Was the son of Henry and Elizabeth (Harkness) Robinson, of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. His grandparents--James Robinson and his wife, of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and William Harkness and his wife, of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania all immigrated to this country from the north of Ireland, about the year 1765. He is, therefore, of Scotch-Irish descent. He was born January 27, 1814, in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. When about two years of age his parents removed to Stark County, Ohio, settling about seven miles south of where Massillon now stands. Thus, when he was eight years old his father died, and four years afterward, his mother, with her three sons, of whom he was the oldest, one having died meantime, returned to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. During the five following years he labored as a hired farm hand, to help in the maintenance of the family in the summer time, and attended school each winter. When he was seventeen years of age he went to Cadiz, Harrison County, Ohio, as an apprentice to the tin plate business. His employers were Presbyterians, and as his early training had been in the Associate Reformed church, he readily formed the habit of attending the Presbyterian Church, joined the Sabbath-school, and, under the labors of the pastor, Rev. John McArthur, soon united with the church. When about half of his time as an apprentice had expired, his employers ceased business and gave him his indenture. He at once obtained employment at his trade for so much of his time as was needful to earn his food and clothing, spending the rest of his time in study, under the instruction of his pastor. His studies were directed with a view to the gospel ministry. This he continued until he completed the ordinary college curriculum as far as the close of the junior year. Then he entered Franklin College, located at New Athens, Harrison County, Ohio, and graduated there in October 1837. He immediately went to the Western Theological seminary at Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. Here he remained three terms, not attending the fourth term, which was the prescribed course, because of his suffering from a slight bronchial affection.
He was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of Steubenville, April 8, 1840. He was at once engaged to supply the pulpits of the adjacent churches of Corinth and Monroeville, the former in the eastern edge of Carroll County, the latter in the northwestern corner of Jefferson County, Ohio. From these churches he received a call for permanent settlement as pastor in the fall of that year, and on the second day of March, 1841, he was ordained to the full work of the ministry and installed as pastor of those churches by the Presbytery. On the twenty-second day of October, 1840, he married Miss Mary W. Willson, daughter of William Willson, Esq., of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He had a prosperous pastorate of nearly three years in this field. In the autumn of 1843 he was invited to take charge of the Presbyterian church of Ashland. He removed to Ashland and commenced labor there on the first Sabbath of February, 1844. In April following he received a formal call to the pastorate of that church, and in June was installed as pastor by the presbytery of Richland. In that charge he still remains near the close of the thirty-second year of his labor. The membership of the First Presbyterian Church has been greatly increased under his pastorship, and now numbers nearly three hundred. The exemplary life of the pastor, added to his care for his flock, has aided in bringing about so desirable a result. He is a pleasant speaker, and well versed on theological topics. As a scholar, his attainments are of a high order. In June, 1871, the honorary degree of doctor of divinity was conferred upon him by Washington and Jerfferson College, Pennsylvania. By long service in the ministry, accomplished scholarship, and a profound knowledge of theology, he had fairly won his promotion. He is now in fair health, and may survive many years to carry out the great mission upon which he entered in early life.
His family consists of his wife and eight children. One is not. Five are sons and three were daughters. John F., the oldest, resides in Mankato; William W., the second, James A., the fifth, and Etta B., the sixth, reside in Cleveland; Henry M., the third, at home; Samuel N., the fourth, in Dakota; Mary E. in Van Wert, Ohio; all of whom have had good educational advantages and training.
contributed and transcibed by Russ Shopbell email@example.com