Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Carrollton Arthur Roberts (1903-1979)

Portrait from the Fairport Herald Mail.

    A recent discovery as far as unusual names are concerned, Judge Carrollton Arthur Roberts of Ontario County, New York is very likely the only man named "Carrollton" ever to be elected to public office in New York state. A veteran of the First World War, Roberts was a former District Attorney for Ontario County and in 1943 began a quarter-century tenure as Ontario County Judge. In the twilight of his life, further honors were accorded to him when he won election to the New York State Supreme Court, being elected at the ripe old age of sixty-four.
  The son of Milton and Mary Roberts, Carrollton A. Roberts was born on January 30, 1903 and spent his early years in Geneva, New York. He would attend a boarding school in Dayton, Ohio during his adolescence and at the dawn of American involvement in World War I enlisted in the Army, joining the 29th Engineers. His time with that unit saw him deployed to both Germany and France, and in the latter country "served in the four American engagements, Soissons, Chateau Thierry, St. Mihiel and the Argonne Forest." 
  Following his return stateside Carrollton Roberts entered into law studies at Cornell University, attending that school from 1925-1928. He would continue his studies at the University of North Carolina's Law School and was admitted to the New York bar in the early 1930s. Soon after his admittance Roberts entered into a clerkship at the Geneva-based law firm of Lapham, McGreevy and Ryan, with whom he would be affiliated for several years. During this time he made his first foray into local politics, being elected to the Geneva Common Council
   In 1935 Carrollton Roberts won election as Geneva City Treasurer, holding that post until his election as District Attorney of Ontario County two years later. Roberts would serve six years as District Attorney and in 1943 succeeded to the post of Ontario County Judge. His tenure on the bench extended twenty-five years, and during that time also served in the capacity of family and surrogate court judge. Judge Roberts married in 1950 to Flint, Michigan native Alice Marie Light and later had two children, Marianne and Gregory.
  Three years after taking the reins as county judge Carrollton A. Roberts announced that he would be seeking the Republican nomination for Congress from New York's 38th district. Hoping to wrest the nomination from thirteen-term incumbent John Taber (1880-1965), Roberts faced an uphill battle. The Newark Courier-Gazette reported on that year's primary election, relating that Roberts:
"Is expected only to reap the harvest of the longstanding Townsend opposition to Taber because of his refusal to vote on the Old Age Revolving Pension Plan of Dr. Townsend."
From the Newark Herald Courier Gazette, August 15, 1946.

   When the primary votes were cast in late August 1946 it was John Taber who claimed victory. He would continue to serve in Congress until 1963, retiring after a total of 41 years of service.  Despite this loss, Roberts would continue as Ontario County Judge, and after a quarter-century on the bench set his sights on a higher judicial position, that of Supreme Court Justice for New York's 7th Judicial District. Several New York newspapers in that district touted Roberts' judicial experience during the 1967 election year and in November Roberts won election to that court.
   Elected as a justice at the age of 64, Roberts would serve only four years on the Supreme Court, announcing his retirement on February 1, 1972. Little is known of Roberts' life following his retirement, excepting notice of his death in Broward County, Florida on June 6, 1979. A burial location for Roberts remains unknown at this time but is presumed to be somewhere in the Ontario County area.

From the Fairport Herald Mail, Nov. 1, 1967.


  1. Carrollton lived on South Main St. in Geneva. Hobart bought his house from his widow Alice Roberts after Carrollton passed away He was also part owner of Ontario Sand & gravel which was the first ready mix concrete supplier in the area. I managed the Middle St. Ready Mix plant which Ontario bought from mohawk paving for 23 years as a working supervisor Till Carrollton pased away then they closed the plant and eventually sold everything to DeWitt Ready Mix including the pit on route 96. Ralph Calabrese

    1. I forgot to mention the Roberts also owned the Kirkwood Hotel.