenty-six hours at a time.  And I haven’t missed an hour out of the elevator in three years.”

“You know,” he continued philosophically, “it takes a mighty patient man to run the elevator?  Well, it does.  You can learn lots about human nature.  I get to see all sorts of folks, and learn a little bit from every one of ‘em.  If I was a young man or a young lady and was going to marry, do you know what I’d do?”


“Well, sir, I’d come right here to this elevator to pick me a wife or a husband.  I would for a fact.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, I’ll tell you.  These here fellows that fly all to pieces because the elevator ain’t there waitin’ for ‘em –like when I’m down there oiling my engine or up at the top, them fellows won’t do for a husband.  And same way about young ladies.  They fight, and fuss and fume and take on.  They won’t do.  No, Sir.  But some of ‘em just wait till the elevator comes – see that young lady down there?  She how she’s stampin’ her foot ‘cause the elevator ain’t there?  Them’s the kind I was talkin’ about.”

“No, Sir,” repeated the elevator man, as he started down again, “I haven’t lost an hour in three years, but if nothin’ happens I’m going to lose a day on the twenty-third of this month – a whole day.”

“How’s that?”

“Well, I’ll tell you.  It’s father’s and mother’s golden wedding, and all the children and their families are going to have a big reunion.  I’m going to lose one day then and go with ‘em to Cartersville.”

“How many of you are there?”

“Well, I’ll tell you.”

“Our family is a remarkable family.  It is for a fact.  There were thirteen children in all, five boys and eight girls, and every one of them is alive today and have families of children.  Not many families can say that, are there?  Thirteen children, and every one of them lived to be men and womenJ. W. Roberts that’s me, is the oldest.  I am 49 years old, and the youngest is a girl.  She is 25 years old.  All of us are married, and all of the son-in-laws are living now.  My father’s family and my mother’s family were both long lived people.

Mother’s name was Elizabeth Emaline Thompson.  Her father was in the revolutionary war.  He had a wound on his shoulders and I have seen it myself many a time.  He died in 1856, and was 94 years old.  My father was in the Florida war and in the Confederate war.  All of the boys that was old enough to go went to the Confederate war.  George was the youngest.  He went when he was sixteen.”

The speaker wears on his own breast the silver triangle of the Fulton County Veteran’s association.

“There’s another remarkable thing about our family,” said the elevator man.

“What’s that?”

“Three of my sisters married three brothers – the Sheffield boys. ‘Taint often you hear of that, is it? Every one of the sons-in-law is doing well, too.  And there’s something else, too.  In all the family, old ones and young ones, there is not one that would touch a drop of liquor – not one of ‘em.  That’s strange, ain’t it?”

“How many did you say were going to Cartersville?”

“The children and over fifty grandchildren.  There are four families that live in Buchanan, twenty four in all.  Then there is a family of four at Rockmart.  Henry Sheffield at Seney has eleven children and that makes thirteen in his family.  Then at Burnt Hickory Ridge where my father lives, there are two of the Sheffields, and one Dunaway, and one Maxwell.  Then there is one family at Rowland’s ferry, in Bartow county, and me and the brother that lives in Cartersville.  His name is Stephen D. Roberts.  That makes ‘em all, don’t it?”

“Another strange thing about that family is this:  Two of the grandchildren are married, and yet there is not a single gray hair in my mother’s head – not one – and my father is just as spry right now as any son he’s got.  ‘Tain’t often you see that, is it?  How many did I tell you was at Buchanan – twenty-four?  Well, I was wrong about that.  They ain’t but twenty three of ’em.  But the strangest thing of all is this.  You know I told you there was eight girls.”

“Well, sir, you wouldn’t believe it, but every one of them girls has an ‘Ann’ in her name –every one of ‘em.’”

“Do you remember their names?”

“Well, I’ll sorter have to think.  The first one is Julia Ann Matilda.  The next one is Mary Ann Melissa, then Martha Ann Mahala, then Amanda Ann Elizabeth Jane, then Nancy Ann Louisa, then Margaret Ann Lucinda, then Sarah Ann Salina, and Eva Ann Marenie Carolina.”

“It ain’t often you see that, is it?”


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