Roberson Family Stories
By: Jack Roger Roberson
Louisville, KY August 2006

Jack Rodger Roberson b. 1931

Fielding Roberson

Fielding Roberson was my great grandfather whom I don't believe I ever met. He had eight boys and two girls. (I think). The boys were, my grandfather James W., Alva, William, Ruben, Mann, Irvin, Charles, and George. One of the girls was Bertha. The other name is unknown to me.

Fielding was in the Indiana Cavalry during the civil war. He had three horses shot from under him during the battles. He must have been in the thick of it. He was captured, I believe, at Vicksburg. He smuggled a spoon from one of the meals and he and two other prisoners dug under the prison wall. The floor was dirt.

Fielding Roberson

During the days they filled the hole back up and one of them would sit on it so they never got caught. It took several days to dig out. The dark night they finally made it they crawled out in pitch darkness. They had no directions and did not know which direction to go. The other two men crawled back in the prison and filled the hole. Grandpa decided he would go for it.

He traveled by night and slept in barns and straw stacks by day. One morning he awoke in the same barn he'd slept in three nights before. He was tired and hungry and decided to give himself up. He went to the house and told them who he was. It so happened that they were Northern Sympathizers. They fed him a big meal and told him how to get back to his outfit, which he managed to do.

Roberson Brothers

Fielding had so many boys that he would not do much. He delegated authority to Alva his oldest boy. Alvy could even spank them if he thought they needed it. One day grandpa was behind the barn crying, Alva had whipped him. When asked what was wrong He said "I hope none of us ever have to die but if they do I hope it is big Ab" (Alva's nickname).

One day Alva was hauling Manure from the barn. They said a "city girl" walked by and yelled Oh Alf what are you doing? "Being already mad" he yelled "hauling horse shit". You did not say things like that to ladies in those days. The girl hurried on her way.

Grandpa Jim Once said he wished his name was Shit because Jim was too easy to say and they were giving him more than his share of the chores. They would not call him so much if his name was that.

George Roberson (son of Fielding)

George is not known much by my relatives. Evidently he had the power of persuasion. He convinced my father that he was ready for marriage when he was around 3rd grade age. I think he even had a bride picked out. George went to Texas when he was a young man. I don't think any of the family ever saw him again. We heard that he died of TB at a young age.

In the early 1940's my father Clayton paid a visit to a gypsy fortune teller at Beech Grove Indiana. Without a prompt from dad the fortune teller told him about George and told Dad he died mysteriously in Texas. Not believing in fortune telling, my dad came away from there scared.

Grover Roberson

Grover Roberson

He homesteaded in Montana; went out there as a school teacher. Found out the boys had failed so many times that they were almost as old as him. Right away one of them challenged him to a fight, said he had whipped every teacher they had up until Grover. Grover took the challenge. They fought a long time and Grover finally won. The boy had broken some of Grover's ribs. Grover played ball with the other children so as not to let anyone know the boy had hurt him.

I think he gave up teaching after one year. Then he would work up in Canada at the lumber mills in the winter to buy seed wheat and farm in the summer. He married his wife Frankie an employee of Yellowstone Park. There farming had grown. They raised wheat and mustard seed. The land was so dry they had to summerfile it.

Plow and disc for one season to store moisture in the ground so they could plant the next year! I met them one time in the late 1940's. They were driving a 1936 Ford which had its 3rd engine in it. The car looked nice. They had two D model John Deere Tractors. Grover drove one; Frankie drove one. Much later they found Grover floating in his pond. We don't know for sure but we believe a natural death. Grover told us that his land was a glacier deposit. He had dug a well and the ground was top soil at 40 feet deep. He said he could still raise 60 bushel of wheat to the acre. When he first started it was 80 bushel. He said some of his neighbors were just then starting to use fertilizer. He had not. He had plowed up 40 acres the year before that he had always used as pasture for one cow. He still had 40 acres that had never been plowed for his cow to graze in.

Great Grandpa Seaton

Evidently the men used to hang out at the Old Grantsburg store. My father Clayton Roberson, told me about Great Grandpa Seaton wanting to go back to Grantsburg. This had to be in the late 1920's or early 1930's. Dad took him over there and he got out of the car and went up on the porch and sat on the bread box. Ail groceries used to have a bread box out front. Bread deliveries came early before the stores were open and the bread man would lock the bread in there. Grandpa sat there about 20 or 30 minutes and said, "Clayton I'm ready to go. It's not like it used to be". No one he knew had come by while he sat there.

Old Grantsburg store

Seaton Roberson Relationship

My grandfather and two of his brothers, (William and Ruben), married 3 Seaton sisters. You would be surprised how many double cousins there are in the 2 families.

Oliver Denbo

Oliver Denbo was a brother to Tom Denbo, Nanny Morre's father. Oliver also made sorghum, and shipped it all over the United States. Once, during the great depression he was peddling sorghum door to door in Illinois. He took a gallon to the door of a house and when the lady opened the door he began his sales pitch. He opened the bucket and Lo and Behold there were 2 yellow jackets floating on top. Being quick witted, Oliver said "well I'm going home and fire that woman. I told her to put one in every bucket and here she has put two in this one". The lady said "you big liar, I'll take that bucket and one more".

Nancy Denbo Moore-Better known as "Nanny"

Nanny was a very respected and religious lady. She worked in the field's right along with her husband, Wilbur. She was always in an ankle length dress and a bonnet. People always wanted Nanny to pray for them when they were sick or injured. She always had a bunch of funny stories to tell. Such as, when she was young her Pa made sorghum too. They fed the skimming's to their hogs. One year the skimming's fermented. The hogs all got drunk on them. They would lay on their backs or sides and move their feet as if walking and squeal "Oink Oink".

One year on the last day of sorghum making, she brought me a real large onion and it was to help me cry. She made sorghum 50 years before she began making them for us. She made for us 10 to 15 years. She was always in a good mood, but, could be very firm. When her Nephew would come home intoxicated, they would come and get Nanny as no one else could handle him. She would soon have him peacefully in bed. He did not want her to see him that way.

One night late, hunters came to their door and wanted to borrow shotgun shells. Wilbur informed them that the only thing they had was a muzzle loader and the only one who knew how to shoot it was Nanny. They woke her up and took her to the creek where they carried her and her old gun across the river and they proceeded to where the coon was treed. Nanny tamped the powder and shot in the gun and shot the coon. They helped her back to the house.

Once I helped them grub out 3 large walnut trees which they sold for some cash flow, she lived on this farm her entire life. Her first husband died and she later married Wilbur Moore. What a wonderful Lady.

Jack (Shack) Roberson

Jack Roberson was called Shack because he would not work and was notorious as a no good. He must have lived about the turn of the century. The white Caps who were much like the Klu Klux Klan left a bundle of switches at his door. This was to warn him that they would be back and work him over if he did not get his act together. Old Shack boarded up his windows and made port holes in his cabin and when the White Caps carne back he shot it out with them. They were unable to get him and he kept up his lazy life.

Charles Roberson Charles Lee Roberson

When I was born they were showing me off to Carie Roberson. She was Alvey's wife. When they told her my name was Jack she said mighty pretty baby but sure don't like his name. I'm sure she must have known the original Jack.

Charles Roberson (Son of Fielding Roberson)

Charles was known as "Charlie". He left Crawford County and settled in Buechel, KY. He had one son that I know of, Lee Roberson, a renowned Southern Baptist Preacher. He had a very large church in Chattanooga. He was an editor of the Church denominational paper. I met him at his mother's or his father's funeral. He has retired but still preaching in his 90s. As far as I know he is still living. Charlie built homes around and influenced his brother Ruben to do the same. He built the first section of the Highview Baptist Church.

Ruben Roberson (Son of Fielding)

Ruben Roberson

Ruben followed the tradition of his father and had lots of kids, he had 8 children. Besides my grandfather James, I knew Ruben better than any of his siblings. He once went to Montana to farm. I think he worked mostly for his brother Grover. The whole family went and they moved in a model T Ford truck. The engine gave out on the trip. They bought parts and pulled into a vacant field and overhauled it and then continued the trip.

During the World War II people were frozen on their jobs. If you quit they threatened to draft you in the army. Rube was working at the Charlestown, Indiana munitions Plant helping on construction. He wanted out of there very much. Finally they came around and said they would have a layoff the coming payday. Rube said put me in that layoff. When payday came they said they had changed it. It would be next payday. Rube reminded them he wanted to be in it.

The next payday, the same thing happened and again and again until one day he told them "This time I am going". When they came by and told him not that week he threw his hammer into the asbestos siding he was installing and it went all the way thru the wall and thru the building and thru the wall on the other side. They fired him, and he said I told you I was going.

I loved my uncle Rube so much I have nothing but fond memories of him. He ate his breakfast bacon very rare. He had a heart attack in his 50's. He said he threw up whole pieces of bacon that morning with not a tooth mark on them. He dieted and lived several years after that.

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