Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Joel Abbott Roberts Continual Building of Homes on Government Street

In addition to rebuilding the family home at 910 Government Street, Joel Abbott Roberts finished two more neighboring houses that Dr. Willis had provided should be left for his descendants. In 1857 and 1859 respectively, the houses at 908 and 906 Government Street were finished. The two homes remained in Laura Roberts Pillans’ family until 1979, when they were demolished. The house at 908 Government Street provided rental income for Joel Roberts’ widow, Mary Taylor Bolles Roberts, after his death in 1863 until 1875, when it was sold to Dr. Edmund Pendleton Gaines and his wife Mary Toulmin Gaines. [i] After Dr. Gaines’ death, his widow sold the house to Harry Pillans, son of Laura Roberts Pillans. [ii] Laura
Roberts Pillans was Joel’s sister, the youngest daughter of Dr.
Willis Roberts. Harry, one-time mayor of Mobile, would have
been first cousin to Joel Ninde’s father, Willis.

[i] The Roberts and Pillans families were surrounded by related families such as the Herndons, Gaineses, and Toulmins. These families intermarried or these relationships were cemented by further intermarriage over several generations. General Edmund Pendleton Gaines was a great-great-great uncle of Captain J. L. Abbott who married Helen Buck Taylor and lived at 910 Government Street. Helen was the daughter of R. V. and Helen Buck Taylor, the second family to own the Roberts house. A portrait of R. V. Taylor hangs at 910 Government Street. General Gaines’ brother Col. George Strother Gaines lived at Gaineswood in Demopolis. Mr. Gaines’s grandson George Stark Gaines married Mary Isbell Pillans of 908 Government Street, granddaughter of Laura Roberts Pillans. Isbell records, 910 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama.[ii] Harry Pillans, lawyer, member constitution convention 1901, mayor of Mobile was born June 27, 1847 at Bonham, Tex, son of J. Palmer and Laura Roberts Pillans and was educated in the public schools of Mobile. He was prepared under P. A. Towne to enter the junior class at college, when he enlisted in the C. S. Army in 1864. Palmer practiced actively in the courts of Mobile, Alabama in the Mississippi Supreme Court., Coast Court and Mississippi Supreme Court and occasionally the Federal Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit. Isbell records, 910 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama.

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