Lower Merion Historical Society

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The Roberts Family Collection

Lower Merion and the Roberts family histories are joined together and intermingle over a span of 300+ years. Rarely does a collection of papers from one family mirror so closely the development of the community in which they lived and worked. In 1999 members of the Roberts family presented The Lower Merion Historical Society with more than 280 items from their family records: indentures, letters, diaries, bibles, and account books, some dating back to the first settler, John Roberts.

John Roberts of Pencoyd (Maltster)

John Roberts came to the area of Pennsylvania called Merion in November of 1683. In January 1684, John wed Gaynor Roberts, a fellow passenger on the sailing ship Morning Star, in the first marriage ceremony performed at Merion Friends Meeting. Of the three men named John Roberts who came on the same voyage of the Morning Star, this John Roberts is called “The Maltster” for the crop he raised, barley for malt. John was pleased to discover well-timbered land, a clear spring, plenty of stone for building and soil which was “good and fat.” He called his farm “Pencoid”, later spelled Pencoyd, which in Welsh means “head of the woods,” an apt name because his large stone farmhouse was nestled at the top of the rise of land overlooking the Schuylkill River. His property extended from the Schuylkill River to Conshohocken State Road along City Avenue.

top part of book of Genesis with a large initial capital, written in Welsh
A portion of the first page of John Robert’s bible, printed in Welsh prior to 1702; Roberts Family Collection #R0216

The dynasty which he founded produced many civic leaders; a physician, a president of the Pennsylvania Railroad and a state senator. The industries that John Roberts’ descendants started include a model dairy farm (Penshurst) and an iron works (Pencoyd Iron Works).

Roberts family proprietors

  1. Founder of Pencoyd: John Roberts, 1648 (Wales)–1724.
  2. Second Proprietor of Pencoyd: Robert Roberts, 1685–1768.
  3. Third Proprietor of Pencoyd: John Roberts, 1710–1776.
  4. Fourth Proprietor of Pencoyd: Algernon Roberts, 1751–1815.
  5. Fifth Proprietor of Pencoyd: Isaac Warner Roberts, 1789–1859.
  6. Sixth Proprietor of Pencoyd: George Brooke Roberts, 1833–1897.
  7. Seventh Proprietor of Pencoyd: T. Williams Roberts, 1877–1962.
square stone block inscribed 'J & G R 1683'
A datestone from the family home at Pencoyd, commemorating the arrival of John Roberts in 1683.

Browse the Roberts Family Collection

Showing 239 of 239 items Sort table by clicking column headings

Holme’s Map of the Province of Pennsylvania; With Names of Original Purchasers From William Penn R0001
Chain of Title of 400 acres in Blockley obtained by Andrew Wheeler R0002
Hugh John & Cadwalader Morgan sale of land to John Roberts I R0003
1885 copy of original R0004
Tax Receipts for various properties owned by John Roberts I R0005
Deed Poll for”Messuage or tenement plantation and tract or parcel of land…in Lower Merion Township” R0005A
Recitals in Leacock Deed (Chain of Title) R0006
Map and description of John Roberts’ land R0007
Grog Bill R0008
Counterpart of Settlement of 2 Closes in Thorpe Latchvile R0008A
Will of Robert Roberts R0009
Last Will of Moses Roberts R0010
Account of Ellis Roberts and Robert Roberts, Executors of the Testament of Moses Roberts, Deceased R0011
Indenture for land fronting the Schuylkill River in Township of Plymouth between Lawrence Garrett & wife, Rebecca and Jacob Jones R0012
Discharge of responsibility and debt of John Roberts concerning guardianship of Elinor Fugerell R0013
Last Will and Testament of John Roberts I, malster R0014
Deed: Edward Jones & Evan Jones to John Griffith for 192 acres adjoining land of Robert Roberts R0015
Benjamin Eastburn’s Draft of John Roberts’ land R0016
Will of Evan Jones R0017
A Map of Philadelphia and Parts Adjacent R0018
Letter to John Roberts, surveyor, father of Dr. Jonathan Roberts R0019
Receipt for Quit Rent paid by Robert Roberts for 425 acres in Merion and Goshen R0020
Jonathan Roberts letter to his father, John Roberts, surveyor R0021A
Jonathan Roberts Letter to Parents R0021B
Letter to parents, John Roberts, surveyor and wife, Rebecca R0021C
Letter to parents, John Roberts, surveyor and wife, Rebecca R0021D
Map of the Middle British Colonies in America R0022
Draft (map) of a road leading from the ford road to Schuylkill River above the falls R0023
Deed to property on Schuylkill River sold by Robert Roberts to Phineas Roberts of Blockley & Alban Roberts of Merion R0024
Jonathan Roberts letter to John Roberts, surveyor R0025A
Letter to John Roberts, surveyor, and wife, Rebecca R0025B
Jonathan Roberts letter to John Roberts, surveyor, and wife, Rebecca R0025C
Jonathan Roberts letter to John Roberts, surveyor and wife, Rebecca R0025D
Jonathan Roberts letter to John Roberts, surveyor, and wife, Rebecca R0025E
Jonathan Roberts letter to John Roberts, surveyor, and wife, Rebecca and (second letter on back) to sister, Gainor Roberts R0025F
Jonathan Roberts letter to John Roberts, surveyor, and wife, Rebecca R0026A
Jonathan Roberts letter to Alban Roberts (brother) R0026B
Jonathan Roberts letter to John Roberts, surveyor & Rebecca, his wife R0026C
Jonathan Roberts letter to John Roberts, surveyor & Rebecca, his wife R0026D
Jonathan Roberts letter to John Roberts, surveyor & Rebecca, his wife R0026E
Draft (map) – Parts of Roxbury & Germantown Townships R0027
Robert Roberts Last Will and Testament R0028
Jonathan Roberts letter to John Roberts, father R0029
Map of a lot of limestone land sold by Alexander Colley to William Peters, Esq. & Co. R0030
Last Will of Robert Roberts R0031
William Addudole and John Addudole, wheelwrights, bond of 16 pounds owed to John Roberts, surveyor R0032
Recorded Deed: James Meas & Mary, his wife to Wm. Adduddel & Jennett, his wife R0032A
Jonathan Roberts letter to parents, John and Rebecca Roberts, R0033
Mortgage on 50 acres of land Robert Roberts willed to John and Rebeccah Roberts R0034
Scull and Heap’s East Prospect of Philadelphia R0035
Jonathan Jones Last Will and Testament R0036
Statement of ownership of Deed by John Roberts for land adjoining his plantation R0037
Will of Mary Roberts R0038
Lease of 21 Years for a lime quarry owned by John Vanderen, miller, to John Roberts, carpenter R0039
John Roberts’ Survey Map R0040
Map of John Roberts’ land in Merion and Blockley R0041
Unknown newspaper in Lower Merion R0042
Last Will and Testament of John Roberts, surveyor R0043
Last Will and Testament of Rebecca Roberts R0044
Appraised value of inventory of Rebecca Roberts’ goods and effects R0045
Genealogy of the Carson, Lapsley and Brinton families R0046
Jonathan Roberts letter to brother Algernon R0047
Assignments, Notes and Briefs of Title R0048
Assorted Receipts and Agreements R0049
John Roberts’ Bond and letter to Owen Jones and Jonathan Jones from Jacob Stiles R0050
Diary of Owen Jones – The American Repository of Useful Information containing a Calendar of the present year. R0051
Last Will and Testament of Jonathan Jones R0052
Letter to Jonathan Roberts, Dr. of Physick R0053
Judgement by Sheriff John Pugh, Esq. against William Rawle and John Nicholson. Auction sale of property to satisfy debt. Sale by Anthony Corethers of land to William Poyntell R0054
Indenture between William Poyntell, Ann, his wife and Algernon Roberts R0055
Rough draft of will of John Roberts (1747-1803), millwright R0056
Part of a note concerning farms of Jonathan and Owen Jones R0057
Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth George R0058
Indenture between Algernon Roberts, gentleman and Deborah Nemoz, spinster R0059
Draft (Survey) of woodland belonging to Algernon Roberts R0060
Last will and testament of Algernon Roberts R0061
Deed between John M. Lynn and Isaac W. Roberts R0062
Last Will and Testament of Jonathan Jones and note by Mary Jones regarding same R0063
Indenture between Isaac W. Roberts and William Stadelman with Sketch and Description of property attached, 19 acres, 131 perches R0064
Rebecca Jones letter to nephew, Owen Jones R0065
Account of the furniture belonging to Ann Jones R0066
Letter to ‘Sister’ Nancarrow R0067
Insurance Policy for Isaac W. Roberts including Survey of a stone barn R0068
Survey map of17 Acres, 10 1/2 perches for Isaac Roberts R0069
Diary Account of trip from Philadelphia area to Pittsburg and beyond. R0070
List of property held by Mary Jones for her son, Owen Jones, until he received possession of Wynne Wood Farm R0071
Note for $4000 to be paid to Joseph Warner (guardian of Owen Jones) R0072
Measurements for various properties R0073
Mary Jones letters to her children and a note from Owen Jones to his mother, Mary R0074
Deed Poll: William H. Porter, Sheriff to Isaac W. Roberts R0075
Account of furniture belonging to Mary Jones remaining in Wynne Wood home in care of Owen Jones R0076
Informal note concerning rent to be paid by Owen Jones to his mother, Mary Jones for use of her land R0077
Assignment of Power by Lydia P. Roberts, widow of John Roberts, to William Warner Roberts, Esther Stowell, Tacy R. Mattson, Sarah R. Clapp of properties listed R0078
Deed Poll releasing right and interest in a certain lane passing through the Isaac Warner Roberts farm R0079
Surveys of Isaac W. Roberts’ lands R0080
Hand drawn map of Pencoyd and surrounding properties R0081
Stock Certificate showing ownership of five shares by Gainor Roberts in The Belmont Avenue and Plank Road Company with accompanying letter from Percival Roberts to Isaac W. Roberts and response R0082
Account of social occasion hosted by Mary Penn Gaskel to meet Granville John Penn R0083
Handwritten extract from the Brief of Title of the Property of the late Jacob Jones in Lower Merion Township R0084
Reminiscences of the Revolutionary War beginning at the time that the British took possession of the City of Philadelphia’ R0085
Return Registered Letter Bill (Printed Form) R0086
Hand-written note concerning the inheritance of Harriton Estate R0087
An Act to incorporate the City Avenue Bridge Company R0088
Certificate of Election to the office of School Director R0089
Chart listing Courses and Distances of I. W. Roberts’ Land R0090
Table of Wages R0091
Various invitations to the International Exhibition in Philadelphia — the ‘1876 Centennial’ R0092
Three pocket size untitled account books R0093
Diary of Farm Matters R0094
The Early History of Merion and An Old Welsh Pedigree R0095
Deed: Mary R. Jones, widow, Rebecca Roberts and Gainor Roberts, single women and George B. Roberts R0096
Indenture between Mary R. Jones, widow and George B. Roberts of property partly in Lower Merion and partly in Blockley Township R0097
Invitations to George B. Roberts for celebrations honoring the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Constitution R0098
Invitation to George B. Roberts to meet the President of the United States in Wilmington, Delaware along with the Reception Committee R0099
Letter to George B. Roberts, hand-written concerning fishing rights R0100
An Outline of a Brief History of Lower Merion Township – – 1888 R0101
President and Mrs. Cleveland’s invitations to Mr. and Mrs. Roberts R0102
Letters and invitations to Mr. & Mrs. George B. Roberts R0103A to R0103J
Letters to and from Mr. George B. Roberts R0104
Benediction of the new Window and Stone Work of the East End of the Chancel in the Church of St. Asaph R0105
Invitations to Dedication of the Buildings of the World’s Columbian Expsition, Jackson Park in Chicago R0106
The Owen House at Wynnewood R0107
Descent of Roberts family from Owen family R0108
Invitations addressed to Mr. & Mrs. George B. Roberts to various functions R0109
Letter of appreciation to George B. Roberts R0110
Three handwritten notes to George B. Roberts from T. S. Bayard at U. S. Embassy, London R0111
Two congratulatory notes to George B. Roberts on occasion of the 50th year celebrations of the Pennsylvania Railroad R0112
Telegram to Mrs. George B. Roberts and P.R.R. Telegraph to G. Brinton Roberts R0113
Deed and restrictions on lots sold from the George B. Roberts Estate on Llanberris Road and St. Asaph’s Road R0114
Restrictions on building lots on St. Asaph’s Road according to George B. Roberts Estate R0115
Road Book of Pennsylvania Eastern Section R0116
Newspaper clippings R0117
Telegram to Miss Nellie Taylor R0118
Agreement between Miriam P. Roberts, G. Brinton Roberts and Algernon B. Roberts, Trustees of the Estate of George B. Roberts and Jane B. Reichner R0119
Map of Property of T. Williams Roberts R0120
20th Century Manufacturing Co. Catalogue of Auto and Bicycle parts and accessories R0121
Evening Public Ledger and unlabeled clippings R0122
Modern Roberts Genealogy R0123
Notations on family tree R0124
Handwritten note from Wales R0125
Lower Merion Township R0126
Brooke Family Genealogy R0127
Partial book for children”The Peahen at Home” R0128
St. Asaph Church Memorabilia R0129
Conveyance of property and Descriptions of two small tracts of land R0130
Regarding restrictions in Deeds conveying property on St. Asaphs, Llanberris and State Roads, Bala, belonging to the estate of Geo. B. Roberts and Deed to Jessie Harris Perot from G. Brinton Roberts et al R0131
Restrictions on Lot on Llanberris Road, Cynwyd R0132
American Defense Society – Military and Naval Efficiency for the United States R0133
Observations on the Roberts family in America R0134
W. M. Edwards letter to T. Williams Roberts R0135
An Adventure in Practical Patriotism (City Line Avenue improvement) R0136
Letters of inquiry from Mrs. Sturgis and notes by Mr. Roberts in response R0137
Main Line Times R0138
Colonial Philadelphia No. 10 R0139
Roberts Family Graves at Merion Meeting Cemetery R0140
‘Our Welsh Heritage’ R0141
Letter to Dr. D. Macfarlan R0142
Letter to ‘Jacq’ and letter to Uncle Wib R0143
Letter to Mrs. R. B. Evans regarding family pedigrees R0144
Letters and notes dealing with family genealogy R0144A
Re: Selling of Pencoyd property and Aerial map of Pencoyd property R0145
Letters regarding family tree and D.A.R. membership R0146
Two letters to T. Williams Roberts regarding family ancestry R0147
Two letters and two photos of T. Williams Roberts & daughter, Gainor R0148
Letter to T. Williams Roberts concerning Rowland’s trip to Wales R0149
Letter to J.? Williams Roberts (T. Williams?) R0150
Bala-Cynwyd – Description of Pencoyd Farm by recent purchaser of the Roberts land R0151
Reproduction of Franklin Survey Map R0152
Skyphotos of Stratford, New Jersey R0153
“House at the ‘Head of the Woods’ Dates Back to 1684 and Days of Welsh Quaker Settlers R0154
$55 Million ‘Office City’ Planned Here R0155
Main Line Chronicle R0156
Remarks presented to Sound Money League of Pennsylvania R0157
Short bio for Episcopal Academy Class Reunion R0158
View Album — Pictures taken of Pencoyd from 1880-1883 R0159
Dinner to honor George B. Roberts, Esq. R0160
Holy Communion Book at Confirmation of Thomas Williams Roberts R0161
Book of Common Prayer R0162
Book of Common Prayer R0163
Book of Common Prayer and attached Hymnal R0164
Diary of Owen Jones of Wynnewood R0165
Family Bible R0166
Account Book of Mary Jones & John Jones R0167
Bible R0168
Release to Thomas Jones in full for land and buildings on which he lives and full payment for his share of a Negro man named Peter and a Negro women named Hannah R0169
Election to the Colonial Dames of America R0170
“Your Municipality” Handbook of L. M. Township R0171
The Church of Saint Asaph, Bala R0172
Deed of Confirmation R0173
Deed R0174
Indenture R0175
Indenture R0176
Indenture R0177
Deed (Indenture) R0179
Deed R0180
Indenture (Deed) between John Nicholson, Esq. and William Smith, D.D. R0181
Indenture (Deed) R0182
Deed R0183
Draught of Geo. Roberts Farm R0184
Personal Cash Book of Algernon B. Roberts R0185
Algernon Brooke Roberts Cash Account & List of Securities R0186
The Record –Supplement of Newspaper R0187
Roberts’ Hand Shown in School Site Controversy R0188
United for Roberts R0189
Indenture between Edward Jones & John Thomas and Gainor Robert for land R0190
Fire Insurance Policy issued to Algernon Roberts in Lower Merion Township R0191
Indenture: Release: Jonathan Jones to Robert Roberts – Pencoyd Lands, 156 acres R0192
Indenture for transfer of property in Lower Merion Township bounded by property of Benjamin Humphreys, etc. R0194
Indenture: Property to Robert Roberts R0195
Indenture for tract of land in Merion R0196
Release from Howel Powel, James Fugeril and wife to Robert Roberts R0197
Copy of official order from Commissioners of Property granting a resurvey of John Roberts’ property R0198
Survey of John Roberts’ properties R0199
Memorandum of John Roberts’ land R0200
An account by John Roberts of his conversion and trip to Pennsylvania R0201
J. Andrew Wheeler Bond of Obligation to John Roberts R0202
Resurveys of John Roberts’ land R0203
Deed of confirmation: Algernon Roberts to son, John Roberts R0204
Release of Jonathan Jones from Ann Roberts R0205
Deed between Isaac Roberts and John Roberts for plantation in Merion R0206
Deed: Thomas Norris & Hannah, his wife to Mark Freeman R0207
Deed: William Aduddell and wife to Woolery Meng, Melcher Meng and Jacob Coleman R0208
Testimonial to honor Thomas Williams Roberts R0218
Nine Photographs of Pencoyd & One of Snowden R0219
Deed: Robert Roberts to Evan Jones for 50 acres R0209
Indenture (Deed) between William Smith, D.D. and John Nicholson, Esq. for 220 acres in Lower Merion R0210
Indenture between Algernon Roberts, seller and George Hansell, buyer R0211
Deed: To John & William Warner land in Blockley from John Powell R0212
Hand drawn plot plan (Draught) of George Roberts Farm R0213
Prayer Book R0214
“Imitation of Christ” – Book of Sermons R0215
Bible written in Welsh R0216
Bible R0217
Deed between John Ott & Mary, his wife, and Anthony Levering, miller R0220
Deed between Anthony Levering, miller, & Sarah, his wife and Willliam Stadelman, Inn holder, 29 acres, 35 perches R0221
Deed, between John Taylor, farmer, & Jane, his wife and John Litzerberg, merchant for a messuage, pieces of land and Red Lion Tavern., 11 acres, 37 perches R0222
Drawing of Pencoyd R0223
Grateful Appreciation of Thomas Williams Roberts’ service to the Church R0224
Indenture issued to John Thomas and Dr. Edward Jones from William Penn R0225

For three years, a group of volunteers working for the Lower Merion Historical Society took on the task of organizing and cataloguing these materials. The lead researcher was Ann Bagley of Merion who was assisted by Charles Timm of Narberth, Philip Eidelson of Merion, and Gerald Francis of Bala Cynwyd. Updated March 2003