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 Richford, M. E. bishop, born in Frederick county, Maryland, 2 August, 1778; died in Lawrence county, Indiana, 26 March. 1843. His father was of Welsh and his mother of Irish ancestry, and they were communicants of the Church of England. They removed in 1785 to Ligonier Valley, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The son united with the Methodist Episcopal church when he was fourteen years old. Until he was twenty-one he lived a thoroughly frontier life, with few books and simple habits. Being drawn gradually toward the ministry, he began to study, and in 1802 entered upon that work, being licensed at Holmes's meeting-house, near Cadiz, Ohio. About the same time he was admitted to the Baltimore conference and put in charge of a circuit including Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and twenty-nine other appointments, requiring a month to visit them all. He studied constantly, and in 1804 a senior colleague reported that "his moral character was perfect and his head a complete magazine." On 14 May, 1816, he was elected bishop, and he passed through all the discussions that culminated in the establishment of the Methodist Protestant church. Bishop Simpson, writing of him, says: " While during these excitements severe and exciting denunciations of the bishops were publicly made--while they were called 'popes' and 'usurpers'--the patriarchal appearance and the humble and loving manner of Bishop Roberts disarmed prejudice wherever he went." He emigrated to Indiana, and accomplished much for the western missions. He was a man of fine presence, simple and benevolent, and an eloquent preacher, tie is buried at Greencastle, Indiana, on the grounds of De Pauw university. See his "Life," by Reverend Charles Elliott (New York, 1853).
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