Late Life

His greatest tribute was the unique gift presented by men from his company during World War I. More than 100 names are engraved on the shell casing from a "Big Bertha" now in the Confederate Air Force Museum in Harlingen. Engraved above the names is a message stating that the projectile was fired at the defenses of Verdun from an Austrian type howitzer.

"Big Bertha" the gun, having a barrel weighing 30 tons, was captured October 1, 1918, by C. Company, 22nd Engineers L. R. The casing, which was presented to Col. Sam, is 32 inches high, 15-1/2 inches in diameter and weighs 60 pounds. The trophy, which Colonel Sam kept in the patio courtyard at his home, was recovered in 1963 from the Rio Hondo city dump, and is now in the possession of the San Benito Historical Society.


The Valley's era of colorful trailblazers ended in 1938 with Robertson's death. In 1945, his widow, who later married Dr. Harry Drucker, sold her home to John T. Lomax. One of San Benito's early pioneers, Lomax had organized the old Farmers State Bank and had other large business interests, including several cotton gins.

Robertson's first wife, Adele (Wedegartner), whom he married on March 17, 1901, died on November 21, 1921. He then married Maria Seidler in Vienna, Austria, on December 3, 1922. Neither marriage produced children.

During the last few years of his life Col. Robertson followed a hobby of encouraging boys in the schools of the Lower Rio Grande Valley to do manual labor and to learn Spanish, the purpose being to make them better citizens and to promote respect for manual labor. He offered prizes to the high school boys and conducted prize-winning trips into the interior of Mexico, one being a four thousand-mile trip. During his lifetime, recognition came to Colonel Sam for a number of outstanding achievements.

Col. Robertson died on August 22, 1938, in Mercy Hospital, Brownsville. Funeral services were held in the American Legion Hall in San Benito. Burial was in Mission Park Cemetery, San Antonio. Resolutions of regard and respect were adopted by organizations of both Mexican and American admirers.