Cornelius Roberts, 1789, Virginia

My husband’s Riddle forebears haven’t been easy to research. First, they lived on the Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina frontiers just before and after the American Revolution.  Second, they and their FAN club seem to have had definite Tory leanings during that war, but descendants have muddled that history with family lore of being Patriots. Last, but not least, two affiliated families have had members mixed up because of the similarity in the surnames of Roberts and Rogers.

Today, I’d like to share some of the story of Cornelius Roberts. If his name is googled, many hits come up with all kinds of stories about his arrival in the colonies and his death. Some of these of stories have provable pieces, while others are either conjecture or old family lore.

Cornelius Roberts was likely born some time around 1740-1745. He married Mary, whose maiden name is said to be Benton, although I’ve never seen a source for that statement. Neal, as he was often called, probably married Mary about 1766 or 1767, as their first child was born about 1768.

Their children have been identified through a land deed filed on 5 October 1829 in Russell County, Virginia. Neal’s heirs sold some of his land at that time.

Deed Book 8:234-235


 Children named in the land deed include:

1. Elizabeth, born about 1768; married Abraham Childers. She reportedly died in Perry County, KY on 17 February 1833, but I have not seen proof of her date of death.
2. Mary, born about 1770; married Shadrach Monk. She reportedly died about 1805.
3. James, born about 1772. He married Nancy (MNU). James may have died in Pike County, Kentucky.
4. Nathan, born about 1774. He married Abigail Bishop on 10 November 1799 in Knox County, Tennessee. He may have died in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.
5. Amelia (Milly), born about 1776. She married Edward Frost on 3 October 1791 in Washington County, Virginia. Milly died after 1850, possibly in Walker County, Alabama.
6. Jesse, born about 1778. He married Mary (MNU) and died after 1850, possibly in Taylor County, West Virginia.
7. Daniel, born about 1780; married Elizabeth Kiser, about 1798. He may have died in Pickens County, Alabama.
8. Sina, born about 1782; married Peter Anderson. she died after 1850, possibly in Marion County, Tennessee.
9. Archibald, born about 1784. He married Phebe Allenduff on 24 October 1839 in Fountain County, Indiana. Phebe may be a second wife.
10. Isaac, born about 1786. He reportedly married a woman whose maiden name was Enyart and died about 1839 in Gonzales County, Texas.
11. Susanna, born about 1787; married Lot Literal. She may have died in Illinois.
12. Mourning, born 14 August 1788; died 4 May 1866 in Jackson County, Alabama and married Jacob Talley (called “Isaac” in error in the land deed). She was reportedly given her name as her father had recently been killed.

Although many supposed facts about Cornelius Roberts are unproven, the names of his children are a certainty, thanks to the 1829 land deed. It also made life much easier for me in that it named the heirs of Mary (Polly) Roberts Monk as Shadrach and Mary Monk are my husband’s direct line.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at Cornelius’s life.


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