Biography of Joseph E. Roberts

Joseph E. Roberts, conducting a furniture and undertaking business at Nowata, is one of the wide-awake and alert young men of the city, whose success is the result of thoroughness and enterprise. He was born October 23, 1892, about twelve miles east of the city in which he still makes his home. His father, Edward Taylor Roberts, was a native of Indiana, his birth having occurred on a farm near Lebanon in Montgomery County, his parents being James Thomas and Lydia A. (James) Roberts. His parents were Kentuckians but were married in Indiana, to which state they had removed in early life. James T. Roberts there followed farming until 1870 and also engaged to some extent in merchandising. He then removed with his family to Liberty, Kansas, where he carried on farming, stock raising, and mercantile pursuits until 1881, at which time he became a resident of the Indian Territory settling on a farm six miles south of the present site of Nowata. His remaining days were given to agricultural pursuits and he won a substantial success as the years passed by. He was a Democrat in his political views but took no active part in politics. He died in 1903. His wife passed away in 1904, at the age of sixty-seven years.

Edward T. Roberts was the second in order of birth in a family of seven children and was largely reared in Kansas, to which place he accompanied his parents when a lad of seven years. He was a youth of eighteen when he came to Oklahoma, residing on the home farm near Alluwe, in Nowata County. In 1895 he took up his abode in Nowata, where he engaged in the mercantile business in partnership with his elder brother, William E. This association was maintained until 1897, when Edward T. Roberts established a furniture and undertaking business, which he conducted individually until 1908 and was then joined by his son, Joseph E., thus forming the firm of E. T. Roberts & Son. The father was associated with the enterprise to the time of his death, which occurred January 11, 1920. He was interested in civic welfare and gave his support to every plan and project for the public good. He served on the school board for about a decade and also was at one time a member of the city council. His political allegiance was always given to the Democratic Party and fraternally he was connected with the Elks and the Modern Woodmen of America. He was married August 13, 1885, to Miss Luella Conner, who was born in Kansas, and they became parents of a daughter, Della, who is now the wife of J. Ruby McKnabe of Newport, Tennessee; and a son, Joseph E., of this review.

Joseph E. Roberts has spent his life in Nowata. He pursued his education in the public schools, being graduated from the high school with the class of 1908. He entered business as a partner of his father and the association was maintained until the father’s death, since which time Joseph E. Roberts has been sole proprietor of the large furniture and undertaking establishment. The latter is conducted along most scientific lines, while the furniture store includes an attractive stock of high grade and medium priced furniture. The business methods of the house have always been such as to insure a liberal patronage and Mr. Roberts has ever recognized the fact that satisfied patrons are the best advertisement.

On the 4th of February, 1912, Mr. Roberts was united in marriage in Nowata to Miss Addie Lowerance, a native daughter of Oklahoma. Her parents were Everett and Emma Lowerance. She was of Delaware extraction and came here with the immigrants at an early day. Mr. and Mrs. Lowerance passed away during the infancy of their daughter, Mrs. Roberts. Mr. Roberts is also of Delaware extraction through the maternal line and by this marriage there has been born a daughter, Katherine May, who is now in school. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts occupy a very enviable social position and the hospitality of the best homes of this section of the state is freely accorded them.

Mr. Roberts is a veteran of the World war and possesses a military spirit that would serve him well as a commander of forces. When attending high school he was one of the football team, weighing one hundred and sixty-seven pounds. Today he is a muscular man of two hundred and seven pounds, six feet and two inches in height. Following America’s entrance into the World war he became an officer in the Ninetieth Division, with which he remained for ten months, winning the rank of second Lieutenant. He was at Camp Travis, Texas, and was sent thence to Camp Pike, Arkansas, and later to Camp Perry, Ohio. His next transfer took him to Camp Grant, Illinois, where he was discharged December 5, 1919. He was training the boys and his division was ready to go overseas when the armistice was signed.

He has recently returned from the Legion convention in Kansas City, where he greatly enjoyed meeting his “buddies” and forming many new acquaintances among the khaki-clad hosts that defended the cause of democracy on the battle fields of Europe. He was first sergeant in the early part of his service and won his commission as second Lieutenant through capability and effort, his only regret being that he did not get overseas. With his return he has concentrated his attention and efforts upon his business affairs and he has large independent interests in oil, aside from his commercial investments in Nowata.


Benedict, John Downing. Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma: including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.

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