Rev. George W. Roberts
Reporter's Notes: Dec. 29, 1971 Ardmore Oklahoma by Mac McGalliard. Transcribed by Eleanor Wyatt
Pioneer Goes Back Home
North of Gene Autry, on a hilltop overlooking Cool Creek valley in edge of the Arbuckle Mountains, is a little old Negro church, the Calvary Baptist Church, and beside the church is the Calvary Cemetery. Last Week Rev. George Roberts was laid to rest in the little cemetery. It was a trip back home for this kindly old Negro preacher who for about 60 of his 88 years had been preaching the gospel as pastor or associate pastor of churches around here.
We are indebted to Mrs. Marie Garland of Ardmore for more information on Rev. Roberts. He was a true native of Southern Oklahoma, born was of Springer near the Arbuckles in 1883 before there was any Ardmore. His parents then moved to north of Gene Autry and George attended Dawes Academy. As far as we know he was the last surviving student of that first Negro school established in the Chickasaw Nation of Indian Territory. The Academy was located where Calvary Church now stands. After leaving the school, Rev. Roberts was a cowboy until he was 27 and was converted and baptized in Cool Creek. The first pastor of the Calvary Church was his grandfather Ned Roberts, who was born in slavery in Mississippi.
James Nash, Noble Foundation staff member and recently elected without opposition, as the first black member of the Ardmore Board of Education, is grandson of Rev. Roberts. Mrs. Garland, who visited many times with the old preacher, paid the following fine tribute after his passing, 'He was a special person, gentle, humble, cheerful, religious of course, tolerant and forgiving with understanding. My life is truly richer for having known him.' Rev. Roberts was living at 21 H street NE in Ardmore, and he was a true Ardmore area pioneer of the kind we can all be proud of.
The Dawes Academy