Biography of William Henry Robinson, M. D.
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William Henry Robinson, M. D. The value of an individual life is often expressed not so much through its positive services of a routine nature, but in its attitude toward those ideals and things which are still objects to be realized in that particular community. Such had been the distinctive role played by Dr. W. H. Robinson at Eudora, in addition to the splendid work he had performed through his profession.
Doctor Robinson first came to Kansas in 1872, when a young man, and had spent most of his active career in this state. He was born at one of the first centers of civilization in the old Northwest Territory, at Chillicothe, Ohio, May 17, 1848. His Robinson ancestors came originally from England but have been Americans for many generations. Some of the family fought in the Revolutionary war, the War of 1812, and in the Mexican and Civil wars. Doctor Robinson’s brother Solomon S. was brevetted a major during the Civil war for building a pontoon bridge across the Potomac River. Another, John H. Robinson, was captain of a company in an Illinois Regiment in the same war, subsequently became a noted lawyer and was elected a judge at Cairo, Illinois. Doctor Robinson’s father was a merchant at Chillicothe and was also identified with the packing industry there in the early days. He married Katy Hutt, whose father, Rev. John Hutt, was a Methodist minister. John J. Robinson and wife had eleven children and also adopted and reared three others. He was a devout Methodist and often served as an exhorter. In 1866 John J. Robinson removed to Kansas City and made that his home the rest of his life. Of his children two daughters and one son are still living.
Doctor Robinson spent the first twelve years of his life in Ohio and then removed to Cairo, Illinois. He had a public school education, and after making up his mind as to his professional vocation he studied medicine under Dr. E. Stang Dickerson, one of the most noted physicians of Kansas City. He also entered the old College of Physicians and Surgeons there, from which he was graduated March 4, 1872.
A full fledged M. D. Doctor Robinson located at Monticello in Johnson County, Kansas, and had a successful practice there for about eight years. In that time he served about two years as postmaster. It was a period in which Kansas passed through the dry years and the grasshopper plague, and much of the work Doctor Robinson did there had to go as a gratuituous service because the people were in many cases too poor even to pay for the most pressing necessities.
In 1880 Doctor Robinson removed to Liberty, Missouri, and was a physician in that city for eight years. There also he served as postmaster for two and a half years. In March, 1888, he came to Eudera, Kansas, with which community he had been identified for nearly thirty years. Aside from his practice Doctor Robinson had taken an active interest in everything of a progressive nature in the community. He was twice elected and served as mayor of Eudora. This is a community where the German element predominates. Perhaps the majority of sentiment would be opposed to the absolute restriction of the liquor traffic. Thus it requires some particular courage and ability to go against the current of public opinion, to stand outright for prohibition, but that had been the course of Doctor Robinson throughout his residence. He not only favors state-wide prohibition, but nationwide prohibition, and he had become a thorough convert to the idea of nationwide woman suffrage. In matters of general politics he had always been a republican. Doctor Robinson is affiliated with the Masonic order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Both Doctor Robinson and his wife are among the most cultivated and refined people of their community. Mrs. Robinson, before her marriage on March 28, 1890, was Miss Lizzie Kunkle, daughter of John and Marie (Kemper) Kunkle. They have one daughter, Marie, who attended the University of Kansas two years and Baker University two years, and is a graduate of the Department of Public Speaking of Baker University.