John F. Robinson
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 following facts:
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 are living.
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 1871-'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 Springs, Arkansas
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 in 1890.
Fraternally, Mr. Robinson is associated with Virginia lodge, No. 544, A. F. & A. M.; Clark Chapter, No. 29, R. A. M.; Hospitaller Commandery, No. 32, K. T.; Ashland Lodge, No. 341, I. O. O. F.; and Virginia Camp, M. W. A.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 281-282.
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