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Roberts, William Randall (1830-1897), merchant, politician, and Fenian  

Sylvia B. Larson

Roberts, William Randall (06 February 1830–09 August 1897), merchant, politician, and Fenian, was born in Mitchelstown, county Cork, Ireland, the son of Randall Roberts and Mary Bishop. Nothing is known about his parents’ occupations. William received only a little education, and at the age of nineteen he immigrated to the United States. He went to work in New York City as a dry goods clerk. In 1857 Roberts went into business for himself but was financially ruined in the panic of that same year. He began again, however, and ran his own store in the Bowery so successfully that by 1869 he was able to retire from business as a wealthy man....