Esther Adeline Robertson (1850-1876)
James Washington Thomas Robertson had three wives. This is the story of his first wife, Esther. She was the daughter of JWT’s uncle, so they were first cousins and her maiden name was Robertson. Her father, Washington Hughes was brother to George Washington Henry (qv). Her mother was Priscilla Evans.
This information has been superseded. We now have documented proof that George’s parents were Elias Robertson and Frances Willing. Elias died in 1832, Frances in 1850. Elias’s will names his children: Samuel, George W., Francis, Mary J., John Q., and Henry C. Robertson. The distribution of Frances’s estate also lists her sons as such: Samuel; George W., who is also administrator; another son, Frances; daughter Mary Williams, “wife of Jeremiah Williams”; and sons John Q. and Henry C.Robertson. See Everything You Know Is Wrong.
Maryland Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940, Somerset County County, County courts, Maryland; FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-G5FC-9LMJ?owc=34K5-HZ9%3A83639001%2C101028501%3Fcc%3D1542664), Robertson, Elias (SROE32UN3490)
Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999, Somerset County, Citing Prerogative Court. Hall of Records, Annapolis; FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYM6-W9R?owc=SNYQ-PTL%3A146534601%3Fcc%3D1803986&wc=SNYZ-YWL%3A146534601%2C146669201&cc=1803986), Administration accounts 1845-1851 vol 2, Francis Robertson pp. 246-247 (261-262 of 287).
Esther was the first offspring of Washington Robertson and Priscilla Evans to survive past childhood. She first appears in the 1850 census as Hester, age 3/12. She was born in 22 April and the date of this enumeration is August so that puts her age at about 3 months. Washington and Priscilla are the only other family members listed.
In the 1860 census Esther is 9. Her younger brothers are listed — Washington 7, Oscar 5, Sydney 3, and a baby sister Lily or Sally. Sydney and Lily will both die in Sept. 1866. Esther and JWT Robertson were married in 1869, so she doesn’t appear with her parents after this.
As with so many of our female ancestors, Esther is largely hidden, and even more so because she died so young. James and Esther were married 12 May 1869. She had just turned 19 and he was 20. As of the 1870 census, she is again listed as “Hester.” At 20 years old she is “keeping house” for the head of house, JWT who is a “sailor.” No children yet.
Within 7 years, Esther gave birth to 3 daughters. First was Carrie Roberta in 1870 followed by Eva Blanch in 1872 and Alice Talmage in 1874. Esther died 13 April 1876, one week short of 26. Her three babies were 6, 4 and 2. Esther’s death led to founding the Robertson Cemetery.