Mrs. Frank Robert Sr. Obituary
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The following obituary of Melanie LeDuc Robert, Pip's mother, appeared in the December 19, 1925, St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch.
Mrs. Frank Robert Sr., Resident of St. Paul for 72 Years, Dies at 89.
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Another link in the chain that binds the St. Paul of today to the frontier village that was the city of those pioneer times was broken Friday with the death of Mrs. Frank Robert, Sr., at the home of .her son, Frank Robert, Jr., chief deputy sheriff of Ramsey county, 549 Fuller avenue.
Mrs. Robert was 89 years old. For more than 70 years she had been a resident of St. Paul. In youth she knew the city when it was little more than a trading post, a frontier settlement 300 miles from the railroad, coming here with her parents by ox team from Galena, Ill.
Its days of romance, the years before the Civil war, the time of the second gold rush to the West, the era of Indian wars were the days of her own romance, of young womanhood. love and marriage to a man who, like herself. was first pioneer adventurer and then a builder of the solid destiny of a state.
Mrs. Robert came to St. Paul in 1853. Her maiden name was Milaine LeDuc. Her parents were French-Canadian, tracing decent from early French voyagers in the valley of the St. Lawrence, when the 13 colonies were dominions of the English king.
They came from Montreal to Galena, Ill., by water and rail. At Galena they started West and North in an old-time "prairie schooner," drawn by oxen, their cattle and other stock driven along beside. Arriving at St. PauI, the oldest son, Benjamin LeDuc, built a hotel, the Montreal House, at the corner of Fourth and Minnesota streets where the Pioneer Press and Dispatch building now stands. Milaine, then 17, helped, her brother in the hotel.
It was while working at the Montreal House that Miss LeDuc first met Frank Robert. He was then 25, a painter by trade, by inclination the adventurous type who did so large a share in conquering the western wilderness. Robert had lived in Minnesota several years before the LeDucs came. He was of Scotch descent, not related but an intimate friend of Louis Robert, of French Canadian ancestry, for whom Robert street later was named.
Robert and Miss LeDuc were married in 1856 at the old Cathedral, standing where the Hamm building is now, On St. Peter street between Fifth and Sixth streets. Robert built their home on what was then the outskirts of town, at Eleventh and Wabasha streets, near where the St. Paul City Railway offices are now.
For six years they lived happily together. Then, in 1862, adventure again called Robert West. News of the discovery of gold in Nevada caused the second rush across the Great American desert. Robert took the long journey overland to the Washoo river Eldorado.
He had prospered in the years that he had lived in Minnesota and left his wife with enough cash so she could care for herself and their three small children without working. Also he sent remittances during the three years he was gone.
But those three years were dark ones in her life nevertheless. It was during the husband's absence that two of the three children died.
Frank Robert, Jr., the eldest child, remembers the day his father returned from Nevada, particularly the awe excited in the little family when he took off a belt and revealed the treasure it contained--$1,700 in freshly minted gold, a veritable fortune in those days of money stringency following the Civil war.
With Edwin S. Beck Robert founded the Beck and Robert company, which on the death of the two original partners became the present day firm of Bazille and Partridge. Other children came, two girls and six more boys. Those were happy years, Mrs. Robert, told her children, years when she and her husband prospered as the city grew and became great.
In 1907 Mr. and Mrs. Robert went to North Yakima, Wash., where for three years, until the death of Mr. Robert, they made their home with a son, Joseph E. Robert, On her husband's death Mrs. Robert returned to St. Paul, living at the home of Frank Robert, Jr., until her death.
Mrs. Robert, was in excellent health until about three months ago. Then the weight of years began to bear her down. There was no particular malady, physicians said, just the burden of her many years.
Funeral services will take place at St. Louis French Catholic church, Tenth street and Cedar street, but definite arrangements will await word from the four sons in the West, who with Frank Robert Jr., survive. They are Joseph E., North Yakima, Wash.; Louis and Charles of Portland, Ore., and Fred of Sutherland, Ore.
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