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Below is a family biography included in The History of DeKalb County, Tennessee published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  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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Hon. John B. Robinson, attorney at law of Smithville, is a native of De Kalb County; was born in 1835. His parents were Alexander and Rachel (Barnes) Robinson. The father was of English descent, born in Cumberland County, Va., about 1804. He came to Tennessee in 1824, locating in Smith (now De Kalb) County. Two years later he settled in the Fourth District. He taught school several sessions and then married. He was surveyor of the county a number of years. He owned 150 acres of fine land at the time of his death in 1867. His wife was born in De Kalb County, in 1804. Her parents, George and Bridget Barnes, were among the pioneers, settling in the county before 1800. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson had nine children, six of whom are living, our subject being the fourth. He was educated in the common schools. There were no public schools and his parents were unable to send him to college. After he attained his majority he began teaching, which he followed for several years. The last sessions he was in Illinois. In 1855 he commenced the study of law on his own responsibility, but advising with Judge Robert Cantrell, now of Lebanon. In 1858 he was admitted to the bar. When the war broke out he became one of the boys in blue. In June, 1862, he enlisted in Company I, Sixty-ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, for ninety days. After serving his time he returned home. He went to Jefferson County, Ill., at Mt. Vernon, and returned to Smithville in 1864. After the restoration of peace he resumed his practice and in 1867 was elected attorney-general of the circuit of Tennessee, and served two and a half years. At two different periods T. W. Wade was his partner; for twelve months he was with Nesmith. For twenty years our subject has been one of the leading and most prominent lawyers in the county. His honor has never once been questioned. His forte is in chancery practice. He is a Republican; previous to the war he was a Whig, casting his first presidential vote for Millard Fillmore, in 1856. He belongs to the I. O. O. F. Lodge, No. 217, Pure Fountain, of Smithville. In February, 1869, he married Miss Julia, daughter of H. B. and Julia G. McDonald, of Smith County, where Mrs. Robinson was born in 1849. Their union was blessed with six children: Mary, Alice, Harry, John, David, and William Loyd Garrett. Mrs. Robinson is an earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

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This family biography is one of 45 biographies included in The History of DeKalb County, Tennessee published in 1887.  The History of Dekalb County was included within The History of Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Warren & White Counties of Tennessee. For the complete description, click here: History of Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Warren, White Counties of Tennessee

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