Ever since I found reference to the Miller vs. Fuller, Milam and Miller Equity Court Case filed in Laurens County, South Carolina, I have been interested in the identity of George Roberts, son of William Roberts and Sarah Stovall. Many family trees show this George Roberts to be the same George Roberts that was listed on the 1810 and 1820 Census of Abbeville Co, SC. However, I have recently found compelling evidence that shows that this George was NOT the son of William and Sarah Stovall Roberts. The George Roberts that is the son of William and Sarah Stovall Roberts is the George Roberts that appears on the 1810 and 1820 census of Rockingham Co, NC.
The proof of this fact lies in the wording of two legal documents. Firstly, the documents of the1829 court case mentioned above lists the heirs of William and Sarah Stovall Roberts as defendants in the case. One of these defendants was “George Roberts of Rockingham County”. Also, mentioned in the documents of the 1829 court case was the following statement, “That the said William Roberts, the father, in his life time also gave voluntary to his son George a slave named Bob…..” This slave was the reason that George Roberts was a defendant in the court case. In addition, an analysis of the suit by Roberts researcher and author, Donald George Brown, in his contribution to the book The Family and Descendants of John Frederick Miller (B. 1711 – D. 1787) of Halifax County, Virginia, compiled by Clovis E. Miller, stated, “According to the two nephews in their lawsuit of 1829, Samuel, George, Peter, Sarah, Martha and Mary Ann apparently were still living.” The second legal document, a legal notice in the “Weekly Raleigh Register” issue dated 20 Jul 1817 stated in part, “NOTICE is hereby given, to Richard Shackleford, and wife, Peter Roberts, Jacob Miller, and wife, Isham Fuller, Sarah Fuller, and Ryland Roberts That on Thursday the 17th day of July next, at the house of Col. William ?????[Complete name not readable] in Lawrens District, South Carolina, we intend taking the Depositions of Solomon Fuller, Abner Piles, and others. On Saturday the 16th day of August next, at the house of George Roberts in the County of Rockingham, and state of North Carolina, we intend to take the Deposition of George Roberts, and others.”
From the above sources we can see that George Roberts, son of William and Sarah Stovall Roberts, was living in Rockingham County North Carolina in 1817, possibly earlier, and up to (or close to ) 1829. There is no indication that the George Roberts of Abbeville Co, SC, was ever in Rockingham Co, NC. Certainly, he was listed in both the 1810 and 1820 Census of Abbeville Co, SC. Also, William Roberts gave a slave named Bob to George before his death in April or May of 1788. Nine out of ten of the family trees for George Roberts of Abbeville Co, SC, show that he was born in 1771. He would have been 21 in 1792, long after the death of William Roberts. Therefore, William could not have given this George Roberts of Abbeville a slave. Lastly, the two plaintiffs in the court case indicated that George Roberts was still alive in 1829. The George Roberts of Abbeville Co, SC, left his will which was proven on 1 Sep 1828. This George Roberts could NOT have been a defendant in the 1829 Court Case. He was dead by then.
So, who was the father of the George Roberts of Abbeville Co, SC? There are strong indications that he was probably the son of James Roberts, who was a son of William and Sarah Stovall Roberts. Firstly, James Roberts died in 1801. He left a will naming among others, a son George Roberts. A George Roberts was listed on the 1800 Census of Laurens Co, SC, just under James Roberts, Jr., who was just under James Roberts Sr. Estate sale records for James Roberts show that George Roberts purchased a slave named Toney. George Roberts, who died in Abbeville Co, SC, also owned a slave named Tony. In his will dated 9 Jun 1828, George left Tony to his daughter Betsey Gray. Therefore, one can see the high probability that the George Roberts of Abbeville Co, SC, was a son of James Roberts of Laurens Co, SC.
I look forward to comments regarding the above findings as well as sharing any sources that I have.