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Roberts, William and Rosa Lee

Memorial by living children Rosalee, Dorothy & Virginia

William Bryan Roberts
August 8, 1873 - July 14, 1948

Rosa Lee Winfrey Roberts
March 19, 1880- April 21, 1972

William Bryan (Billy) Roberts, born on a large farm in the Yelverton Grove community of Johnston County, was the oldest of eight children born to James D. and Jennie Lee Johnson Roberts. During his younger years he decided to leave the farm and go into the mercantile business. Throughout his life, as the country prospered, so did he.

In the late 1800's Rosa Lee Winfrey came to Selma from Roanoke, Virginia with her mother, Ann Crabtree Winfrey and Rosa's two brothers. The brothers were railroad employees. Being that railway was the only means of long distance travel in those days, the Atlantic and Seaboard Coastlines were very instrumental in the growth of Selma. Rosa remembered very little about her father, Tom Winfrey, because he died when Rosa was only 3 years of age.

Billy met Rosa Lee and they were married on July 8, 1898. There were eight children born to this marriage. They are Lillian Roberts Talton, Annie Mae Roberts Pembleton, Bill Jr., Rosalie Roberts Jones, Dorothy Roberts Bayles, Virginia Roberts Leach, and Emma and Jenny Lee Roberts who both died during early childhood.

Things went well for the Roberts family until the bottom fell out of the stock market on October 29, 1929. At the time the Great Depression began, Billy had owned several farms, stores and a dairy farm. The stores were Roberts-Atkinson Company, Roberts Corbett & Woodard, and W.B. Roberts and Brothers. The Depression forced Billy to file bankruptcy; however he did manage to hold on to one farm and the dairy farm. With lots of hard work and the love of the farm he was able to open up another store in Smithfield in 1933. This was know as Roberts and Wellon. As the nation began to recover from the Depression, Billy's health began to fail. Because of this, he was never able to achieve his goal a second time.

We, the family, will never forget the happiness and love we shared growing up and carry with us today. The faith they taught us helped carry us through some very rough times.

At the time of this memorial contribution there are 68 descendants of this union including the 8 children, 15 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and 23 great-great-grandchildren.

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