I always knew that my Uncle Tom Davis and Aunt Sadie raised (yes, I know it should be reared) a girl that was not their own. What I didn’t know was why or even who she was until I met Edna Robbins Roberson. As it turns out, that little girl grew up to be Edna’s beloved mother-in-law, and even though she is long gone from this earth, Edna still shook her head and sighed when she remembered what that long ago little girl had to endure.
Ella Dorcas (Deen) Roberson was born in Mena, Arkansas on December 12, 1890. Her parents were Frederick Pierce Deen and Sarah Jane (Johnson) Deen. Sarah died in Arkansas five years later in July of 1895.
After Sarah’s death, Frederick moved Ella and her little sister to his parents’ home in Hamilton, Texas while he moved to Comanche to operate a wagon yard, etc. Frederick eventually moved on, leaving the girls with their grandparents.
When the grandparents’ health began to fail, some of the older siblings took the younger girls in order to care for them. Ella was about ten-years-old when this happened. Although it is unknown which older brother took her in, family lore has it that she was made to work very hard. One day, she was sent to the field to work; when she returned home that evening, her few belongings were on the front porch, and the house was empty, void of both people and furniture.
The little girl had no idea what to do so she sat down on the porch. Mr. Hasley came riding by on his horse, and he asked the girl why she was just sitting there alone. Ella explained her situation, and Mr. Hasley dismounted and did his own investigating.
When he realized that she was indeed quite alone he said, “Come, Ella. I’ll take you to Grandpa and Grandma Davis. They have so many children, one more won’t make a bit of difference.”
Isaac and Catherine (Cummings) Davis came to Comanche County from Alabama in 1872. One of their sons, Tom, married Sarah “Sadie” Jane McConnell in Comanche County, Texas. Tom and Sadie had thirteen children of their own, but they opened their door to their new foster child, Ella Dorcas Deen, who lived with them until she married Daniel Franklin Roberson on December 14, 1909.
Daniel Franklin Roberson married Lona Coker in Comanche County, Texas in 1895. The couple had two children, Myrtle, who married Howard Matthews, and Cyril, who married Eva Isham. Lona (Coker) Roberson died in 1908.
“Dan and Ella Roberson, my father-in-law and mother-in-law, along with four of their children, are buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Comanche, Texas. Their oldest daughter, Juanita, and her husband, Wade Chancellor, are buried in the Garden of Memories Cemetery. Dan Roberson died in 1943; I did not know him as well as I knew Mother Roberson. She was a very nice-looking, friendly, talented lady. She had a beautiful alto voice, played the piano and taught her daughters to play, gave piano lessons, and taught Sunday School. She also helped to raise two granddaughters, Nita Lou and Billie.
“Dan was very talented also, and most of his talent came from Alex Roberson’s wife, Viola (Lane) Roberson. Viola’s brothers also wrote music and songs, taught singing schools, etc. Dan and Ella Roberson, along with Charlie Marshall and Fred Roberson, sang gospel songs over the air-waves of the Dublin Radio Station each Saturday. Fred was about sixteen at the time.”