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May 27, 2015 12:00 PM - June 7, 2015 04:00 PMCalender

Roberts III, John (1724-1778) Manuscript Memorandum and Account Books.

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Auction: Books & Manuscripts - 2819TLocation: BostonDate / Time: May 27, 2015 12:00PM


Roberts III, John (1724-1778) Manuscript Memorandum and Account Books.
Small folio account book begun by Roberts in 1768 detailing numerous transactions related to his many business enterprises, including a grist mill, a paper mill, a working farm, and other rural occupations; including medical receipts, notes on the weather and the deaths of friends and associates, and accounts concerning day laborers; including related documents, notably a single-signature sixteen-page booklet titled, "Memorandum," that includes the record of transactions related to the activities of the Continental Army in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, between June 1777 and the fall of 1778 and John Roberts; these transactions never mention the exchange of money, the verb most used is "took"; notable examples include an inventory from 14 June 1777 of the following things taken from John Roberts: six good wagon horses six years old last spring, six hackney horses, two large red oxen branded on the horn IR, eleven cows mostly young branded IR, on large bull branded, one small bull, two small steers, one small heifer, two yearling heifers without horns, two spotted large oxen, sixty sheep and lambs, sixteen hogs, and three pigs. In most of the entries, the members of the Continental Army who received Roberts's goods are identified by name; all entries are dated, names include General Potter, General MacDougall's Division, Colonel Procter, Green's Division, Varnum's Brigade, General Wayne's division, Glover's Brigade, the North Carolina Brigade; other entries note providing meals to parties of soldiers, and other supplies to parties at the "Gulph."
[Together with] a copy of the Pennsylvania Docket, November 7, 1778, with details about the case of treason against John Roberts, and a small archive of documents, receipts, and other material related to Roberts, mostly period, with the addition of later material on the same topic.
John Roberts was a Welsh Quaker whose grandfather immigrated to Pennsylvania in the 17th century. Roberts was his father's only son and inherited property and buildings of industry as a young man. Capitalizing on his good fortune, Roberts continued to develop and expand his various mercantile interests in Lower Merion. Controversy found him during the American Revolution. Quakers were particularly vulnerable to the dis-ease about side-taking during this divisive conflict and as an avowed pacifist, Roberts was not alone in attracting the suspicions of his neighbors. Removing to Philadelphia during the British occupation, Roberts was eventually accused of treason by a number of his neighbors, tried, and executed by the newly installed provisional continental judiciary. Since that time, protestations of his innocence, indictments of the rush to judgment, and suggestions that his neighbors' desire to take his property hastened his fate have all cast his execution in a questionable light. This archive of original material related to Roberts before and during the critical period of his suspected traitorous activities imparts detailed and pertinent facts, if not a definitive answer to his guilt or innocence.
Estimate $6,000-8,000

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John Roberts, Pennsylvania, Continental Army, Lower Merion, Colonel, Potter, Procter, Varnum's Brigade, North Carolina Brigade, General MacDougall's Division, Glover's Brigade, Green's Division, Philadelphia, Removing