|Birth: ||Jan. 29, 1871|
San Francisco County
|Death: ||Mar. 18, 1922|
San Francisco County
John Albert Roberts was a harness maker and the head of a working-class family in San Francisco--a husband and a father. His mother Mary Anne Roberts (nee Bacon), who had been born in Ireland in 1878 to English parents, had to work very hard as keeper of a boarding house, raising John, his seven brothers, and his three sisters, all by herself. As a young teamster, John lived in a rooming house on Folsom Street. Then, he moved to a flat on Page Street, working as a stock clerk with Jacobs, Liebold and Church. Roberts was a tall, good-looking, lantern-jawed and taciturn individual. He married Elfreda Josephine "Freda" Roberts (nee Seifert) on Monday, August 6th, 1894. They were wed by Reverend Edgar J. Lion, at 573 Webster Street. Their witnesses were Silas H. Roberts, John's 20-year-old brother, and Mrs. Mary Roberts (either John's mother or his older sister). John then had a new family and a new flat in a nicer part of town. He was now making a good living as a saddle and harness maker-–just as his father had been before him, and his father before him. He was an expert with paring, hand and head knives, cutting and plough gages, trimmers, punches, mallets, scalloping irons, needles, awls, the spokeshave and the slitting machine, and all of the other tools of a harness-maker's trade. John and his little family survived the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Tragically, his wife Elfreda died when their son was twelve years old, and John sent him to live with Freda's German-born mother at 25th and Diamond Streets.
Their son and only child, Harold William Roberts (born William Harold Roberts) Roberts, born in 1895, would later join the US Army's new Tank Corps and die during the Argonne Offensive in northern France in October of 1918. Corporal Harold Roberts was awarded the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously, and the Army's largest Replacement Training Center in the nation was named in honor him--Camp Roberts, California. He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in northern France, not far from where he lost his life. John accepted the Medal of Honor that had been awarded his son in a special ceremony in April of 1919, and accepted a Croix de Guerre with Palm for his son on the steps of the San Francisco City Hall four months later. He lived in room 417 of the Humboldt Building in San Francisco when his son was in the Army, but he was apparently living in the Oakland Hotel on Kearney Street around the time of his death. His family gone, he apparently grew closer to his now-widowed sister and likely shared an apartment with her in later life, perhaps due to his ill health. He passed away from a chronic myocarditis (enlargement and weakening of the heart) complicated by nephritis, in the San Francisco Hospital. It is assumed that his personal effects went to his sister, Ida Mae Zeile, widow of Nob Hill financier Frederick Zeile. Roberts was buried with his beloved wife Elfreda Roberts in an unmarked grave at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park. The Camp Roberts Historical Museum is currently in the process of seeing what it would take to place a marker on their gravesite.
Elfreda Josephine Seifert Roberts (1877 - 1908)
Harold William Roberts (1895 - 1918)*
Cypress Lawn Memorial Park
San Mateo County
Plot: Section E Lot 313
GPS (lat/lon): 37.67474, -122.45006
Created by: Gaz
Record added: Sep 28, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 97917009