Buena Vista County, IA
IAGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 306-10.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Clinton J. Robinson

Clinton J. Robinson has been a resident of Newell from the age of fourteen years and is now a leading representative of its commercial interests as proprietor of a furniture and undertaking establishment.  He was born in Phoenix, Oswego county. New York, February 8, 1867, and is a son of William and Charlotte (Munger) Robinson, who were likewise natives of the Empire state.  It was in the same state that Harry S. Robinson, the grandfather of our subject, was born and for many years he followed the occupation of farming in Oswego county, his last days being passed in Phoenix, where he died at the very venerable age of ninety-four years.  In early manhood he married Miss Nash, who was about eighty-six years of age at the time of her death.  They were the parents of four sons and three daughters:  Benjamin; Jay; Charles; William; Mary, the wife of Eugene Crandall; Martha, the wife of Bert Cathcart; and Emma, the wife of James Kerns.  The maternal grandfather of Clinton J. Robinson was also a native of New York and carried on farming pursuits in Oswego county until he passed away in middle life.  In his family were the following children:  William, George, Sarah, Laura, Charlotte and Marcella.


In tracing the ancestral history of the family to a still more remote period it is found that Benjamin Robinson, Sr., the great-grandfather of our subject, was born in Stephentown, New York, in 1786.  When but a lad he removed to the town of Manlius, where he remained until 1804, and was then engaged by Henry Bush, of Volney, New York, to go and teach school in that town.  Mr. Bush was authorized by the inhabitants to pay six dollars per month for a teacher but Mr. Robinson declined the position unless he could be paid eight dollars per month, which sum was finally agreed upon and the young schoolmaster started for Volney.  On the way Mr. Bush requested Mr. Robinson not to disclose the fact that he was to have over six dollars per month, saying that he proposed to pay the extra two dollars out of his own pocket.  Mr. Robinson opened school in 1804 in a log schoolhouse just over Seneca Hill, that being the first school ever taught in the town.  At that time there was but one frame house upon the site of the present village of Fulton.  In 1801 Mr. Robinson was married to Miss Sweet, with whom he lived forty-eight years.  In 1812 he taught the first school in the present town of Grandy, then Hannibal, in a little log schoolhouse and from that time became closely identified with the interests of the locality.  He served in the war of 1812 and always took an active interest in public affairs.


Reared in the Empire state, William Robinson early became familiar with farm life but chose an industrial career and became a contractor and builder.  He arrived in Newell, Iowa, in the spring of 1881 and still makes his home here.  In early manhood he became a soldier of the Union army, serving as a private of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth New York Volunteer Infantry.  When hostilities had ceased he again resumed carpenter work in New York and lived in Syracuse for ten years before his removal to Iowa in 1881.  He has since been connected with building operations in Newell and many evidences of his skill and handiwork are seen in the substantial and attractive homes of that town.  Both he and his wife are faithful members of the Methodist church.  Their family numbered four children:  Clinton J., of Newell, Iowa; Grace, wife of F. L. Sauter, of Le Mars, Iowa; William H., of Detroit, Michigan; and Vincent M., of St. Joseph, Missouri.  Having spent the first fourteen years of his life in the state of his nativity Clinton J. Robinson then accompanied his parents to Iowa and has since lived in Newell.  His early education was acquired in the public schools of Syracuse, New York, and he afterward attended the high school of this city.  He then learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for sixteen years, since which time he has been connected with mercantile pursuits.  He purchased the furniture business of P. Meighen and has conducted the store to the present time, carrying a large and well selected stock of furniture.  He also does an undertaking business and both departments receive a liberal patronage.  His business methods are straightforward and honorable and his entire commercial career will bear the closest investigation.


Pleasantly situated in his home life, Mr. Robinson was married on the 18th of December, 1889, to Miss Johanna Rothe, a daughter of William and Christina Rothe, who came from Germany to the new world and settled first in Connecticut, whence they removed to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, about 1865.  The father died there when seventy years of age, but the mother still survives and makes her home with her daughter in Newell at the age of seventy-nine years.  They were the parents of eight children:  William; Carrie; Lena; Emeline; Catherine; Johanna and Emma (twins); and Louis.  Mrs. Robinson was born in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, and by her marriage has become the mother of a daughter, Edna, who is now attending college in Sioux City.


Mr. and Mrs. Robinson hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, are interested in its work and generous in its support.  Mr. Robinson is now serving as one of the board of church trustees and is likewise a member of the school board of Newell.  He belongs to the Modern Woodmen camp and his political allegiance is unswervingly given to the republican party.  While there have been no unusual chapters in his life record, it is the history of a man who in every relation has been faithful to the duties devolving upon him, and his citizenship is such as constitutes the substantial basis of the country's stability and prosperity.