Died: c. December 13, 1934
Married: Rosamond P. Wakefield Roberts, d. February 1929
William F. Roberts was a real estate dealer ("renting cottages a specialty"), an insurance agent (Equitable Life), a "notary public with seal", and an operator of an "intelligence bureau", according to signs that adorned the Roberts Block, built in 1900. He was named village police constable at the first Village Board meeting in 1892, and he was made Saranac Lake's postmaster in 1889. 1
His name also appears in the Disinfection Records of two cure cottages, 24 Front Street and 118 Main Street, though it is likely that he did not operate them himself, but rather acted as rental agent for the houses.
An advertisement in the February 4, 1915 Adirondack Daily Enterprise reads "If You Want a Camp, Cottage, or Building Site Anywhere in the Adirondacks, Write for Free Illustrated Booklet. Camps rent for $200 a season to $7000.00 per season. Camps for sale from $1500.00 to $50,000.00." It listed furnished cottages in Highland Park for $75 and $100 per month, a furnished log cabin on Franklin Avenue for $50 per month, and two furnished camps in Lake placid for $1600 and $1700 per season.
The Roberts home was at 98 Main Street, next to the Saranac Lake Free Library. He had a camp on state land on Lower Saranac Lake, but he removed it by 1904 when the state ended the leases under which such camps were allowed. 2 By 1908, he had a camp on the Saranac River. 3 As a member or members, William F. Roberts and his wife, Rosamond, were named in the sale of Pontiac Club property to the Saranac Lake Boys' Club, Inc., in 1917.
He is buried in Pine Ridge Cemetery.
Ausable Forks Record Post, December 13, 1934
W.F. ROBERTS, SARANAC LAKE PIONEER, DEAD
William F. Roberts, 81, a resident of Saranac Lake more than 50 years, died recently at his home, 118 Main street, after an illness of nearly two years.
One of the pioneer real estate and insurance men of the Adirondacks, he was instrumental in the early development of the village of Saranac Lake, When he first went to the resort village, Milo B. Miller's store and the postoffice which was located in it, Blood's hotel and the Berkeley, were the important public buildings of the village.
Born January 30, 1850, near Elizabethtown, son of Samuel and Susan Lee Roberts, he received his early education in the schools of that vicinity. On May 12, 1874, he was united in marriage in North Hudson to Rosamond Wakefield, who died in February, 1929. The couple went to Saranac Lake, making their residence in a house which stood on the present site of the town hall.
For more than 10 years he was clerk in Miller's hotel, later serving in the same position in the Stevens House in Lake Placid. Appointed postmaster at Saranac Lake in 1890 by President Harrison, he held the office for five years. It was during this time that his attention was first drawn to the need for a real estate agency in that village.
He erected many of the present business blocks in Saranac Lake, and his name became closely associated with real estate developments thruout the Adirondacks. He retired from the real estate and insurance business in 1921, selling his interest to Herbert R. Leggett. 4
One of the charter numbers of the Saranac Lake National bank, he served as one of its directors for many years. A member of Whiteface Mountain Lodge, 789, Masons, he was chairman of the order for more than 30 years. Always taking an active part in civic and religious duties, he assisted in the building of First Presbyterian church in 1890, being one of its elders at the time of his death.
He is survived by several nieces and nephews. Services were held at 2 o'clock Friday afternoon in First Presbyterian church, with Rev. Hiram W. Lyon, pastor of the church, officiating. Burial was in Pine Ridge cemetery, Saranac Lake, where his wife also is buried, and Masonic funeral service was held at the grave by Whiteface Mountain lodge.
1. Adirondack News, December 14, 1889
2. Malone Farmer, September 14, 1904
3. Ticonderoga Sentinel, April 30, 1908
4. A 1915 Leggett ad suggests that this happened six years earlier.