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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
James N. Roberts is one of the foremost representatives of agricultural interests of Livingston county, where he owns one thousand acres of rich and fertile land on section 4, Mooresville township. By close attention to his affairs and modern and up-to-date-methods he has succeeded in becoming one of the largest landed proprietors of this section and the success it which he has attained is of much more credit to him as he has achieved it entirely through his own efforts. He is a native of Kentucky, being born March 1, 1858, and is a son of Thomas and Jane (Harlow) Roberts, the former for many years a prominent farmer of that section and a member of the Home Guards during the Civil war. He passed away in 1901 and his wife followed him in death in 1904, both being buried in the Field cemetery of Mooresville township. The family is of Scotch-Irish extraction and came to the United States at an early day.
James N. Roberts was reared under the parental roof and in the acquirement of his education attended the district schools of' the vicinity, but to a large extent he is self-taught, as he was always of studious mind and complemented his knowledge by reading and study wherever he could find it. After he had completed his school course he started out to make his own way in the world by canvassing for a United States map, soliciting orders for a short time. In 1881 he had by thrift and industry secured the means to buy a farm west of Mooresville, the property comprising sixty acres, and by intelligent application and earnest toil was enabled in time to greatly extend the boundaries of his farm to the present extent. He engages in mixed farming, following progressive and up-to-date methods, and makes an important branch of his business the raising and feeding of cattle and hogs, while most of his land is carefully tilled and devoted to such cereals that are the most profitable under the climatic and soil conditions. As a side line he is also engaged in sawmilling and has from this industry received gratifying financial returns. In his various enterprises success has attended his efforts as a result of his progressive ideas, his incessant labors, his energy and his experience. He has made a number of important improvements on his property as he has gradually acquired it and has provided such equipment as is considered necessary to the modern farmer in the profitable cultivation of a large tract of land.
On file 14th of December, 1880, near Mooresville, Missouri, Mr. Roberts was united in marriage to Miss Rosalia Baron, a daughter of Lewis and Rosalia Baron, the former of whom was a contractor residing in Mooresville. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts have become the parents of four sons and four daughters: R. W., an engineer living at Columbia, Missouri, who was the architect for the Chillicothe courthouse and is professor at Columbia College; J. H., a graduate of Breckenridge high school, now engaged in farming in Mooresville township; Frank E., who graduated from Breckenridge high school and is also a farmer; E. C., a graduate of the Mooresville high school, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits; Gertrude, the wife of Charles McCreary, a farmer of Sampsell township; Hazel, living at home; Nellie, attending school: and Bonnie, also pursuing her education. The family residence is a commodious and comfortable house, well furnished and modernly equipped.
Mr. Roberts is a stanch adherent of the democratic party, the principles and candidates of which he unfailingly supports. His fraternal association is with the blue lodge of Masons. He has made a creditable record along agricultural lines and his course has been marked by steady progress, his industry and energy having found substantial reward in a most gratifying degree of prosperity. His labors, however, have not only brought individual success but his life work has been of constructive value in the development of the agricultural resources of his section as he has not only been an interested witness of the changes that have occurred but has been a helpful factor in general advancement. Personally he is a man of genial manners, pleasant to meet, yet of strong character, and his sterling qualities have won him the high regard and confidence of all those with whom he has come in contact. To express in few words the reason of his success would be to say that he has done well anything he has found to do and that his laudable ambition has carried him to the position which he now occupies as one of the foremost agriculturists of his section. His life record has no spectacular phase but plainly shows what may be accomplished when energy and industry lead the way.