The Roberts Family Collection
John Roberts of Pencoyd (Maltster)
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 and an iron works.
|John Roberts came to the area of Pennsylvania called Merion in November
In January 1684, John married Gaynor Roberts who was a fellow
passenger on the sailing ship Morning Star. Their marriage was the
first such 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
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.
A portion of the first page of John Robert's bible, printed
in Welsh prior to 1702
- Founder of Pencoyd: John Roberts, 1648 (Wales)-1724.
- Second Proprietor of Pencoyd: Robert Roberts, 1685-1768.
- Third Proprietor of Pencoyd: John Roberts, 1710-1776.
- Fourth Proprietor of Pencoyd: Algernon Roberts, 1751-1815.
- Fifth Proprietor of Pencoyd: Isaac Warner Roberts, 1789-1859.
- Sixth Proprietor of Pencoyd: George Brooke Roberts, 1833-1897.
- Seventh Proprietor of Pencoyd: T. Williams Roberts, 1877-1962.
Updated March 2003
|For safe keeping, in 1999 members of the Roberts family presented The
Lower Merion Historical Society with many of their family records. This
collection consists of more than 280 items; indentures, letters,
diaries, bibles, and account books, some dating back to the first
settler, John Roberts. 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.
For the past 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.
A datestone from the family home at Pencoyd, commemorating
the arrival of John Roberts in 1683.