Sunday, August 17, 2008

Col. WP Robinson

biography from the Harrison County Missouri GenWeb page

Submitter: Denell Burks (
Source: Bethany Republican, Wednesday, June 29, 1904
Col. W. P. Robinson was born in Carlisle, Nicholas county, Kentucky, February 20, 1826, and died in Manhattan, Kansas, Monday June 20, 1904, aged 78 years and 4 months. He was a son of George and Clarissa (Holladay) Robinson, both natives of Kentucky. The father was of English descent, and his parents were early settlers of Kentucky, whither they moved from Virginia about 1790. He was a tanner by trade, and followed that occupation until some three or four years before his death, which occurred while upon a trip to New Orleans in 1853. The mother died shortly after the birth of William P., who was the only child, and was taken by his mother’s brother and cared for for a period of three or four years, when the father was again married, to Sarah Mountjoy, who bore him three daughters; Mary A., wife of Dr. J. E. Whitecraft of Stanton county, Kan., Eliza J., deceased wife of the late Alfred Williams of Boone county, Mo.; and Sarah A., wife of Samuel Sherman, of McPherson county, Kan.

Upon his father’s second marriage, William P. was taken home, where he remained until the death of his step-mother, which occurred about 1835, when, his father again breaking up housekeeping, he was returned to the home of his uncle, where he remained occasionally attending school in the primitive log school-house of that day until his 12th year. He was sent by his father to Wabash College, Ind., with the intention of giving him a thorough education, but owing to unsuccessful business speculation was compelled, at the end of about two years, to take the boy home and to learn the tanner’s trade.

Soon after attaining his majority, in the summer of 1847, he enlisted for the Mexican War, for a term of three years or duration of the war, a company of volunteers which was then being raised in his native town. This company, upon the organization of the regiment, became Company E. Third Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, of which the subject of this sketch was elected orderly sergeant. After a hard campaign of nearly one year, the regiment then being with Gen. Scott’s army at the City of Mexico, peace was declared between the two nations, and the troop returned home, arriving there about the 1st of August, 1848.

On the 31st of the same month, he was married, and a short time thereafter his father retiring from business, William P. succeeded him and carried on the same until the fall of 1854, at which time he, with his family, immigrated to Iowa, and located upon a farm in Washington county. In the spring of 1856 he came to Harrison county, MO., and followed the business of farming and school teaching in Colfax and Hamilton townships (then Marion township) until the breaking out of the war in 1861. At this period, after the flag of our country had been fired upon at Ft. Sumter, loyalty and disloyalty were the all absorbing themes of the people’s attention and conversation, and excitement ran riot throughout the length and breath of our land. The subject of this sketch boldly and zealously espoused the cause of the old flag, under which he had fought in Mexico, and with other loyal friends of the Union in the county, united in devoting their whole time and energy toward unifying the loyal sentiment and bringing it into active operation. In furtherance of this object, in July 1861, he, with about fifty or sixty other young and middle aged men, enlisted in a company at Eagleville, which had been partially raised at Cainsville by John A. Fisher, and with this addition was now full. This company was being raised for a regiment of infantry to be commanded by Col. Jacob T. Tindall, of Trenton, Mo. Upon the organization of this company William P. Robinson was elected captain, and upon the organization of the regiment this company became Company D, Twenty-third Regiment Missouri Volunteer Infantry. He then removed his family to Sangamon county, Ills. He remained in command of Company D until wounded at the battle of Shiloh, on the 6th of April, 1862, and as soon as his wound permitted him to return to the regiment, about the first of the following June, he was commissioned colonel of this regiment, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Col. Tindall, who was killed in that battle, and as such did faithful and gallant service until mustered out with his regiment at Atlanta, Ga., on the 22d day of September, 1864.

In the spring of 1867 Col. Robinson returned with his family from Illinois to Harrison county, Mo., and taking up his residence in Bethany conducted the “Harrison County Press,” a weekly newspaper for about six months, when he abandoned the newspaper business, and served as deputy county clerk until 1872, when he was elected probate judge. After filling that office for one term of four years he was re-elected for a second term, but resigned in 1878, and became a candidate for county clerk, in which office he served continuously by re-election in 1882 and 1886, respectively.

In politics he was an old line. Which from the time he was old enough to vote, and at the election in 1860 cast his vote for Bell and Everett since which time he had been a staunch and unswerving Republican and had taken an active part in all political campaigns in the county.

In 1894, Col. Robinson was chosen by the Bethany Printing Co., as associate editor of the Bethany Republican. His ability as a writer and earnest efforts in his labors, commanded the confidence of the patrons of the paper and the Republican prospered under his work. But on account of his health, he resigned as editor in January, 1899. During these years he also served a Public Administrator of this county.

The first wife of Col. Robinson was Rachel Sims, a native of Nicholas county, Ky., who died June 5, 1865, and who bore him eleven children: Clarrissa, deceased; Fannie, wife of John L. Grenewalt, of Lamoni, Ia.; Mary R., wife of Charles W. Barber, of McPherson county, Kan; Lucinda, wife of Frank Simmons, of Springfield, Ill; George, of McPherson county, Kansas; Thomas and Robert (twins), who died in infancy; Ann E., wife of Judge J. F. Bryant of Bethany; Elizabeth, wife of George R. Williams, of McPherson, county, Kans; William H. of the same place, and Charles, who died in infancy. The present wife was Sarah E. Kendall, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio by whom the Col. had six children: Edgar P. (deceased); Jessie (wife of) Wm O. Selby, of Manhattan, Kan; Kathleen (wife of Boston Campbell, of Ottumwa, Ia.); Harry P., of Manhattan, Kan; Louis P. of Leavenworth, Kan. and Clifford, the youngest who is about 14 years of age, and lives with his mother at Manhattan.

Col. Robinson was a member of the G.A.R., and the first Commander of Lieut. T. D. Neal Post, No. 124 at Bethany. He was also a member of the I.O.O.F. and Knight Templar, and one of the charter members of Bethany Commandery, No. 42. He was a member of the Christian church, and an earnest worker in the promotion of the cause of temperance and morality.


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