Biography of William Roberts
FROM OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
A DESCRIPTIVE WORK ON JEFFERSON COUNTY
NEW YORK
EDITED BY: EDGAR C. EMERSON
THE BOSTON HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 1898

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WILLIAM ROBERTS, who for a period of twenty years has been identified with manufacturing and other business interests in Philadelphia, and who by his enterprise and public spiritedness during that time has contributed largely to the prosperity enjoyed by the village and its people, was not a native of this county, although the surname has from the earliest settlement of the town been a synonym for integrity, probity and worth Mr. Roberts was born in Remsen, Oneida county, December 29, 1834, and spent the early portion of his life on a farm. Later on he located at Martinsburg, where he was a farmer, and also furnished supplies for the construction of the Black River Railroad. In 1877 he removed to Lowville and engaged in lumbering and kindred pursuits for several years, but in 1882 he came to Philadelphia and built the large lumber mills, which are still the leading industry of the village. He was one of the founders and the first vice-president of the Bank of Philadelphia, which was organized in 1888; was one of the incorporators, principal stockholders and president of the Indian River Chair Company, which was organized in 1890. In 1894 he purchased the interests of the several stockholders outside his own family. The factory buildings, with machinery and stock, were completely destroyed by fire on September 30, 1897. The work of rebuilding was begun about ten days later, and was carried forward with such vigor that chairs were again being made on February 1, 1898. The new factory is much larger and better arranged than the old, and is in all respects a modern and admirable plant. Charles 0. Roberts is general manager of the company.

When, in 1896, the water system of the village was constructed, Mr. Roberts was one of its most interested advocates, and was president of the first Board of Water Commissioners, still holding the position. Indeed, it has been said by residents of the town that no worthy public enterprise having for its end the welfare of the village, has been suggested or carried into effect without the name of William Roberts having in some prominent way been associated with it. His present business interests comprise chiefly the saw, planing and grist mills in Philadelphia village. In these and other enterprises he is materially assisted by his sons, who are mentioned in this paragraph.

On September 22, 1856, William Roberts was married with Sarepta, daughter of Leonard S. and Sophia (Smith) Wilder. George W. and Charles O. Roberts are the children of this marriage. Both are active business men of the village, and the latter has been supervisor of the town, except one year, since 1889.

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