IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

William Robinson


Although forty-one years have elapsed since the death of William Robinson upon his farm in Waterloo township his personality was too strongly impressed upon the community, where he had resided for many years, to be readily forgotten. A man of rare ability and force of personality, he left the impress of his work upon the history of the agricultural development of this section of the state and was perhaps as well known as a citizen who was always ready to contribute to the promotion of any movement for the general good of the community. Mr. Robinson was of Scotch descent but was born in Ireland in 1827. As a child he came to America with his parents and with them settled in New York, where his father passed away. The mother afterward removed with her children to Wisconsin and in 1851 came to Allamakee county, Iowa, where she continued to reside until her death, in 1893. In this family were six children, of whom Mr. Robinson, of this review, was the eldest, and of whom three yet survive.

William Robinson was still a child when he was brought by his parents to America. He acquired his education in the public schools of Wisconsin and from there came in 1851 to Allamakee county, Iowa, where from that time until his death he remained an honored and deservedly respected citizen. For a time he clerked in stores but eventually purchased a tract of school land located on section 12, Waterloo township, and comprising one hundred and seventy acres. He turned his attention to the development and improvement of this property, the years bringing him success, honor and a substantial fortune. His farm became one of the best improved and most productive properties in this section of the state and upon it in addition to general farming and stock-raising he operated a sawmill for a number of years. By following the most progressive and practical methods in the conduct of his interests he became successful and his success brought him prominence and a high standing among his fellow citizens, so that his death, which occurred in 1872, when he was forty-five years of age, cut off in its prime a busy life and useful career.

In 1858 Mr. Robinson was united in marriage to Miss Armenia Smith, who was born in New York state in 1836, a daughter of Isaac and Sophronia Smith, also natives of that state. The parents went to Indiana shortly after their marriage and remained in that state for seven years, after which they moved to Wisconsin, where the father followed the cooperage trade in various sections. In the early ‘60s he moved to Allamakee county, Iowa, making his home first in Lansing and later in New Albin, where he lived retired until his death, which occurred in 1878. His wife has also passed away, dying in 1893. Fifteen children were born to their union, only two of whom survive, namely: Mrs. Armenia Robinson, and Sophronia, who married Louis Hayes, of Jefferson, Minnesota. Mrs. Robinson has one daughter, Minnie, the wife of George Lapham, a farmer of Waterloo township. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Robinson operated the homestead successfully until 1903, when she rented the property and retired. She is a woman of many excellent qualities of mind and character and is highly esteemed and respected wherever she is known.

Mr. Robinson gave his political allegiance to the republican party and was an earnest champion of the cause of education. He took an active and commendable interest in every phase of public affairs, doing all in his power to promote the permanent interests of the community in which he had so long made his home and thus it was that in his passing Allamakee county lost one of its most representative and valued citizens.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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