Hugh Jackson Robinson. Going about the streets with firm step, attending to his affairs with unclouded mind, Hugh Jackson Robinson has attained the dignity and distinction of eight-three years of useful and honorable life. He is one of the oldest residents of Champaign County and has known this section of Illinois for over sixty years.
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He was born near Belfast, Ireland, March 28, 1833, a son of Robert and Maria Margaret (Jackson) Robinson. His mother, it is said, was a first cousin of President Andrew Jackson. The Robinsons are of Scotch stock. The mother died in Ireland and the father subsequently came to the United States and first located in Dutchess County, New York. He lived there until 1848, and in that year moved west to Wisconsin, which had just become a state. He took up a claim in Fond du Lac County and cleared up a farm. This was his home until his death on June 15, 1852. They had six children, Mary, Jane, Eleanor, John, Hugh J. and William, Hugh being the only one now living. The sister Mary died when nearly ninety years of age.
Hugh J. Robinson acquired his early education in New York State, and at the age of nineteen, in the fall of 1852, came to Urbana, Illinois, with the Gere Brothers, tie and timber contractors. He spent four years with this firm getting out tie and bridge timbers.
In 1857 Mr. Robinson acquired his first interests in Champaign County as a farmer, buying a quarter section in Section 33, Sadorus Township. This is now known as the Pioneer Grove Farm. In 1860 he brought his family to Champaign County and in 1866 acquired the other half of the north half of Section 33, and has made that the scene of an extensive business as a stock raiser, cattle feeder and horse breeder.
Mr. Robinson married October 8, 1858, Jane Thrasher. She passed away in 1874, the mother of three children: Robert T., living in Minnesota; William C., on the old homestead; and Martha Jane, who married William Miller and has two daughters, Edith and Jessie Miller. In 1875 Mr. Robinson married Susan Jane Hutchinson. She was his faithful and trusted companion for over forty years and passed away only recently, in January, 1917. One son was born to their marriage, John Winfield, but he died at the early age of four years.
Mr. Robinson has been a prominent factor in Champaign County’s public affairs and for thirty years, from 1866 to 1896, was a member of the county board. He was elected a member of the Legislature and served in the Forty-first and Forty-second General Assemblies, and carefully looked after the interests of his constituents and also impressed his ability upon the legislation affecting statewide interests. He also served as township school treasurer and director, as township collector and trustee, and has long been recognized as one of the leading Democrats of Champaign County.
Mr. Robinson was one of the five original directors of the First National Bank at Ivesdale when that bank took out a national charter, and he has continued a director to the present time. Quite recently he was elected vice president of the bank. Mr. Robinson has been a Mason for over half a century, and has attained the Knight Templar Commandery degrees. His church sentiments are expressed by the Universalist denomination. Mr. Robinson continues to reside at the old homestead, and his fine country residence is on Rural Route No. 51 out of Sadorus.