In the spring of 1856 William Perrine Robinson came to Harrison County, Missouri, and followed the business of farming in school teaching in Cofax and Hamilton townships (then Marion township) until the breaking out of war in 1861. At this period, after the flag of our country had been fired upon at Fort Sumter, loyalty and disloyalty were the all-absorbing themes of the people's attention and conversation, and excitement ran riot throughout the length and breadth of our land. The subject of this sketch boldy 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 to active operation.
In furtherance of this object, in July, 1861, he, with about 50 or 60 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 organization of this company, William P. Robinson was elected captain, and upon the organization of the regiment this Company became Company D, 23rd Regiment, Missouri Volunteer Infantry. He then removed his family to Sangamon County, Ill. 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 22nd day of September, 1864.
In the spring of 1867 Col. Robinson returned with his family from Illinois to Harrison county, Missouri and taking up his residence at 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 he served continuously be re-election in 1882 and 1887 respectively. In politics he was an old line Whig 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 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 fo teh 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 as 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:
Fannie, wife of John L. Grenawalt, of Lamoni,IA
Mary R. wife of Charles W. Barber, of McPherson County KS
Lucinda wife of Frank Simmons, of Springfield, Ill.
George, of McPherson County, KS
Thomas & Robert, twins who died in infancy
Ann E. wife of Judge JF Bryant of Bethany
Elizabeth wife of George R Williams of McPherson Co KS
William H of the same place
Charles who died in infancy
The present wife was Sarah E Kendall, a native of Cincinnati Ohio by whom the Colonel had six children:
Edgar P deceased
Jessie wife of William O Selby of Manhattan KS
Kathleen wife of Boston Campbell of Ottumwa IA
Harry P of Manhattan KS
Clifford the youngest who is about 14 years of age, and lives with his mother at Manhattan.
(deb's note: there are only 5 children listed....)
Col. Robinson was a member of the GAR, and was the first Commander of Lt. T. D. Neal Post No. 124 at Bethany. He was also a member of the IOOF and a 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.
Col. W.P. Robinson was born in Carlisle, Nicholas Co, KY, February 20 1826 and died in Manhattan, KS, Monday June 20 1904, aged 78 years and 4 months. He was a son of George and Carissa (Holladay) Robinson, both natives of KY. The father was of English descent, and his parents were early settlers of KY, whither they moved from Virginia about 1790. He was a tanner by trade, and followed the occupation until some 3 or 4 years before his death, which occured while on 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 about three years, when the father was again married to Sarah Mountjoy, who bore him 3 daughters:
Mary A wife of Dr JE Whitecraft, Stanton Co, KS
Eliza J, deceased wife of the late Alfred Williams of Boone County, Mo
Sarah A. wife of Samuel Sherman of McPherson Co KS
upon his fathers second marriage, William P was taken home where he remained until the death of his stepmother which occurred about 1835, when, his father again breaking up housekeeping, he was returned to the home of his uncle, where he remained, occassionly attending school in the primitive log school house of the day, until his 12th year. He was sent by his father to Wabash College, Indiana, with the intention of giving him a thorough collegiate education, but owing to unsuccessful business speculations was compelled, at the end of about two years, to take the boy home again to learn the tanners trade.
Soon after attaining his majority, in the summer of 1847 he enlisted for the Mexican War for a term of three years or during the war in 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 troops returned home, arriving there about the last of August, 1848.
On the 31st of the same month, he was married, and a short time thereafter his father retiring form business, William P. succeded him, and carried on at the same until the fall of 1854, at which time he, with his family, immigrated to Iowa, and located upon a farm in Washington Co. Then in the spring of 1856 William Perrine Robinson came to Harrison County.