A strong thread of American patriotism is evident in both the ancestors and descendants of Robert Christian Humber. He was born on June 2, 1783 in Goochland County, Virginia to parents John and Elizabeth (Christian) Humber, the tenth of thirteen children.
The Revolutionary War was all but over and the Treaty of Paris would be signed three months later. By year’s end General Washington resigned as Commander of the Continental Army. It was a hopeful time as the newly free colonies set about to lay the foundations of a republic.
Robert’s grandfather, also named John Humber, is said to have participated in an act of throwing British tea overboard. As reported in 19351, a descendant living in Richmond, Virginia was in possession of a mirror which grandfather John brought from England sometime between 1720 and 1725. A record of his participation in that act of civil disobedience was recorded on the back of the mirror.
Whether it was the more well-known Boston Tea Party, is unclear, however. In August of 1774 Virginia had formed a Revolutionary Council who passed a motion to prevent the purchase of English goods, which of course included tea. Almost a year after the Boston Tea Party, on November 7, 1774, a group of Virginians boarded the Virginia, threw two half chests of tea overboard into the York River and returned to shore without damaging either the ship or other cargo items.
It’s unclear to me whether John served during the war, but his son Robert would served in the War of 1812, or what is often called the “Second Revolutionary War”. He enlisted as a private and served under the command of Captain John W. Compton who led the Jasper County (Georgia) Volunteer Troops, 5th Squadron, 3rd Regiment Cavalry.
Robert had emigrated to Georgia and on May 4, 1815 married Elizabeth Flewellyn. Elizabeth died shortly thereafter and Robert married again in 1823. On May 4, he married Mary Elizabeth Waller Davis, the widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Newton Davis, also a War of 1812 veteran. To their marriage were born five children before Mary’s death on October 1, 1836: Mary Christian, Charles Christian, Martha Christian, William Christian and Robert Christian (all of their children’s middle names were the same as Robert’s).
Robert married for the third time to Elinor Anderson who bore him two more children, John and Anna. His sons by Mary, Charles Christian and Robert Christian, would go on to serve with distinction for the Confederacy in the Civil War and later in public service.
During the battle for Atlanta, Charles was wounded three times and later represented Stewart County in the Georgia State Legislature. Robert was a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Georgia and enlisted as a private in the LaGrange Light Guards, serving throughout the war. He was promoted to Lieutenant six months after his enlistment and later distinguished himself at the Battle of Chancellorsville which earned him a promotion to Captain.2
The LaGrange Guards weren’t the only military units to be formed in LaGrange County, however. While their men were off fighting the Union, some of the county’s women formed their own all-female militia to defend their town. In honor of their fellow Georgian Nancy Morgan Hart, they called themselves the “Nancy Harts”. I have written “Military History” and “Feisty Females” articles about Nancy Morgan Hart (article here) and the Nancy Harts (article here) if you’d like to know more about their contributions to both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.
Robert (Jr.) studied law under U.S. Senator Benjamin Harvey Hill, represented Putnam County in the Georgia Legislature and served four years as a trustee of the University of Georgia. Two of Robert Sr.’s grandsons also served their country, one as a West Point graduate and one a colonel who served during World War I.
Robert Christian Humber (Sr.) was one of the early settlers in Monroe County which eventually became Butts County in 1825. Robert died at Indian Springs in Butts County in 1842, a “useful citizen and a Christian gentleman”3, and was buried with his second wife Mary in Sandy Creek Cemetery.