Thursday, December 20, 2018
Considering a Second Possibility
Let's examine the second man who could possibly be the Albert Roberts in the Council Bluffs, Iowa, photograph I found. This man was a little younger than the first Albert we've already discussed—that Albert was born in November of 1869—as our second Albert made his arrival sometime around 1878.
That date, however, is an estimate based on the age he gave when he filed for his marriage license on January 4, 1900. Just like the Daily Nonpariel had mentioned in Council Bluffs on January 11, 1900, this Albert Roberts had married Hattie Eshelman in the county to the east of Council Bluffs, which is Cass County, Iowa. Apparently, his bride, daughter of Joseph and Julia Eshelman, was a lifelong resident of Noble Township in that county.
The couple didn't remain in Cass County, however, for we find them, only five months later, back in Adams County, evidently the place of Albert's own birth and home of his parents, James and Ann Slitty Roberts, who were listed only one entry below Albert and Hattie in the 1900 census.
That information helps us locate the right Albert Roberts—at least for the consideration of that second possibility for the photo's Albert—in the 1880 census. There, we find him in the Adams County household of James and Ann Roberts, and discover that he was the youngest of all his siblings, which included two brothers and four—yes, count them, four—sisters.
It wasn't long after Albert and Hattie were married in January, 1900, that they were joined by what turned out to be their only child. A daughter, whom they named Maude Ethel, was born to them on October 5, 1900—a fact we don't realize until stumbling upon her name in the 1910 census. At that point, the Roberts family was still living in Adams County.
Though the Daily Nonpariel did mention, on the occasion of their fiftieth wedding anniversary, that Albert and Hattie Roberts had been residents of Atlantic in Cass County since 1917, the first documented instance showing their new residence shows up with Albert's registration for the war, which he completed in 1918. From that card, we learn that he was employed as a mechanic in Atlantic, and had set up the family's residence at 409 West Tenth in the same city. From the point of the 1920 census onward, we can assume the Daily Nonpariel had the report of his residence in Atlantic correct.
This is the Albert for whom the delightful listing of attendees at their July 1922 family reunion provided so many relatives' names. As tempting as that genealogical gift might be—especially since I will have to find some descendants who would be willing to weigh in on whether their Albert Roberts bears any likeness to the one in the photo I found—I have my doubts that our second Albert and his wife Hattie are best candidates for the identity of the photograph I found. For one thing, their marriage occurred in 1900, while the previous Albert we examined was married in 1889. That leads to another question, one far removed from genealogy but apropos to a conversation about history: what is the timeline of the one fashion item, worn by the woman in our photo, whose popularity waned with the end of the 1880s?
It can be a fun detour—at least for fashionistas and costume designers—to review the many versions of the bustle. Yet, no matter how modest the style of the dress worn by Mrs. Albert Roberts in our photo, it may have been a fashion more suited to a 1889 wedding date than one in 1900.
There is, however, one more consideration: we still have a third Albert Roberts to learn about before we make any final decision on whom to eliminate from our roster of possible couples. We'll take a look at the third Albert tomorrow.