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Golden Steel Plate

Roberts Family History

as told by Luie Donnie Roberts WhittingtonAs told to her by father Neil Archie Roberts

Our Fore parents were Gramson Jim Roberts and Catherine Luie
Roberts. They were West Indians with dark brown skin, high cheekbones,
long noses and good hair. Gramson, Jim and Catherine were stolen from
Willing, West Virginia by slave traders. They were transported in a covered
wagon to Buck Swamp in Marion County, South Carolina, where they were
bought by Colonel John Roberts. Colonel John lived on a plantation and
owned over three hundred slaves. He was sometimes referred to as the
richest man in South Carolina.

Jim and Catherine sired five children, Kizzy, Sara, Jenny, Rachele, and

Life was generally good on Colonel John’s plantation. Colonel John
considered Roberts as special Negroes. He always refused to sell the
Roberts slaves. After the Civil War he gave the Roberts slaves a lifetime
home and land to build a church and school. The name of the church was
St. John Episcopal Church. Before the war the Roberts attended
Temperance Hill where Colonel John’s son Neil Jay pastured. Colonel John
wanted all the Roberts to be buried at St. John Episcopal Church Cemetery,
on the land where their fore parents were raised.

Neil Archie Roberts instilled a sense of dignity and pride into the
Roberts. He was a Christian man who had a close bond to his church and to
his family, which was passed on from generation to generation. He said,
“You may marry and take your husband’s name but, always remember your
seed was planted at Temperance Hill”. He also said, “We are pillars, the
steeple, the roofing and the shingles of the African Methodist Episcopal

Written by
Jan Roberts Mitchell

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