Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Religion of the Roberts Family

 Religious Affiliation

Reports of the religious background of Joel’s family vary, however a few prime denominations were found: Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Quaker or Methodist. [i] Marriages, burials, and confirmations occurred for the most part in either the Presbyterian or Episcopalian Church. Both Dr. Willis and his son Joel were active members in the Presbyterian Church.[ii] Records indicate that Willis was raised Presbyterian and later changed to Episcopalian when he married Moffitt Peacock. Willis Roberts was confirmed at St. John’s Episcopal Church on October 17, 1869. Mordecai Roberts “Mawk” Arnold states that his Roberts ancestors were staunch supporters and organizers of the Episcopal Church in Mobile. Descendants of the Roberts family up into the 1900’s and later were still Episcopalians. Palmer and Laura R. Pillans are cited in several biographical sketches as being affiliated with Christ Episcopal Church. Laura Roberts Pillans was the daughter of Dr. Willis and Asenath Roberts. Information found in St. John’s Episcopal Church and Trinity Episcopal Church validities Mordecai Roberts “Mawk” Arnold’s interview of August 9, 2005. [iii] [iv]

[i] Although the Presbytery of Alabama was organized in 1821, in Mobile the number of Presbyterians was so small that they formed a union church with the local Episcopalians in 1822. A Presbyterian congregation was formally organized in 1831 and in 1836 purchased land on Government Street for a Greek Revival-style building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The collection includes session minutes and register books dating from 1831 to 1979. University of South Alabama Archives, Mobile, Alabama.[ii] Grandfather Joel A. Roberts paid for a pew rental in the Presbyterian Church from November 1861 to November 1862. Great Uncle Palmer Job Pillans’ religion is listed as Presbyterian in his obituary. Palmer Job Pillans, son of John Christopher and Elizabeth (Palmer) Pillans, married in 1845{Presbyterian Church} to Laura Malvina Roberts, youngest daughter of Dr. Willis and Asenath Alexander Roberts of Mobile, Alabama. Isbell records, 910 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama and Presbyterian Church records.[iii] Mordecai Roberts (Joel Ninde’s father’s first cousin) was married on December 23, 1884 in Trinity Church. Beauregard Roberts (date of birth 08/10/1861) was baptized April 18, 1864, confirmed December 1887, and married August 8 1888 in St. John’s Episcopal Church, Mobile. Mordecai and Beauregard are two of eight children of Seth Willis Roberts, Joel Ninde’s great-uncle. Corinne Roberts (date of birth November 23, 1863) was baptized Apr 18, 1864. Mary Claudine “Claude” Roberts
(b. December 21, 1885), baptized July 4, 1886 St. John’s Episcopal Church, Mobile married (possibly June 22, 1909}, see original Mobile Co. book 42, Page 152) to Pat Byrne (Sheriff of Mobile 1926-1930 and had three children. St. John’s Episcopal Church, Mobile, Alabama & Trinity Episcopal Church, Mobile, Alabama.
[iv] Reuben H. Roberts, brother of Joel Ninde’s grandfather is listed in the register of the Government Street Presbyterian Church when he lived in Mobile, but after moving to Birmingham, Alabama Reuben became a Methodist, according to obituary. (No newspaper cited). Isbell records, 910 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama.

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