ROBINSON Biographical Extractions

Transcribed 26 Mar 2011 by Norma Hass

[Source:  The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, Published in Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. 1896.]


Solomon F. Robinson. This gentleman ranks among the retired farmers who are now living at their ease in the city of Princeton, and who are enjoying the property which they accumulated in their younger years by untiring industry and the closest economy. He was born in Williamstown, Orange county, Vermont, May 13, 1823, and was but twelve years of age when he left his native state and started for Illinois with his parents, Captain David and Lenda (FARNSWORTH) ROBINSON, also natives of the Green Mountain state, but the family spent the summer in New York while the father went on to enter land. He obtained his title as captain of a militia company in Vermont during the old training days, and also served in the war of 1812 under General Hull, being present at the surrender of Detroit, for which service his widow afterward received a pension. He was a son of Solomon ROBINSON, of whom but little is known, while the FARNSWORTHs belonged to an old family of Rutland, Vermont.

In early life Captain ROBINSON had followed merchandising, but on coming to Bureau county, entered land two miles southeast of Princeton, In Princeton township, and the same fall brought his family to this state, driving the entire distance from Vermont. Their first home here was a small place and the farm consisted of one hundred and twenty acres, but the father later owned three hundred and twenty acres, all in Princeton township. He was one of the founders of the Presbyterian church in the city, in which for many years he served as deacon, and was known by every one as Deacon ROBINSON. Politically he was first a whig and later became a free-soil democrat. His death occurred in 1863, and the mother long survived him, dying in 1886, at the advanced age of ninety-two years, at which time she was still well preserved. She too was a faithful member of the Presbyterian church.

The paternal household included nine children who grew to maturity, five of whom are still living. Elvira, is the widow of Erastus K. SHERWIN, late of Princeton township, who there located in 1835, and she still makes her home upon the old farm four miles southeast of Princeton. George, who died in 1891, was a ranchman of Colorado, where he had lived since 1860. Solomon F., of this sketch, is next in order of birth. David, who died January 10, 1896, had resided in Chicago since 1873, and there was conducting a livery and sale stable. Laura was the wife of Osman SMITH, of Manlius township, Bureau county, and died three yeas ago. Eliza, who died December 16, 1878, was the wife of W. W. BAKER, who went to California in 1863. Ellen, a resident of Denver, Colorado, is the widow of J. M. THOMPSON, a son of Colonel THOMSPON. Prentiss J. is a ranchman of Spring Hill, Montana. Thomas M. is engaged in mining in Colorado. Only two of the family are yet residents of Bureau county.

Until he had attained his majority Solomon F. ROBINSON remained upon the home farm assisting in its operation, after which he engaged in the cultivation and improvement of an eighty acre farm for a time, but later returned home and conducted the farm until his father’s death, when it became his. There he remained until selling out in December, 1864, when he came to the city of Princeton. He purchased two hundred and forty acres in the township, covered with a heavy growth of timber which he cut, and then disposed of the land. For a time he was a partner with his brother in the mercantile business at Neponset, Bureau county, but never resided there. Ten years he served as constable and for two years of that time was also town marshal, which positions he filled to the satisfaction of all concerned. His political support has ever been given to the democracy and his duties of citizenship are always faithfully performed but he takes no active part in political affairs. He is an upright, honorable man, one who has the esteem and confidence of all who know him.

On the 3d of September, 1879, was consummated the marriage of Mr. ROBINSON and Miss Sara A. NORTON, of Cummington, Massachusetts, the old home of the Bryants. For about five years she engaged in teaching, following that profession for a time in Princeton, where her death occurred September 15, 1883. For his second wife, Mr. ROBINSON chose Mrs. Lydia M. SMITH, and their weeding was celebrated October 15, 1890. She is a native of Illinois, and first married Roy E. SMITH, a shoe dealer, by whom she had a son, J. Clyde SMITH, a piano tuner of Chicago. A portion of her married life has been passed in Princeton, and she is a faithful member and active worker in the Congregational church. In 1891, Mr. Robinson erected his present comfortable residence on the site of the old brick house of Andrew SMITH, which had stood for fifty years.


James H. ROBINSON, Esq. The subject of this personal history is a resident of the village of Walnut, Illinois, and is well esteemed as a man of industry and enterprise, besides being a worthy citizen and having to his credit an unblemished war record. He is a native son of Bureau county, his birth having occurred in Berlin township, November 6, 1846. His parents were Joseph and Jemima A. (BRITT) ROBINSON. The father was born in Pennsylvania, where he spent his early life, coming to Illinois in 1846, and engaged in agricultural pursuits in Bureau county until his death, which occurred in 1856. The mother of our subject was a native of Illinois, and after the death of her first husband she wedded Isaac N. MONTGOMERY, by whom she had two children: Lenora A., wife of Joseph BODINE, of Walnut; and Charlotte G., wife of Charles C. PLUMLEY, of Bureau county. The mother departed this life in 1885.

In the district schools Mr. ROBINSON acquired his education, and he remained with his mother until the tocsin of war sounded throughout our beloved country. At the age of eighteen he donned the blue, enlisting in Company D, Thirty-fourth Illinois Volunteer infantry, and for ten months was in active service, taking part in all the engagements in which his company participated during that period. He was in the battle of Rocky Face, Georgia, May 9, 1864, and at Resaca, on the 14th of the same month received a gun-shot wound in the left arm, which caused its amputation ant the shoulder. He was, therefore, honorably discharged on account of disability and at once returned to his native county, where he has since continued to reside.

In 1858 Mr. ROBINSON removed to Walnut, and is numbered among its leading and progressive citizens. On the 2d of July, 1872, was celebrated his marriage with Miss Sarah A. KIMMELL, a daughter of Amos KIMMELL, who for some years made his home in Bureau county. Four children were born of this union, namely: Joseph A., is at present in Kansas; Etta and Nettie, twins, are the next in order of birth. The former is the wife of Howard OAKFORD, of Walnut, where she is successfully engaged in teaching. Nettie is the wife of Howard KEIGWIN, a farmer of Lee county, Illinois. Mabel E. completes the family.

Both Mr. and Mrs. ROBINSON are worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he is serving as trustee, and are valued citizens of the community. Fraternally he is prominently connected with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights of Pythias and the Grand Army of the Republic. A pronounced republican in politics, he has been elected on that ticket to several responsible positions, the duties of which he has most efficiently and faithfully discharged. He has served as town clerk, constable for thirteen years, county sheriff for four years, and at the present time is filling the offices of justice of the peace of his township and one of the village trustees of Walnut. He has also twice served as assistant doorkeeper of the Illinois legislature, and the principal doorkeeper of the Thirty-sixth general assembly. He was second assistant in the folding room in the Fifty-first congress, and also watchman in the United States treasury at Washington, D. C., in 1892. Whether in public or private life, Mr. ROBINSON has been true to every trust reposed in him, and his fellow citizens place in him the utmost confidence, which has never been betrayed. He is as loyal to the interests of his native land in days of peace as when on southern battle fields he fought so bravely for the stars and stripes and the cause they represented.


John H. ROBINSON, a pioneer of Bureau county, where he owns one hundred ninety acres on section 26, Indiantown township, is actively and prosperously engaged in agricultural pursuits. A native of Ohio, he was born in Licking county, November 14, 1817. His grandfather, Stephen ROBINSON, whose birth occurred in Virginia, was one of the early settlers of Ohio. Martin ROBINSON, the father of our subject, was also born in Virginia, but was reared in the buckeye state. He enlisted in the war of 1812, twice going with his company to Canada. In Ohio he married Christina HAAS, also a native of Virginia, and they began their domestic life in Licking county, where they remained until 1844, which year witnessed their arrival in Bureau county, Illinois. Upon a farm in Concord township the father spent the last eight years of his life, dying February 25, 1852, at the age of sixty years. The mother’s death occurred August 11, 1876, at the advanced age of eighty-five.

Our subject grew to manhood in Licking county, Ohio, where he attended school to a limited extent, but is principally self-educated. Learning the harness maker’s trade, he worked at the same for about three years. In 1844 he came to Illinois, and two years later he located in Bureau county, where on the 15th of April, 1847, he was united in marriage with Miss Hannah ZINK, a daughter of Samuel and Catherine (HANAWA) ZINK, both natives of Pennsylvania, the former born in Bedford county and the latter in Huntingdon. From that state her parents removed to Ohio, where they remained two years, and in 1845 emigrated to Fulton county, Illinois. After a residence there of about two years they came to Bureau county, purchasing a farm in Concord township, where they spent their remaining days. During early life Mr. ZINK followed the wagon maker’s trade, but later turned his attention to farming.

After his marriage Mr. ROBINSON settled on a farm in Concord township, which he operated for a number of years. Upon the place were valuable coal mines, which he opened up and dealt in coal for several years. On selling out in 1875 he purchased one hundred sixty acres in Indiantown, then all wild land, the only improvement being a small house. He at once began its development and cultivation, has erected a commodious and comfortable residence, and by subsequent purchase added more land until he now has a fine farm of one hundred ninety acres. He was in limited circumstances when he came to the state, but by industry, perseverance and economy he has worked his way upward, until he is now the possessor of a comfortable competence.

Mr. and Mrs. ROBINSON have three sons and four daughters living, namely: Christina, wife of James HOWLAND, a passenger agent on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad, with headquarters at Galesburg, Illinois; Mary, wife of Lewis SCHOTTLER of Galesburg; Lucy, wife of Jeffrey HARNEY of Wilson county, Kansas; Samuel, who is married and resides at Oak Cliff, Texas; Emma, at home; Abraham, who is operating the home place; and Chris, who holds a business position in Tiskilwa. Four children of the family are now deceased: Owen, who died in Kansas, October 31, 1884, at the age of twenty-two years; Sarah, who died at the age of twelve; and Margaret and Rebecca, who died in early childhood.

Politically, Mr. ROBINSON is identified with the republican party, and served for several years as road commissioner and a member of the school board. His estimable wife is a member of the Lutheran church. For half a century they have been identified with the interests of Bureau county, during which time they have witnessed almost its entire development and progress, and have been important factors in its advancement. They are widely and favorably known and universally respected.


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