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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
Fred S. Robinson
Only those who come in personal contact with the gentleman whose name forms the caption of this biographical review, the well-known editor and proprietor of the Oelwein Register, daily and weekly, can understand how thorough1y nature and training, habits of thought and action, have enabled him to accomplish his life work, exhibiting pronounced talent in two professions, having been successful as a superintendent of schools and as a journalist, being in every respect a fit representative of the enterprising class of professional people to which he belongs, a man who unites a high order of ability with courage, patriotism, clean morality, and sound common sense, doing thoroughly and well the work that he finds to do and asking praise of no man for the performance of what he conceives to be his simple duty.
Fred S. Robinson was born near Skowhegan, Maine, of sturdy New England stock, his antecedents having been prominent in various walks of life in the old Pine Tree State for many generations. He was reared on the old family homestead where he was born, which has been owned and occupied by the family for more than a century. This branch of the Robinson family is of Puritan origin, the first representative of the family coming to America from England in 1630, locating in Massachusetts, where the family remained for many years. Removing to Exeter, New Hampshire, in the early part of he eighteenth century, they resided in that section until 1795, when they emigrated to Somerset county, Maine, where the old farm home was purchased by Rev. John Robinson, great-grandfather of Fred S. Robinson, of this review. Mr. Robinson was educated in the public schools, the Coburn Classical Institute and Colby College, Waterville, Maine, and he was a student for a year in Shurtleff College, Upper Alton, Illinois. Thus well equipped for what the poets are pleased to call "the battle of life," Mr. Robinson came to Iowa in 1886, and for a period of six years he was superintendent of the Eldon public schools, during which time the cause of education there received quite an impetus, for he thoroughly systematized and raised the standard of the schools under his care, for which he received unstinted praise from the press, pupils, patrons and board of education. In the spring of 1892 he resigned his position there for the purpose of accepting a similar one at Brooklyn, where he had charge of the schools for a period of seven years, giving his usual high-grade service. During the last five years of this period he was also principal owner and much of the time editor of the Brooklyn Chronicle. While, there he established an excellent school library, placed the high school in the highest rank of the accredited schools of the State University and other leading colleges, and interested the young men in educational affairs, and they were a majority in the last four graduating classes. During the last years of his supervision and following it, a majority of the teachers in the Brooklyn schools were his graduates. In order to devote his attention exclusively to journalism, which he believed he was best suited to his tastes, Mr. Robinson notified the board of education in January, 1899, of his intention to retire from school work the following June. At the close of the scholastic year the board placed upon its records resolutions highly commending Mr. Robinson as an able superintendent, a competent instructor, a man who inspires educational life in the schools, and one who commands the respect and confidence of patrons, pupils and teachers." He was a prominent factor in making the Brooklyn Chronicle one of the leading papers of central Iowa from an editorial and business standpoint. Desiring a wider field for the exercise of his talents, he sold his interest in that paper and at once purchased a half interest in the Oelwein Register an official county and city paper of large circulation in the growing city of Oelwein, Fayette county, and in June, 1899, he began his editorial work on that paper and, infusing new life into its pages, it grew rapidly. Within three months from the date of his connection with the paper a larger news press was purchased, and the paper enlarged to a full-sized seven-column quarto, all home print. In July, 1906, the issue of the Oelwein Daily Register was begun, together with the weekly, and both editions have grown rapidly in circulation, now covering an extensive territory. The Register is easily the leading paper in Fayette county, having the largest circulation and best equipped office, including a standard model No. 5 linotype, and the mechanical appearance of the paper is first-class in every respect, system being maintained throughout, and as an advertising medium it ranks among the best in northern Iowa. Editorially, the Register wields a wide influence, Mr. Robinson being a lucid, forceful and trenchant writer, conversant with all problems and advanced ideas of the present day, being at all times a student and fearless in advocating the truth and what he believes to be for the best interests of his readers.
Mr. Robinson has always been an ardent Republican and he has been a regular attendant at the various conventions of his party for many years, where his counsel is often sought by party leaders. Although he is a worker in the ranks and has done very commendable work as a stump speaker in many campaigns, he has never been a candidate for public office. Fraternally, is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights or Pythias and he is a Knight Templar, having held the highest offices in each of the former lodges. Personally, Mr. Robinson is a man of magnetic presence, in whom confidence is readily reposed by all who know him, being a good mixer, sociable and gentlemanly.
Mr. Robinson married Rebecca IRVING, a native of
Boston, Massachusetts, a woman of talent and culture. She was educated
in the public schools, and completed a classical course in Waterville,
Maine, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Literature. She has
been a very successful teacher and was principal of the Eldon high
school for five years. She is prominent in secret societies, having been
at the head of the grand temple of Pythian Sisters of Iowa and has been
presiding officer of local chapters of the P. E. 0. and Eastern Star.
She has a wide acquaintance in the literary club circles of the state,
having served for several years on the official board of the Iowa
Federation of Women's Clubs, is a pleasing writer and speaker and
influential in all circles in which she is interested.
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