Catharina Roberson

Is your surname Roberson?

Research the Roberson family

Catharina Roberson's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Catharina Roberson (Helvey)

Also Known As: "Catherine Helva", "Catherine Helbay"
Birthdate: (70)
Birthplace: Wythe County, Virginia, United States
Death: Died in New Market, Platte County, Missouri, United States
Place of Burial: Dearborn, Platte County, Missouri, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Henry Helvey and Susanna Helvey
Wife of James Roberson, of Lee County
Partner of Joseph Barron, Indian Trader
Mother of William Nathaniel Gale Barron, Sr; Joanna Collier; Mahala Crabtree; Catherine Roberson; Rufus Morgan Roberson and 4 others
Sister of ... Helvey; Susanna Hobbes; Mary Elizabeth "Molly" Davis / Casebolt; Henry Helvey, Jr.; Margaret Hutsell and 4 others

Managed by: Justin Swanström
Last Updated:

About Catharina Roberson

Catharina (Helvey) Roberson (1781-1851), a pioneer of Platte County, Missouri.

She was named in her mother's 1794 will and was listed as an heir in her father's 1800 estate settlement.

"According to family members, Catherine and her first "husband" Joseph Barron were living in what is now Wythe County, Virginia when Barron left his family and went to Norfolk to sell his furs. Soon after, the news came to Catherine that there had been a big Indian raid and she, supposing he was killed after he did not return in a reasonable length of time, took her small children and went to Tennessee, to the Watauga Settlement in Carter County, where her uncle, William Nathaniel Gale lived, and for whom she had named her baby boy, who was born before leaving Virginia. Mr. Gale reared the lad and later made him his sole heir. Some time later, Catherine married a Mr. Roberts, or Robinson [James Roberson], in Tennessee." (Godspeed 1886)

Some descendants have elaborated the story, making it even more romantic:

"A favorite family tale relates how the couple lost each other. They were residing in Wythe County, when Joseph went off to Norfolk to ship some furs.Soon after, news came to Catherine that there had been a big Indian raid with many fatalities. When Joseph did not return at the time expected, she assumed he'd been killed and took her children to Tennessee, to the Wautauga Settlement, where she sought shelter with her uncle, William Nathaniel Gale. She had named her baby boy, born before leaving Virginia, for Mr. Gale, who reared the lad and later made him his sole heir. Some time later Catherine married a Roberts or Robinson in Tennessee. Joseph, returning home, found Catherine gone. Eventually, he learned of her whereabouts and remarriage. He remained in Wythe County, set up a business with a Mr. Warner and remarried a Rhoda Mary Finley in September 1803." (Martha Tyler Graham, "Re: Wythe County Helveys", Feb. 2, 2000 at

The story can't be entirely accurate. This is expected. Godspeed Publishing produced its History of Tennessee in 1886. As stated in the text, this story came from family members, probably descendants of Gale Barron, about 80 years after these events.

Catherine's two children with Joseph Barron were born about 1801 and 1804 but the Cherokee attacks essentially ended with the massacre at Cavett's Station (near Knoxville) in 1793 and the killing of Chief Benge in 1794. Moreover, Norfolk is on the eastern coast of Virginia, while the Cherokee wars were inland.

Joseph Barron married another woman in 1803 in Wythe County, which must have ended his relationship with Catharina.

Then too, it does not seem that Catharina took her children to Tennessee in 1803. An 1823 affidavit says Catherine entrusted her son, age 4 or 5, to Henry Sheffey and Thomas Warner (Barron's business partner in Wythe County), who took him to her uncle in Tennessee about 1805. Further, "Gale and Barron were on terms of great intimacy and friendship." It seems, then, that Catharina in Wythe County sent her son with a friend of her former lover to her uncle, who was another friend of his. This affidavit and testimony was probably made in connection with the lawsuit against Thomas Warner as executor of Joseph Barron's estate, in proceedings at Wythe County in 1824. The case went to the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and was finally settled in 1831.

She was almost certainly married to James Roberson about 1803-1810, but I have not been able to find a record of her marriage. The passage above says she was living in Tennessee at the time of her marriage. Her uncle William Gale lived there in 1805. In 1809 and 1812 he was living in Sullivan County on the road to Lee Court House. Her sister Mary was living in adjoining Lee County, Virginia as early as 1792. Taken together, these facts suggest she was married in Sullivan or Lee counties about 1810.

She was not the Catharun Mann who married James Robertson on 6 April 1820 at Rutledge, Grainger County, Tennessee. That was a different couple.

Guardianship papers for her son were recorded 18 August 1812 in Sullivan County, Tennessee, and re-recorded 1816 in Washington County, Virginia. William Gale kept a "house of entertainment" (a tavern, and perhaps also an inn) in Sullivan County on the way to Lee Court House from 1809. So, the 1812 papers were filed where he was living, and perhaps Catharina also. The 1816 papers were recorded where she must have been living. There is an indenture recorded by a Catherine Robertson in Sullivan County but it is probably too early to be her, (Sullivan County Register of Deeds, Vol. 2: 1788-1796, p. 264).

From about 1813 Catharina and her husband lived at Lee County, Virginia, as did her sister Susanna and brother-in-law Absolom Hobbs, and her sister Mary and brother-in-law John Casebolt. Some sources say she was living there in 1801 when her son Gale Barron was born, although Godspeed says explicitly he was born in Wythe County.

Joseph Barron provided for his children by Catherine in his 1815 will. To Catharine Helbay's son Gale Barron, he gave his plantation in Anderson County, Tennessee, and to her daughter Joanna Barron, a house and lot in Williamsburg, Jackson County, Tennessee. Barron calls her Catherine Helbay and Catherine Hebbaley, perhaps suggesting she and James Roberson were not yet married when he made his will.

She might have been in Washington County, Virginia in 1816 when the guardianship papers for her son Gale Barron were recorded there.

After her second husband died, about 1838 or 1839, Catherine moved with her grown children to Platte County, Missouri. Janet (Palmatier) Leverett said (1999) that the Roberson family were Cherokee and came west on the Trail of Tears (1838).

She appears as Catherine Robinson on the 1840 census of Platte County. Her household consisted of 1 female 60-70 (herself), 3 males 20-30 (sons Rufus, Benjamin and Craig), 1 female 15-20 (daughter Regina), and 1 female 5-10 (unknown).

She appeared on the 1850 census next to her son Benjamin and with her son Craig and his family in her household. She died in intestate in 1851. Her gravestone says, Kathrine Roberson d. 7-26-1851, aged 70 years. On 14 August 1851 her son Benjamin Robeson posted bond as administrator of her estate. In 1853 a copy of her husband's will was recorded in the Platte County, Missouri Probate Court, in conjunction with the administration of Katherine's estate.

Her maiden name, birth date, and relationship to her husband and sons are shown by the LDS International Genealogical Index for Platte County, Missouri. This source indexes an LDS film "Official temple record for deceased individuals, 1991- #1903870. The LDS Church did not document the source of the information. According to this source, her name was "Katherine Helva" and her husband was "James Roberson."

She might have been particularly close to her brother Jacob Helvey, whose descendants used the given names Morgan and Pinckney. Jacob moved to Indianapolis before 1825; her granddaughter Rachel Roberson is said to have married at Indianapolis.

  • Emigration: Circa 1803 - Carter Co, Tennessee
  • Emigration: on the Trail of Tears - 1838 - Oklahoma
  • Emigration: 1839 - Platte Co, Missouri
  • Census: June 1 1840 - Platte Co, Missouri
  • Census: Oct 11 1850 - Green Twp, Platte Co, Missouri


view all 13

Catharina Roberson's Timeline

March 10, 1781
Wythe County, Virginia, United States
December 1, 1801
Age 20
Wythe County, Virginia, United States
Age 22
Lee County, Virginia, United States
Age 22
Wythe County, Virginia, United States
Age 28
Virginia, United States
Age 29
Wythe County, Virginia, United States
March 1, 1813
Age 31
Lee County, Virginia, United States
Age 35
Lee County, Virginia, United States
Age 38
Lee County, Virginia, United States