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Edwin S. Roberts. The prominence and influence of Mr. Roberts, as well as his personal popularity, are indicated adequately when it is stated that he was mayor in 1915 of the thriving little City of Avard, Woods County, and that he is cashier of the Avard State Bank.
Mr. Roberts claims the fine old Bluegrass State as the place of his nativity, but he is entitled to designation as one of the pioneer citizens of Oklahoma, within the borders of which young commonwealth he has maintained his residence since 1893. In a staunch but primitive log house on the old homestead farm of his father in Hardin County, Kentucky, Edwin S. Roberts was born on the 24th of October, 1866, the place of his birth being situated only twelve miles distant from that of Abraham Lincoln. He is a son of David R. and Sarah C. (Farrand) Roberts, both of whom were likewise natives of Hardin County, where they were reared to maturity and where their marriage was solemnized in 1861, Mrs. Roberts having been a daughter of James Farrand, who was a native of Maryland and early settler in Hardin County, Kentucky.
David R. Roberts was born in the year 1832 and was one of the honored pioneer citizens of Woodward County, Oklahoma, at the time of his death, which occurred April 12, 1905. His entire active career was devoted to the great basic industry of agriculture. He continued his residence in Kentucky until 1881, when he removed with his family to Macoupin County, Illinois, where he was engaged in farming until 1887, when he removed to Sedgwick County, Kansas, where he purchased a tract of land and continued his operations as a farmer and stockgrower until 1893, when he became one of those who participated in the settling of the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma Territory, when the same was thrown open to settlement. He obtained a tract of Government land in what is now Woodward County, and there he reclaimed and developed a good farm, this homestead continuing to be his place of residence until the close of his life. He was a staunch supporter of the cause of the democratic party, was a man of sterling character and he ever commanded secure place in the confidence and good will of his fellow men. Both he and his wife were lifelong and earnest Christian workers, he having been a member of the Baptist and she of the Methodist Church South. Mrs. Roberts survived her husband by about eight years and continued her residence in Woodward County until she, too, was summoned to eternal rest, on the 27th of February, 1912. They became the parents of five sons and five daughters, concerning whom brief record is here entered: James B. is a prosperous farmer in Woodward County, as is also John W.; Edwin S. of this review was the next in order of birth; Thomas H. is a representative agriculturist in Woodward County; David C. is identified with the zinc and lead mining industry at Miami, Ottawa County; Laura is the wife of William D. Howell, a farmer of Sedgwick County, Kansas; Sallie B. is the wife of Benjamin F. Stevens, who is a prosperous farmer of Woodward County, Oklahoma, where he also is a successful and popular teacher in the rural schools; Frances M. is the wife of Oscar C. Wybrant, who is a leading lawyer at Woodward, the judicial center of the county of that name; Catherine is the wife of Harry Morrison, a farmer of that county; and the fourth child, a daughter, died in infancy.
Edwin S. Roberts was reared to the ago of fifteen years in his native Kentucky county, where he acquired his early education in the common schools. He was about fifteen years old at the time of the family removal to Macoupin County, Illinois, where he continued his studies in the public schools, and in 1887, shortly prior to attaining to his legal majority, he accompanied his parents on their removal to Sedgwick County, Kansas. He there assisted in the work and management of the home farm and when but twenty-one years of age was elected clerk of Afton Township.
On coming with the other members of the family to Oklahoma, in 1893, he entered claim to a tract of land in the newly opened Cherokee Strip, this property, in Woodward County, having been improved by him and developed into one of the excellent farms of the county. Mr. Roberts is a man of alert and vigorous mentality, of well fortified opinions and marked progressiveness, so that he has naturally been influential in public affairs of a local order. In 1903 he was the democratic nominee for representative of Woodward County in the Territorial Legislature, but his defeat was compassed by normal political exigencies. In 1902 Mr. Roberts was associated with other representative citizens of Woodward County in the organization of the Farmers’ Bank of Persimmon, which institution later became the Farmers’ Bank of Mutual, the Town of Mutual having been developed at the expense of the old Village of Persimmon, which is now little more than a name.
In 1904, in Woods County, Mr. Roberts became associated with John J. and George Gerlach in the organization of the Avard State Bank, and of this institution he has since been cashier, its development and upbuilding as one of the substantial banks of this part of the state having been largely due to his energy, good judgment and progressive policies. Mr. Roberts has been one of the foremost in promoting the civic and material advancement of the thriving and attractive little City of Avard and has served continuously as its mayor since the admission of Oklahoma as a state, in 1907. He has been also a member of the local board of education since 1904, and his loyalty and public spirit are of the most insistent and benignant type. He does not deviate from the lino of close allegiance to the democratic party and is influential in its councils in Woods County. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, the independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, and both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mr. Roberts has been twice married. On the 20th of June, 1903, he wedded Miss Alta Grunewald, who was born in the City of Van Wert, Ohio, and whose death occurred at Avard, Oklahoma, on the 7th of December. 1904. She is survived by twin daughters, Corene and Lorene, who were born November 22, 1904. On the 18th of June, 1906, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Roberts to Miss Eloise M. Taylor, who was born in Carroll County, Missouri.
In conclusion it may well be stated that Mr. Roberts has given a most progressive and popular administration during his period of service as mayor of Avard. Within his regime and largely through his influence have been installed the excellent municipal water, electric-light and telephone systems, streets have been carefully maintained in good order, and cement sidewalks installed throughout the town, these modern improvements being the more noteworthy in view of the fact that this vigorous little western city has in 1915 a population of less than 300.