His siblings included one brother and five sisters: William, a farmer; Nancy A. (Smith) McRoberts; Mary (Willock) McRoberts; Gussie (Nolan) McRoberts; Emily and Margaret McRoberts
studied three years at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
in Troy, N.Y., and started an engineering practice in Pittsburgh in 1868-69.In 1882, he
is listed as a member of the Engineers Society of Pittsburgh
at 150 Fourth Ave., Pittsburgh.Pittsburgh of Today notes that, "Mr.McRoberts has had a thorough experience in every branch of his profession; besides the large amount of work with which his name is associated, he has been the instructor of many of Pittsburgh's younger engineers who received their professional education under his mentorship, and no one man has had a greater or more important influence in the growth of the profession in Pittsburgh and vicinity.
In municipal influence and borough work, he
has successfully filled many important contracts and he
has personally planned and supervised more important public and private work than any other man.It is a matter of local pride that the engineers who have planned and supervised most of the great local improvements here, and Mr. McRoberts
is a most conspicuous representative of that influential class of men who have contributed more to Pittsburgh's progress than any other." McRoberts became head engineer in construction of the St. Clair Incline on 22nd Street in 1886 and the Knoxville Incline in 1890 - the only two he designed in Pittsburgh.
The Knoxville Incline on Pittsburgh's South Side is recorded as the longest incline built in Pittsburgh at 2,644 feet.McRoberts
is listed in 1896 as a civil and mining engineer with an office at 400-402 Grant St., Pittsburgh. McRoberts
, as consulting engineer for the West Side Belt Railroad
, originated the plan of building the road and developing the adjacent coal fields.He
laid out the route and superintended the construction of the road.He
also located and designed the coal properties.
The 1893-94 "History and Commerce of Pittsburgh and Environs" reported, "During his
practice here he
has been associated with many noteworthy engineering achievements, and among important commissions executed by him are the inclined plane at Manayunk, Pa., all the coal work on the estate of James H. Hayes for the past 20 years (1873-93), the Munhall Coal Works, Allequippa Coal Works, and the Camden Coal Works, among many others.Mr. McRoberts
is at all times prepared to engage in all classes of civil engineering work and will furnish plans and estimates at short notice.Local maps, city surveys and computations are made in the most careful and trustworthy manner, and landscape engineering of every description is promptly and reliably performed, while expert opinions are rendered as to physical condition of structures, contract works and mines are examined and reported upon, preliminaries for engineering and mining enterprises are arranged, estates are surveyed and properties subdivided.Mr. McRoberts is a member of the Western Pennsylvania Society of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Mining Engineers."