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, Joseph Jenkins, president of Liberia, born in Norfolk, Virginia, 15 March, 1809 ; died in Monrovia, Liberia, 24 February, 1876. He was a negro and the son of "Aunty Robos," as she was familiarly called in Petersburg, Virginia, whence she emigrated with her three sons to Liberia in 1829. When the colony of Liberia was founded by the American colonization society he was first lieutenant-governor and then governor of the colony, and, upon the formation of the republic in 1848, he was elected its first president, serving four years. When there was a revolt against President Edward J. Roye (q. v.) in 1871, he was again made president, serving until 1875. He encouraged agriculture, promoted education, favored emigration from the United States, and placed his people on friendly terms with European nations. From 1856 until his death he was president of Liberia college.--His brother, John Wright, M. E. bishop, born in Petersburg, Virginia, in 1815; died in Monrovia, Liberia, 30 January. 1875, was educated in Liberia, entered the Methodist ministry in 1838, served as pastor, presiding elder, and secretary, and was made bishop in 1866.
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