Copyright
Robinson Genealogical Society.

The Robinsons and their kin folk (Volume 3) online

. (page 4 of 6)
Online LibraryRobinson Genealogical SocietyThe Robinsons and their kin folk (Volume 3) → online text (page 4 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


the Cottage Road, taking in the square from Feeble Street. He
followed the business of tanning and curr\'ing leather, accumulat-
ing a handsome property by his good management and industry."

Seventeen years after his marriage, it appears from a deed,
(a reduced photographic copy of which is here inserted) that
John* Robinson sold his house and land in Falmouth, to Joshua
and Peter Woodbury on the 28th day of February', 1755.

Of the children of John* and Mehitable Robinson, the writer
has been able to find only a record of three sons, namely, Joshua^
called Captain Joshua, SamueP and Ebenezer^, v^dio were sea-
captains.

Captain Joshua^ Robinson, was born on the 9th of March,

1756, and died on the ist of December, 1821. He married Hannah
Stone, who was bom on the 2nd of Ma3^ 1765, and died on the
22nd of July, 1841. They had twelve children: Jenny^, John'',
Joshua^, Hannah '', who died, Hannah '', Andrew^, Marj-^,
Stephenira", Betsey'', Mehitable", George'' and Martha".

Of the.se children, Jenny", married Robert Barbour; Mar>-",
married John Newcomb, and Betse^^", married Noah Edgecomb.

There are six grandchildren of Captain Joshua^ and Hannah
Robinson living, viz.: George'', Caroline'', and Albert^ Staples;
Mrs. Mary Robinson Fuller; Mr. Russell Barbour, and Mrs.
George Milliken. There are ten great-grandchildren, and thir-
teen great-great-grandchildren.

Captain Joshua^ Robinson, sensed in the Rev^olutionan>' War
as a private, enlisting on the 12th of May, 1774, in Captain
Bradi.sh"s Company, Col. Phinney's Regiment.

Captain Ebenezer^ Robinson, married Mar}' White on the
1 6th of January', 1764. A daughter of Ebenezer and Mary
(White) Robinson, Mar>'", who married Jesse Willard, died Sept.
18, 1854. A daughter of this Jesse and Mary Robinson Willard,
who was also named Mary'', married Mr. Woodbury.

Captain Ebenezer^ Roljinson built about 1760, on the main



JOHN ROBINSON.



53



Street of Cape Elizabeth, at the head of Simonton's Cove, a
dwelling house which stood until 1851, when it was taken down
and rebuilt on another location. On the foundations of the old
house Captain Caleb Willard, now in his eighty -first year, a
grandson of Captain Ebenezer^ Robinson, has erected a spacious
mansion which is occupied by himself and family.

Mr. B. F. Woodbury of Willard, Me., and Mrs. James E.
McDow^ell of Portland, Me., are children of Mrs. Mary' Robin.son




CAl'T. EHF.NEZEK' KOHINSON's HOUSE, HLII.T AiiOUU 1 760.

(Willard)- Woodbury, and I am told that there are living in Cum-
berland, Me., eight in the fourth generation, and twenty-.seven in
the fifth generation, and at least fifty in the .sixth generation of
the descendants of Ebenezer and Mary (White) Robinson.

Samuel^ Robin.son, son of John* and Mehitable Robin.son,
was born in Cape Ehzabeth, Me., in 1758. He married on the
17th of Sept., 1 78 1, Elizabeth Emery, a daughter of John Emery,
who settled in Cape Elizabeth on the " Point." They had eight
children: (i) Betsey'', born Nov. 2, 1782. and who died I'eb. 22,



54



JOHN ROBINSON.



1786; (2) Samuel", who married Harriet Ilsley, and have seven
children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren now
living; (3) Ebenezer^, who married for his first wife Hannah
Noyes, and second, Betsey E. Peabody, had six children, not
one descendant now living; (4) John Emery", who married




CAPT. samup:i.^ Robinson.



Sarah H. Hamon, had nine children, one son living, Mr.
Albion'' K. P. Robinson, and eleven grandchildren and nine
great grandchildren; (5) Betsey", who married Thomas Capen,
and had one daughter; (6) Harriet", who married Thomas Capen
as his second wife and had five children, one grandson living;
(7) Woodbury", who married Louisa A. Tolford, and had three



JOHN ROBINSON. S5

sons, two are now living, the third son FrankHn'' Robinson, the
Vice-President of the Robinson Association and husband of the
writer, died on the 14th of August, 1902. There are six grand-
children and three great-grandchildren Hving;* (8) William Dodge,
who married Jannett McLellen Warren ; they had six children,
four of whom are now living, and eight grandchildren and eleven
great-grandchildren.

SamueP Robinson, son of John and Mehitable Robinson, was
a sea captain. Shortly before starting on his last voyage, he
purchased a new house on the corner of Congress and Wilmot
Streets, Portland, Me., which he intended to occupy on his
return, and retire from his sea-faring life. His family, wishing
to give him a surprise, moved into the house and awaited his
arrival. He came into the port of Boston, when, after a little
delay, he set sail for Portland. Somewhere on his course, his
ship and all on board were lost. Nothing was ever known
regarding the catastrophe.

Mr. Robinson serv^ed in the same company and regiment with
his father in the Revolutionary War. He was a musician, and
was promoted to the office of Drum-Major. His wife survived
him for thirty-three years. As a pensioner of the war. she
received a land grant in Eastern Maine, and a .stipend of $108.00
per annum, t

* Since the writing of this paper one of the grandchildren of Captain
Woodbury Robinson, Arthur H. Robinson, son of Charles Woodbury Robin-
son has died. He enlisted in Liverpool, Eng., and served two years in the
Boer War. He decided to remain in that country, but recently passed away
from a stroke of apoplexy.

f Bureau of Pensions. Washington, D. C,
March 18, 1903.

To Mrs. Franklin Robinson, No. 203 Cumberland St., Portland, Me.

Madam: — In reply to your request for a statement of the military history
of Samuel Robinson, a soldier of the Revolutionary War, you will find below
the desired information as contained in his widow's application for pension
on file in this Bureau. January i, 1777, date of enlistment. Length of service
three years. Rank, Drum-Major. Under Capt. Clark, Col. Tupper's Regi-
ment, State of Massachusetts. Battles engaged in: Bennington, Saratoga and
Monmouth. Residence of soldier at enlistment. Cape Elizabeth. Me. Date
of application for pension, by the widow. August 10, 1838. Residence at date
of application of widow. Portland, Me. Her age at date of application,
seventy-four years. Remarks: He married Elizabeth Emery. .September
17. 1781. and died at sea in .August, 1806. while on a voyage in the brig
'■ Polly" from Portland to Charleston, S. C. Said Elizabeth was pensioned
as his widow.

Very respectfully,

J. C. Davenport,

Acting Commissioner.



^6 JOHN ROBINSON.

John* Robinson, who married Mehitable Woodbury of Cape
EHzabeth, Me., on the 9th of February, 1738, was born Dec. 31,
1 7 14. At the age of twentj'-one he was chosen by the town, in
1733, and for the following six years to the office of Highway
Surveyor. He was also one of the Selectmen for several terms
and held other important town offices of trust for more than
thirty years. In the Revolutionary War he served as a sergeant
in Capt. Dunn's Company, of Cape Elizabeth, in Col. Edmund
Phinney's Regiment of Massachusetts Militia, from April 24th to
July nth, 1775.

The writer copied from a paper in the hands of Mr. May-
berry of Cape Elizabeth, the following: " P'rench and Indian
War — York against Falmouth, Sept. 19, 1758. The above
named Capt. John Robinson made oath to the truth of the fore-
going account, by him, subscribed before me. Moses Dearborn,
Justice of the peace."

On the outside of the paper was written: " Capt. John Rob-
inson, Bayonet account. Filed Oct. 10, 1758. Committed
Allowed 18 lbs. — 4 shills. — 52 Bayonets. Warrents advised
Nov. II, 1758."

From the above, it would appear as if this John Robinson
served in the French and Indian War. It must have been the
John Robinson who married Mehitable Woodbury, as I find no
other record of a John Robin.son of this date.

The records of the Revolutionary servdce of John Robinson
and his son Samuel, were obtained from Mr. Zebulon Harmon,
who was pension agent for many years in Maine, and he refers
for proof to the — " Vida Rolls of service in archives of Secretary
of State's office, Boston, Volume 14, page 80."

On the eastern side of the Eastern Cemetery in Portland,
there stands a grave stone of slate, well finished and preserved,
bearing this record: — "John Robinson departed this life, Feb.
6th, 1775, aged 60 years, one month, three days."

The top of the slab is in the form of a half-circle which is
filled with masonic emblems — the square and compass, the hour
glass and the scythe. We were told in answer to the question
by the man in charge of the yard, that there was nothing like it
in the cemetery ; that he had seen many people taking an im-
pression of the record and emblems. The finding of this grave
stone, led the writer to search masonic records, where she found
that John* Robinson was one of the earlie.st masons in the state.



JOHN ROBINSON. 57

The first Masonic Charter granted to Maine, bears the date of
March 20, 1762, by Jeremy Gridley, Grand Master of Mass-
achusetts.

" Owing to the avocation, (sea-faring) and infirmities of the
Grand Master of Falmouth, Alexander Ross, Esq.," no lodge
meetings were recorded for several years. A new deputation was
granted March 13, 1769, William Tyng, Esq., Grand Master.
John Robinson appears first at the third meeting of the Lodge,
" held June 21, 1769, at his house," where it was held until
May 1770. Another notice reads "John Robinson elected a
mason May 17, 1769." The first stated meeting was held
May 8. One of the eight men elected to take degrees in Fal-
mouth Lodge, now Portland Lodge No. i, of Maine, was John
Robinson. " At a special meeting of the Lodge held November
22, 1769, it was voted that the Master and Wardens, be a
committee to invite Rev. Mr. Wiswill to preach a sermon on St.
Johns day, and that the Lodge will dine at Brother Robinson's
house, and that the Rev. Mr. Wiswill be invited to dine with
them."

John Robinson's son Joshua, a master mariner of Cape
Elizabeth, was elected a mason December 21, 1796. There is also
this record : " Samuel Robinson master mariner, I. February 19,
1800. p. March 3, 1801."

Capt. Woodbury^ Robinson, a son of Samuel'^, was a member
of "Ancient Land Mark Lodge." Also Franklin'' Robinson,
youngest son of Woodbury", and his two sons, Frank^ Woodbury
and George'^ Randall Robinson, were all members of the same
lodge, making five generations of Robinsons in the two lodges of
Portland, Me.

It will be noted that there is a discrepancy in the dates in
the record of John* Robinson's death as shown on his grave
stone, and that of his Revolutionary servdce, but as the grave
stone was undoubtedly imported, it is more than likeh' that the
mistake in the date was made in cutting the stone.

In the family of the late Franklin Robinson, there is a watch
which was once carried by John Robinson. On the back of its
cover his name is engraved with the figure of three deers trippant
in the center. Surrounding this is a collection of military and
musical instruments. This watch was in the possession of Mr,
Hosea'^ I. Robinson, a son of Sanluel^ some thirty-five years
ago. On the death of Hosea, it passed into the hands of his



S8



JOHN ROBINSON.



younger brother George \ who lived but a few years after
Hosea's death. The watch then came into the possession of a
cousin, Mrs. Henry Fox (Mary'' C. Robinson) a daughter of
Captain Ebenezer" Robinson, who, shortly before her death,
gave the watch to Mr. Franklin^ Robinson of Portland, with the
remark that the deers trippant was the Robinson Coat of Arms.
The first owner of the watch was, without doubt, John* Robin-
son, whose name was engraved thereon; then his son, Samuel^,
who married Elizabeth Emery; and from Samuel^ to his son
Samuel", who married Harriet Ilsley and were the parents of





JiiHN ROIUXSON S WATtH.

Hosea'^, from whom the watch passed to his brother George, and
from him to his cousin, Mrs. Fox, and from her to Franklin
Robinson as above outlined. The statement regarding the coat
of arms, led the writer to take the watch to the rooms of the
Historical and Genealogical Society in Boston, to establish, if
possible, if it was the Robinson Coat of Arms. No satisfaction
whatever was obtained from tho.se in charge of the Heraldry-
Department. But from "The Robin.sons and their Kin Folk"
we find confirmation of the statement.

In gathering the data contained in this paper, the writer is
indebted to Miss Mary E., a daughter of Albion K. P. Robin.son,
whose personal assistance was valuable in the researches made.
We were always most kindly received by those intersnewed.



A SYNOPSIS OF THE LIFE OF JOHN W.
ROBINSON. OF WILKES-BARRE. PA.



By George R. Wright, Esq.




A LARGE proportion of all history is founded upon
tradition ; a larger proportion of biographical history
is constructed upon a similar foundation. The deeper
we delve in our efforts to illimine antiquity, the more
fully we realize the truth of the assertion since tra-
dition is mainly the result of memory. Nor are we
surprised to find the latter so vulnerable and unreli-
able as to engender doubt in the minds of disinter-
ested readers. Family pride, malice, forgetfulness,
are apt, unconsciously, to tincture the recollections of conscien-
tious tongues with the individuality of the narrator; and when
we are unacquainted with an author's personality we are at a
loss to discriminate between fact and tradition. Hence, realizing
the justification for the presence of doubt as to all that may be
asserted in a paper of this nature being true, I have earnestly
endeavored to eliminate every expression or statement relating
to the life and character of my subject that is not founded upon
written evidence contemporary with the life of John W. Robinson.
Moreover, I have excluded individual opinion as to his appear-
ance, his capabilities, his manhood, except in those instances
where such conclusions are corroborated by letters and documents
penned during his life time.

Neither do I deem myself infallible in the construction or
conclusion put upon, or drawn from, the data in mj^ possession.
The inherent famil}- pride existing in many of us may have caused
me to err, as others have erred, by adding a more brilliant color
to the portrait than the subject was really entitled to. But
in as strict accord with the material before me, and as truthfully
as nature permits me (a relative) to justly and faithfully sketch
the life of an honored ancestor, so shall I endeavor to give you
a word picture of one whose light of life was extinguished



6o



SYNOPSIS OF THE LIFE OF JOHN W. ROBINSON.



before the majority of this assemblage first beheld the morning
sun.

John W. Robinson, late of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was born at
Norwich, Conn., April 5th, 1779, being the first son and child
of Samuel Robinson and Priscilla (Metcalf), his wife, and of the
sixth generation from William Robinson, of Dorchester, Mass.




JOHN \V. KOlilN'SO.N.

Reproduced from a portrait painted on wood about 1802-5.

He located at i\Iontro.se, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania,
about 1798, making that his place of residence. What education
he then possessed was principally acquired at and in his New
England home. An innate desire to cultivate self-reliance and
self-support (thus dispensing with the burden of paternal main-
tenance) induced him to migrate to Montrose, and, later, to
move down the Susquehanna River to the Wyoming Valle}-,



SYNOPSIS OF THE LIFE OF JOHN W. ROBINSON.



6i



locating at Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in 1804 ; where on January ist,
1805, a partnership was formed with one, John P. Arndt, in a
general merchandise business. Each partner was to furnish all
the capital he was able to invest and which was considered
necessary to the success of the enterprise. Robinson, being a
fair penman, an accurate accountant and a good book-keeper.




MRS. JOHN W. (ANN BUTLEK) ROBINSON.

From an oil paiiiling made about 1850.



was to give his entire time and attention to the industry — profits
and losses were to be equally shared and divided.

It was then the custom, in an undertaking of this nature,
to keep liquors ; and that wines in the cask were generally used
in the Wyoming Valley, and seemed to be as es.sential and neces-
sary commodities in a general merchandise business as was a spool
of thread , is not at all surprising. Under the head of ' ' notions ' '



62



SYNOPSIS OF THE LIFE OF JOHN W. ROBINSON,



was implied the having in hand pretty much all that was required
by the humble rustics of the community. Consequently the
articles dealt in were almost as diverse as those in larger stores
of the present time, so that (though on a very diminutive scale)
one might compare these village stores with the compartment
establishments of to-day, where a purchaser is able to procure a




STONE HOUSE AND inVELLl.N(; OF JOHN W. ROBINSON.

Built about 1818, and occupied by the family until about 1S60.



Steinwa}^ piano, a pair of woolen socks, a roast of meat ; open
a bank account, have a tooth extracted or buj' an ape. Hence
it is not so wonderful that this inland place of barter and
exchange — an hundred miles from any large center of population
— managed, in some years, to transact business to an amount
exceeding ten thousand dollars a year.

At the commencement of the fourth year. of this partnership,
Mr. Robinson was married to Ann Butler (January 12th, 1808),



SYNOPSIS OF THE LIFE OF JOHN W. ROBINSON.



63



at her step-brother's (General Lord Butler) house, on Front, now
River Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., by the "Rev. Ard Hoyt."
Miss Butler was the second daughter and third child of Colonel
Zebulon Butler and Phebe Haight, his third wife. If I here,
very briefly, note the military career of Mrs. Robinson's father,
you will condone the digression.

Colonel Zebulon Butler took part in the campaigns of 1758 on




RESIDENCE OF \VM. U. CONYNCII AM.

Occupying the site of the old Robinson homestead.



the frontiers of Canada, Fort Edward, Lake George, Ticonderoga
and elsewhere. He was at Havana in 1762 during the long siege,
and was nearly lost in .shipwreck while going thence. When the
to sin of war was signaled from the Heights of Lexington he did
not hesitate a moment to offer his services, which were accepted,
and he was appointed Colonel in the Connecticut line, and so became
an active participant in the campaign of 1777-8-9, and, later, was
commissioned Colonel in the Second Connecticut Regiment. He
was with Washington in New Jersey, and evidently highl\- es-



64



SYNOPSIS OF THE LIFE OF lOHN W. ROBINSON.



teemed by him. He was the leader of that small but memorable
band of settlers, who went into the contest against a superior
number of the British and Indians, in w^hat history knows as the
' ' Massacre of Wyoming. ' ' The recollection of the barbarities
then perpetrated by the savages on the brave and sturdy broth-




JIO.MESTEAD OK THE LATE HON. HENDRICK HKAULEY WRIGHT, AND HIS WIKK,

MARY ANN BRADLEY ROBINSON.

Built of brick in 1847. The residence of George R. Wright, Esq.

erhood of white settlers is what causes his descendants, and the
residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania, to cherish his memory
and the memory of all his associates, with affection and enviable
esteem.

Probably the monotony and confinement of the mercantile
business to which Mr. Robinson was subjected induced him to
relinquish these duties and pursue more congenial, and probabh'



SYNOPSIS OF THE LIFE OF JOHN W. ROBINSON.



65



more lucrative pursuits; for in about 18 14 the partnership was
dissolved, and from then until 1818 a portion of his time was
spent at Springville (near Montrose) vSusquehanna County, Pa.,
though his home at Wilkes-Barre was retained, for there his three
sons were born. The only daughter, Mary Ann Bradley Robin-
son (the writer's mother), was born at Springville.

About the time the dis.solution of partnership with Mr.




VIEW OF KIVEK STREET (oi.D FRONT STREET) \Vi I.KES-HARKE, PA.

Lookinfj; north from South Street, showing the row of elms on the left, ex-
tending from South Street to Market Street bridge, two thousand feet.
Set out about 1858, by Hon. H. B. Wright. The wagon on the right is
standing in front of the Wright residence, and nearly opposite the late
residence of John W. Robinson.

Arndt, was effected, Mr. Robinson saw fit to insert the letter IT
in his name for reasons which are given in the following memo-
randum, noted in the "Book of Reckords, 1 746, " ' in Mr. Robin.son's
hand-writing and which I quote: "In the year 18 14 John
Robinson, who was born on the 5th day of April. 1779, introduced
the letter W in his Name to distinguish himself from other John
Robinsons in the North part of Pennsylvania, as Many incoii-



66 SYNOPSIS OF THE LIFE OF lOHN W. ROBINSON.

veniences had occurred by waj- of letters maild, etc." That this
/f indicated Wallace and had reference to John B. Wallace, Esq.,
of Philadelphia, Pa., seems very probable from the vast business
and warm social relations existing between them.

That his profits from the late mercantile business; dealings in
real estate, the investing and collecting of large amounts of money
for others, placed him in a position of considerable affluence is
corroborated by documentory evidence in the writer's possession.
A founder of the Silver I^ake Bank at Montrose, and a director of
the same; one of the seven " Managers " of the Bridgewater and
Wilkes-Barre Turnpike Road; intrusted by the Commonwealth
with the disposition of five thousand dollars appropriated by the
State for road purpo.ses; made responsible for the transmission
of a like amount in bills from Philadelphia to Montrose; post-
master at Four Corners, Susquehanna County, Pa.; obtained a
large contract for the construction of a portion of the Wilkes-Barre
and Eastern Turnpike Road; bid for a section of the North
Branch canal, including docks and bridges; taking an important
contract for the excavating and grading of a large di\'ision of
the roadbed for the Susquehanna Railroad Company, from White
Haven to Wilkes-Barre, and throughout these years was also
a farmer of some magnitude in the raising of grain and of
cattle, principally for the market, and which latter emplo5'ment
indicates also his fondness for agricultviral pursuits. His exten-
sive real estate transactions involving the expenditure of large
sums of money, and these other undertakings in which he was
entrusted, reveal the variety and nature of his engagements as
well as suggest the activity of the man's life and career.

Later he formed a ^uasi partnership and went into the coal
business, he owning the property and preparing the coal for ship-
ment by arks, to Baltimore, Md., where the same was disposed of.

In a land speculation, Mr. Wallace, of Philadelphia, asks
if he does not desire to purchase a lot of farm land including
fifteen tracts, and containing over four thousand acres, situated
in two or three adjoining counties, which, if taken together "it
is questioned if there be a finer, or more valuable body of land
anywhere in the country."

In 1816 we find him drawing deeds, mortgages, bonds,
contracts, agreements, etc., for parties whom he represented;
Mr. Wallace, one of them, gave him a general Power of Attorney
to " buy and .sell land; loan and invest money," and with excep-



SYNOPSIS OF THE LIFE OF JOHN W. ROBINSON. 67

tional latitude delegated to him the power usually retained by
the principal; thus intimating his possession not only of business
qualifications, but a fair knowledge of the law as well.

In his habits he was always temperate, at one time being a
member of the vSons of Temperance; yet he was in no sense a
prohibitionist. In moments of great aggravation a mild profane
word would occasionally escape his lips ; in the midst of political
strife he would, now and then, be bantered into making a small
wager on election of state officers ; in the evening in company
with his more intimate friends he might be persuaded to take a
drink of whiskey if it was made a " straw color."

That he was interested in the political welfare of the country
and took a small part in municipal and national affairs we learn
from letters from prominent men of the State requesting, as one
does, information to be sent to the representative of Mr. Henry
Clay, of Kentucky; while comments upon presidential campaigns
and administrations likewise clearly reveal his abhorence of some
questionable political methods, when, with vigorous denunciation
of such innovations, drastic measures for essential reforms are


1 2 4 6

Online LibraryRobinson Genealogical SocietyThe Robinsons and their kin folk (Volume 3) → online text (page 4 of 6)