Elisha Robinson

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Elisha Robinson, one of the best known of the early settlers in Armstrong county, was born in Windham, Connecticut, December 4, 1791. His parents, Andrew and Olive Robinson, were of English descent, and of a family which had been for several generations in New England. The subject of our sketch learned a trade with a Mr. Bingham of his native town, and in 1814 came out to what was then known as the West to seek his fortune, his only capital being that trade. He located in that portion of old Perry township now constituting Hovey, upon the land where his son Elisha now lives. His first occupation was tanning and shoemaking, and his tannery was undoubtedly the first one in the northern part of the county. He followed these industries until about 1846, working hard, saving money and securing land. Shortly after his settlement in this county he had married, and by this time had sons who had nearly attained their majority. To one of them, Samuel M., he transferred his tannery, and henceforth devoted his whole attention and energy to farming. He followed this quiet avocation until 1870, by which time pioneer or "wild cat" oil operations had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the region around Parker�s landing was rich in petroleum. He then began to lease his land to operators for one-fourth and one-eighth royalties, and as a large number of good wells were soon struck, he found himself in receipt of a heavy income. The production in 1870 and 1871 was very large, and in some of the months in the latter year Mr. Robinson received as high as 20,000 barrels of oil as his share. In the fall of that year he placed the business under the control of his son Elisha, who succeeded him upon his death three years later. The exact date of his decease was October 17, 1874. He passed away after a comparatively short sickness. His life was one of activity and well directed industry, and he achieved by his own labors an independency before the great value of the lands he owned was proven by the drill. Mr. Robinson was a man of sturdy and sterling character, a very moral man, scrupulously honorable in his dealings, and actuated in all the affairs of his life by the principle of the golden rule. He was not a church member. Politically he was a democrat, and one of life-long standing.

Mr. Robinson�s marriage, which has been already alluded to, occurred January 7, 1816. His wife was Elizabeth Rohrer, of Greensburg. She survived her husband several years, passing away at a ripe old age, upon September 21, 1881. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson were the parents of ten children, whose names, with the dates of their births, are as follows, viz.: Simeon H., born March 20, 1817 (deceased); Mary Ann (Bovard), January 14, 1819; W.D., October 20, 1820 (now a resident of Kittanning); Olive (McConnell), June 28, 1822 (deceased); Simeon H., May 2, 1824 (a resident of Hovey township); Frederick Augustus, May 22, 1826 (deceased); Andrew Jackson, April 17, 1828 (deceased); Samuel M., March 10, 1830; Elisha, December 4, 1832 (both residents of Hovey township); and Frederick Rohrer, May 29, 1835 (deceased).

Elisha Robinson, who has been mentioned as taking charge of his father�s business in 1871, and succeeding him upon his death, has since carried on a large farm and continued his oil business. He has operated but little himself, but has leased land on royalty. There are now about twenty producing wells upon his farm. He has a finely improved and valuable farm of about 400 acres, and is regarded as one of the most advanced and successful agriculturists and stock-raisers in the county. His carriage and horse barn is probably unsurpassed, in fine appearance, perfection of detail and convenient arrangement, by any to be found in the rural regions of Western Pennsylvania. For about five years - from 1861 to 1866 - Mr. Robinson carried on a store at a point between his residence and the site of Parker City. Like his father, his political predilections have been with the democratic party. He is one of the oldest members and a steward of the Parker City Methodist Episcopal church.

Mr. Robinson was united in marriage with Miss Caroline Truby, of Brookville, Jefferson county, November 24, 1857. Ten children have been born of this union, of whom eight are living.

Source: Page(s) 580, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
March 2000 by Lisa Strobel for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Lisa Strobel for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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