From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 282-282, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
John F. Robinson, County Clerk of Cass county, is one of the
prominent and influential men of the county. He is eminently a self
made man. Beginning life a poor boy, he has worked his way up to his
present position of wealth and influence, being now classed with the
leading citizens of his county. A review of his life gives the
John F. Robinson was born in Crawford county, Ohio, May 31,
1851. His father, Andrew D. Robinson, was a native of the same State,
and a son of James Robinson, one of the pioneers of Ohio. Andrew D. was
quite young when his father died, and he was reared by his mother. He
married in Ohio, and resided there till 1852. That year, leaving his
wife with her parents, he started for California, making the journey
with teams across the plains. At that time there were no white settlers
between the Missouri river and California, except the Mormons. After
his arrival in the golden State, he engaged in packing provisions to
the mines, and subsequently assisted in operating the first threshing
machine in that State. He remained there till 1856, when he returned
East via the Isthmus route, and located in Linn county, Iowa, on a
rented farm between Marion and Cedar Rapids. A year later he bought a
partially improved farm in Spring Grove, two miles and a half west of
Paris, where he lived till 1887. Leaving his son James in charge of the
farm, he then removed to Center Point, where he now lives retired. The
maiden name of his first wife, mother of John F., was Elizabeth E.
Wachtel. She was born in Ohio, and her death occurred in Iowa, in 1865.
The maiden name of his second wife was Eva L. Putney. He reared five
children by his first wife, and of those born to his second wife three
The subject of our sketch was an infant when his father went to
California. In 1854, when he was three years old, he was taken by his
mother and her parents to Iowa, making the journey with a horse and
buggy. Iowa at that time was thinly settled, and there were no
railroads in the State for two years afterward. Young Robinson attended
the common schools, and advanced his education by attendance at the
State University. In 1871 he came to Cass county, Illinois, to seek his
fortune, landing here with no capital save a willing hand and a
determination to succeed in life. He found employment on the farm,
working by the month in summer, and during the winter of 1872-‘72 he
attended school in Chandlerville. The following ten years he taught
school a part of each year. In 1874, he made his first purchase of real
estate - a farm of 120 acres in Richmond precinct. Since then he has
been an extensive and successful dealer in both farm and city property.
He now owns four farms in Cass county, and a half interest in five
other farms here. He is also interested in farm land in Clarke county,
Iowa, and has city property in Kansas City, Missouri, and Eureka
In March, 1873, Mr. Robinson married Caroline (Houghton) Davis,
who died April 19, 1874, leaving one child, Ada L. In August, 1879, he
was united in marriage with Mary J. Witty, by whom he has two children,
Lavina E. and Lee E.
Politically, he has always affiliated with the Democratic party.
He cast his first vote for Horace Greeley. While teaching school he
devoted a portion of his spare time to the study of law.
In 1882, Mr. Robinson was elected to the office of County Clerk
of Cass county, for the legal term; was re-elected in 1886, and again
Fraternally, Mr. Robinson is associated with Virginia lodge, No.
544, A.F. & A.M.; Clark Chapter, No. 9, R.A.M.; Hospitaller
Commandery, No. 32, K. T.; Ashland Lodge, No. 341, I.O.O.F.; and
Virginia Camp. M.W.A.