Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dr. Willis Roberts' Legacy

actual picture of Dr. Willis's physician office in Mobile

Dr. Willis Roberts’ wife, Asenath, lived to see completion of the City Hospital, but died in 1833. He owned numerous properties in the city and built quite a few cottages near the hospital at the corner of Saint Anthony and Broad Streets. The office that he used for private practice still stands on the northeast corner of Government Street and St. Emanuel. Aside from his architectural contributions to Mobile, Dr. Willis Roberts built the family home for his large family at 910 Government Street in 1837. Also, Dr. Willis built homes for each of his children. A large 1826 townhouse that was a century-old landmark when it was destroyed circa 1940, has been identified by the Pillans family as being built by Roberts as a wedding present for his eldest daughter, Olivea. [i]

Children of Dr. Willis and Asenath Alexander Roberts
1. Olivea Alexander
2. Mary Herndon
3. Samuel Alexander
4. Joel Abbott
5. Sophia Lowry
6. Emily Rogers
7. Reuben Herndon
8. Laura Malvina
9. Willis, Jr.
10. Seth Willis [ii]
[i] In Mary Van Antwerp’s collection of archives is a drawing of an old house downtown on Conception Street which Dr. Willis owned around 1826 and possibility built. The builder is unknown. In 1939 it was presumed to have been built by Balthasar Tardy. “This curious old frame dwelling has been a landmark in Mobile for close to a century.” Tardy-Thorp House, 112 South Conception Street, Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama. But Daisy Pillans wrote on the drawing that it was Grandfather Roberts’ house. City directories for this period are available on microfilm but have not been studied. Isbell records, 910 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama.[ii] 1. Olivea Alexander Roberts June 23 1804-1 Sep 1882) m. four times (Taylor-Mather-McKinstry Withers) and lived in Mobile, Al., Galveston, TX, New Orleans, LA 2. Mary Herndon Roberts (Oct 2, 1806)-Aug 2 1822), died age 15 in Cahawba, AL. 3. Samuel Alexander Roberts (Feb. 13 1809- Aug 18 1872) married Apr. 8 1842 to Mrs. Lucinda Mary (Gary) Reed, lived in Bonham, TX. 4. Joel Abbott Roberts (January 6 1811-Aug. 7 1863) lived in Mobile, Al. 5. Sophia Lowry Roberts (January 9 1813-2 Apr 1878) married John A. Settle, lived in San Antonio, TX and New Orleans, LA. 6. Emily Rogers Roberts (January 14 1816- Jul 2 1833), died age 17 in Mobile, ALA. 7. Reuben Herndon Roberts (Sep 30 1817-30 May 1884) married Martina T. Quigley, lived in TX, Mobile, AL, Birmingham, AL. 8. Laura Malvina Roberts (Sep 25 1819- Aug 20 1883) married Palmer Job Pillans, lived in Mobile, AL. 9. Willis Roberts, Jr. (19, Mar 1822) died young. 10. Seth Willis Roberts (Dec. 22, 1823-1878) married Claudine LaCoste and lived in Mobile, Al. “The Descendants of Dr Willis Roberts & Asenath Alexander.”

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