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Below is a family biography from the book, History of Kentucky, Edition 8a by J. H. Battle, W. H. Perrin and G. C. Kniffin and published by F. A. Battey Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN W. ROBINSON. The Robinson family are of pure Scotch origin. Richard J. Robinson, the father of the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, was born in Virginia, in 1812, where he grew to manhood and married Miss Nancy Hook, born also in Virginia, and of English extraction. He learned the trade of millwright, and was also skilled in wagon-making. In 1854 he removed to Noble County, Ohio, settling in Sarahsville, where he died in 1886, aged seventy-three years. John W. Robinson was born near Winchester, Virginia, January 28, 1843. Early in life he evidenced a decided aptitude for mechanics and when but a child was able, with the few rude tools at his command, to construct almost anything from a toy wagon to a miniature steam engine. At the age of sixteen his mind was directed toward educational matters. His facilities were of course quite limited, but by the aid of private tutors he studied history and the classics. He entered Marietta College at the age of eighteen, but ill health prevented him from pursuing a collegiate course. In 1862 he began life as a teacher at East Union, Noble County, Ohio, where he taught one term. The war was in progress, and he was so thoroughly impressed with his duty to his country, that, after teaching a second term at his home in Sarahsville, he joined Company E, Eighty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, as a private soldier. At the expiration of one year’s service he was detailed as clerk in the Commissary Department, where he remained until honorably discharged by special order of Gen. Hooker, when he returned to his home and resumed his former vocation. His profession, however, then as now was poorly remunerated and not wholly congenial, and he next turned his attention to the introduction of improved text books for schools, and for four years he traveled the State of Ohio as a representative of Ingham & Bragg, Cleveland, O. At the end of this time traveling agents in this capacity were discontinued by the publishers’ compact. He next engaged in the drug and book business at Sarahsville, but the business was too slow for one so energetic, and he removed to Indianapolis, where in 1872 he became associated with Messrs. Martin & Hopkins, State Agents for the North Western Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, as a solicitor; this was in 1872. In this as in other enterprises he was successful, and in two years was occupying the responsible position of special agent for the same company, operating in Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. In this department he soon evinced his marked ability as an insurance man, and as an evidence of their appreciation of his services the company offered him the State of Kentucky, which he accepted. For one year he took the sole charge of the business. Being ambitious to control the largest agency the company had, he associated himself with Gen. B. R. Cowen (Assistant Secretary of the Interior during Grant’s administration) taking, under the firm name of Cowen & Robinson, the States of Ohio and Kentucky. This connection was highly successful and continued for nearly four years, Gen. Cowen retiring in 1882, and leaving the whole State of Kentucky to Mr. Robinson. Under the able management of Mr. Robinson the company’s business has not only been built up from $1,500,000 to $5,000,000, but has commanded the confidence and patronage of the best men in the State; and it can truly be said that no agency is in a more healthy condition than this. The career of Mr. Robinson is one worthy of emulation. Starting in life with only his natural resources, he has fought his way to the front and stands today as one of the leading and substantial men of Louisville. December 24, 1867, Mr. Robinson was married to Miss Olive B. Dilley, of Sarahsville, O., and came to Louisville in 1878. To this union have been born four children: Charles L., John Dilley, Mabel and Madge.

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This family biography is one of 195 biographies included in the Jefferson County, Kentucky section of the book, The History of Kentucky, Edition 8a published in 1888 by F. A. Battey Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: History of Kentucky, Edition 8a

View additional Jefferson County, Kentucky family biographies here: Jefferson County, Kentucky Biographies

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