Hon. Edward Everett Robbins

HON. EDWARD EVERETT ROBBINS, a prominent lawyer and financier who has served the public in various important positions, including that of state senator and member of congress an who rendered military services during the recent war with Spain as a major of United States Volunteers, is of English decent, tracing his ancestry to the earliest colonial period. 

(I) Richard Robbins, his emigrant ancestor, came from England in 1630, having voluntarily expatrated himself for political reasons, his activity in opposition to the restoration of the monarchy being so pronounced that in order to ensure personal safety he deemed it wise to come under an assumed name and in the guise of a servant. He settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he became active in public affairs. 

(ii) Samuel Robbins, son of Richard (I) served in the Narragansett (King Philip's) war, 1674-5, and was granted a tract of land in Voluntown, Connecticut, by the general court. He died in Watertown, Connecticut, October 21, 1708. 

(III) Richard Robbins, son of Samuel (2), settled upon the land above referred to in 1709. He married Anna Bathrich, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1701. 

(VI) William Robbins, son of Brintnel (5), was born in 1795 and died in Keziah Minor. 

(V) Brintnel Robbins, son of Moses (4), was born in 1756 an died in 1836. He married Mary Boardman in 1777. He enlisted in the War of the Revolution at New London, Connecticut, and served in 1775-6, 1778-80 in the company commanded by Captain Samuel Robbins. He participated in numerous battles and was commissioned ensign at the end of the war. He also bore an active part in the support of the government during the War of 1812, and built vessels on Lake Erie for Commodore Perry, but only received compensation for the work after a prolonged litigation. Before 1790, with his wife and two chidden, he removed to western Pennsylvania, spending the first winter in Connellsville, where he worked iron ore in the Turnbull furnace. He subsequently purchased a farm at Port Royal and thence went to Long Run, where he built a flouring mill. He bought, in 1780, a large tract of land lying on the Youghiogheny river from the Pennsylvania government, and which is yet in the possession of his descendants. He removed in 1812 to Pittsburg, where he became an extensive ship builder and coal operator, as well as farmer. He established the first retail milk business in Pittsburg, serving his customers from a large can conveyed about the town on a wheel barrow by a colored servant. He built in 1813 two schooners which he loaded with a cargo of flour and cheese, for the West Indies. At New Orleans the vessels were manned with crews of Spanish sailors. They were never heard of after leaving the port. Brintnel Robbins removed to Greensburg in 1830, where he lived the remaining part of his life. He was a pensioner of the Revolutionary war. He died July 25, 1836, and is buried in Harold graveyard, near Greensburg. 

(VI) William Robbins, son of Brintnel (5), was born in 1795 and died in 1834 ; he was married to Agnes Sloan. 

(VII) Joseph Robbins, son of William (6) and Rachel Gordon Robbins, was born at Robbins' Station, Pennsylvania, in 1824. He was married (first) to Rachel Robbins, and after her death, Margaret Cristy. He was the pioneer coal operator in the Youghiogheny district, opening up an extensive mine at Osceola in 1848. He was active in public affairs, served as school director for twelve years, and was a delegate to various Republican conventions. He was a Presbyterian in faith and membership. 

(VIII) Edward Everett Robbins, son of Joseph, was born at Robbins Station, Pennsylvania, in September, 1861. He began his education in the public schools in that place, pursued advanced branches in Elders Ridge Academy, and entered Washington and Jefferson College, from which he was a graduate in 1881, at the age of twenty, with the degree of masters of arts, being sixth in a class of thirty-six. He prepared for his chosen profession in the law department of Columbia University, New York, and graduated in 1884, being admitted the same year to the bar of Westmoreland county. In the following year he was nominated for district attorney. He was elected to the state senate in 1888, and served efficiently in that body for a term of six years. Mr. Robbins introduced and secured the passage of the bill appropriating five thousand dollars to the Children's Aid Society, thus securing the present home for this deserving institution. This was the first state aid for any purpose by the people of Westmoreland. He also introduced the law providing for free text books in public schools, and was chairman of the judiciary committee of the senate. He was especially active in the movement for equalization of taxes and the enactment of a saw for this purpose. 

During the fifty-fifth congress the Dingley tariff bill was enacted when the coal an iron schedules were under consideration in the house. Mr. Robbins addressed the committee of the whole with much force and success. His work in behalf of a protective tariff was both brilliant and able. His work for Cuban independence and speeches for that cause were widely read and commanded attention. He visited the island of Cuba and understood the conditions there. Mr. Robbins was one of the three members of congress who volunteered and entered the army at the outbreak of hostilities with Spain and was commissioned captain and quartermaster First Brigade, Third Division, First Army Corps, May 14, 1898. 

In politics he is a Republican, and has borne an active part in supporting the principles and candidates of the party. When the Spanish-American war came on he offered his services to the government, and was assigned to duty as quartermaster with the rank of captain on the staff of General John A. Wily, commander of the First Brigade, Third Division, First Army Corps, at Camp Thomas, Georgia, by special order No. 143, issued from the adjutant-general's office at Washington. Mr. Robbins has long been in the National Guard of Pennsylvania, serving as private, lieutenant, major, brigade quartermaster, and commissary general of the state on the staff of Governor Stone. This experience was of great value to him in the Spanish-American war, and he was detailed to the special duty of equipping and shipping troops to the front. His success brought him a promotion, and August 21, 1898, by special order 196 he was made a chief quartermaster with the rank of major of United States Volunteers, and placed in charge of the transport "Seneca," and sent with United States commissioners, Admiral Schley and Gordon to Porto Rico. He served at Ponce, San Juan, Santiago ; was in charge of the United States transports "Mobile," "Chester," and "Grant." After the conclusion of peace, Quartermaster-General Luddington offered him a commission as major in the regular army, but he declined and tendered his resignation and was honorably discharged by special order 243 of the adjutant-general, issued from Washington, receiving from the secretary of war, November 14, 1898, specially commending his services. 

With high standing in his profession, Mr. Robbins care for a large and important personal practice and is also solicitor for the Baltimore and Ohio and Ligonier Valley Railroad companies, and professional adviser for various corporations with which he is identified, and which are large commercial and financial factors in the business of his city and county. He is president of the Garrett Coal Company, organized the Pittsburg and Baltimore Coal Company, a diretor in the Safe Deposit and Trusts Company, of Greensburg, the Wilmerding National Bank of Wilmerding, Connellsville Basin Coke Company, and a stockholder in other banks and industrial corporations, and in the Tribune Press Publishing Company, of Greensburg, a member of various clubs--the Americus, the Duquesne and the University. In religion he is a Presbyterian, and he is president of the board of trustees of the First Presbyterian church of Greensburg. 

Mr. Robbins married, December 17, 1897, Luella More, daughter of J. W. and Elizabeth S. Moore, of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. They had two children : Edward E., born December 2, 1900 ; and William M., born March 26, 1902. 

Source Pages 43 thru 45 History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N. Boucher. New York, The Publishing Company, 1906 
Transcribed June 10, 1999 by Marilynn Wienke for the Westmoreland County History Project 
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)

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