A Look Back at Hewlett, Roberts families
By Dr. Bill Stewart
Oct. 5, 1892—A. A. Hewlett, one of the oldest citizens of Morgan County, died early this afternoon at the advanced age of 77 at the home of his son, T. P. Hewlett.
He had long been a sufferer with that painful and fatal disease – cancer. He was laid to rest beside the wife of his youth, the mother of his children, in the graveyard at McKendree, where so many of his family await the resurrection.
The decedent’s son was the Rev. Roy Hewlett, who preached from Methodist pulpits for many years. The Rev. Hewlett was the father of the first wife of Hartselle’s Luther Roberts. She died before her husband, a former legislator from this city.
The Rev. Roy Hewlett performed the marriage ceremony for his daughter Katherine and her husband Luther Roberts while he was the located minister in Gadsden. Katherine preceded Luther in death by a considerable number of years.
The Rev. Roy Hewlett was the maternal grandfather of state Sen. Tommy Ed Roberts (1940-2014). His Hewlett ancestors had located in Morgan County not long after this area was opened to settlers of European origin.
Sen. Roberts’ great–grandfather married Emily West. The Wests were pioneers of Methodism in north Alabama.
Augustin – A.A. – and Emily Hewlett had eight children, seven of whom lived to maturity, which was unusual at that time.
Despite all adversities, Augustin Hewlett continued to be a Methodist to the core; he endorsed her creed and policy and accepted his pastor as an ambassador of the Lord, never hampering his work by needless criticism.
It was the crowning pride of his life when his youngest son Roy felt called to the ranks of the ministry. For a long series of years, Roy was a steward of McKendree Church, where he held his membership for upwards of half a century.
When Luther and Katherine Roberts were married, the Rev. Hewlett transferred his membership to the Hartselle Methodist Church.
Growing up, I would see him frequently at worship services, and although retired, he would often be invited to preach.
When he passed away April 2, 1963, at the age of 72, he was laid to rest in the Hartselle City Cemetery, rather than at McKendree, where so many of his kin were buried. At birth the Rev. Hewlett had been given the first name of his maternal grandfather, Elzey West. Thus, his tombstone reads, “Rev. Elzey Roy Hewlett, 18 Sep 1891-2 Apr 1963.”
Luther and Katherine Roberts had two sons. The older boy, born July 20, 1937, they named Luther Hewlett after his father and grandfather. The second son became Sen. Roberts.
Katherine Hewlett Roberts lived nearly 20 years after her distinguished father had died, passing away on Jan. 12, 1983.
Tommy Ed Roberts had come by his politics naturally. His father, Luther, was elected to the Alabama House in 1950.
My family had a connection with this because my own father, Bill Sr., was running for a third legislative term. When returns began to come in on election night, they showed Roberts having a substantial lead over my father, although not a majority.
Just 10, I was already very much into politics.
I remember the second Mrs. Stewart telling we three kids from his first marriage that Bill Sr. had gone to bed but planned to concede the election to Luther the next morning, not using his right to a runoff. This was 70 years ago, but I remember this episode in my dad’s political life like it was yesterday.
It never affected my relationship with the Roberts family, and I considered Sen. Roberts to be a very good friend.