Jefferson County Historical Society

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M. Roberts, foreman of the locomotive and machinery department of the
Iron Mountain Railroad shops, De Soto, is a native of Philadelphia, 
Penn., and was born September 8, 1852.  He is the third in the family
of eight children, seven of whom are living, born to Elwood W. and
Elizabeth (Davis) Roberts, natives of Philadelphia and of German descent. 
The former, a farmer by occupation, was born in 1827, and has always 
lived in his native State, and the latter was born in 1828. M. Roberts 
was educated in the public schools of his native city, and served an 
apprenticeship of four years as a machinist, in the Pennsylvania Railroad 
shops, in West Philadelphia.  He then became fireman of a locomotive 
engine on the Pennsylvania Railroad, running from Philadelphia to 
Harrisburg and Philadelphia to Jersey City, for eleven months, and the 
following twenty-two months acted as engineer on the same road. In July, 
1876, he went to St. Louis, and resumed his trade in the Iron Mountain 
Railroad shops, in South St. Louis, where he remained until February, 
1877, when he went to the Black Hills on a prospecting tour, and at that 
place erected the first sawmill. In September of the same year he returned 
to St. Louis, and for two years was engaged as fireman on the Iron Mountain 
Railroad.  In September, 1879, he was promoted to engineer, holding that 
position until September, 1886, when in the absence of the regular traveling 
engineer, Mr. Mercer, our subject was promoted to that position.  Mr. Mercer 
returning in June, in July Mr. Roberts was appointed foreman of the shops at
De Soto, which position he still holds, to the universal satisfaction of his 
employers.  July 27, 1887, he was sent to Rome, N. Y., as inspector of the 
twenty locomotives being built there for the Gould railroad system. December 
29, 1881, Mr. Roberts married Miss Cora L., daughter of Daniel and Kate Taylor, 
and a native of Pierce County, Wis. Mr. Roberts is a Republican in politics, 
a member of the Masonic order, the A. O. U. W., and Brotherhood of Locomotive 
Engineers.  Mrs. Roberts is a member of the Catholic Church.