Mary Louisa Walker Roberts was born on June 2, 1835, in Sadsbury Township, Pennsylvania. She was about to graduate from Baltimore Female College when the Civil War broke out and, although a Northerner, she sympathized with the South's cause and crossed the line into Richmond to volunteer for the Confederacy. The new government assigned her as a nurse at Howard's Grove Hospital where she served for four years. Towards the end of the war, as the need for supplies became increasingly desperate, Roberts traveled to Canada to raise money for medicine and bandages. The task was not for the faint of heart as her boat was shipwrecked, the supplies had to be transported by sled over the frozen St. Lawrence River, and the Union tightened the blockade on Southern ports. She painted the ship white in an attempt to look like a pleasure yacht and successfully broke through the Union blockade at Galveston.
After the war, Roberts returned to Baltimore to teach and was reacquainted with John Coleman Roberts. John served in the Confederacy as part of Hood's Texas Brigade and lost an arm at the Battle of Gaines Mill in Virginia, after which Mary nursed him back to health. The two began a lengthy courtship and eventually were married in 1869. The Roberts moved to Texas and settled near Bremond, where the family came to play a major role in the development of Robertson County. They were influential in bringing Polish families to settle in the region and she served as the godmother for several Polish children born in the area. The couple had one son who survived to adulthood. Roberts died in Texas on February 2, 1911.
More information about Mary Louisa Walker Roberts can be found in the John Coleman and Mary Louisa Walker Roberts papers. This finding aid is currently incomplete. Please e-mail The Texas Collection at email@example.com for more information.