Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ROBERTS, Robert Ellis, author, born in Utica, New York, 3 June, 1809; died in Detroit, Michigan, 18 February, 1888. He was educated by his father, the Reverend John Roberts, a Congregational clergyman, and in 1827 went to Detroit, where he engaged in business. In 1832 he was a volunteer in the Black Hawk war, after which he again entered mercantile life. He was identified with the interests of Detroit, being active in causing the thoroughfares to be paved, in organizing" the fire department, of which he was the first president, and in establishing the waterworks. He served on the board of education, established the public library, and held local offices. Mr. Roberts contributed to the Detroit "Free Press," and was the author of "Sketches of the City of Detroit" (Detroit, 1855), and "The City of the Straits," illustrated by his daughter, Cornelia H. Roberts (1884).
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