HAMILTON M. ROBINSON

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 125-126

HAMILTON MOFFAT ROBINSON was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, February 12, 1862, and is the eldest son of James Hamilton Robinson and Frances Jane Moffat.  Both the parents represent ancient Scottish families.

James H. Robinson, who was born in London and educated at the Edinburgh High School, engaged in business in Manchester, England, soon after completing his education, and later in London, in the East India trade.   He continued in business about thirty years, dealing in jute and export merchandise.  During a portion of this time he resided at Calcutta, in order to give personal supervision to his export trade.  In 1885 he retired from business and came to America, locating at Winnipeg, Manitoba, where his children had preceded him and where he still resides.  His father, George Brown Robinson, had succeeded his (George’s) father in the East India trade, and also resided for some years in Calcutta.  He married Jane Campbell Hamilton, like himself a native of Scotland.  She is still living in London, at the age of seventy-five years.

Mrs. Frances J. Robinson was a daughter of Col. Bowland Moffat, who commanded the Fifty-fourth Regiment of the British army, was a veteran of the Crimean War, and was stationed for some years at Calcutta, at which place Mr. and Mrs. James H. Robinson were married.  A number of the ancestors of Colonel Moffat were well-to-do merchants in the West India trade, and several members of the family served in the British army.

Hamilton M. Robinson was but six months old when the family moved from London and again took up its residence in Calcutta.  Seven years subsequently he returned to Europe, and attended boarding-schools at various points in the South of England.  At the age of sixteen years he finished the course at Chatham House College, Ramsgate, Kent.  It had been his intention to enter the East Indian civil service, but owing to his father’s financial embarrassments at that time, he abandoned this purpose and entered the London office of Kelly & Company, East India merchants.  He began in the capacity of office boy, but with such vigor and intelligence did he apply himself to business, that  in the brief space of four years he became the office manager of the firm.  He continued in that connection until September, 1883, when he determined to seek a wider field for the development of his talents and ability, and came to America, joining his brother in the Northwest Territory of Canada.  He homesteaded a farm in Manitoba, but a short time sufficed to convince him that the pursuit of agriculture was neither as profitable nor congenial as he had anticipated.  In the following May he joined a friend who was coming to Chicago, and has ever since made this city his home and place of business.  In the spring of 1885 he again visited the Northwest Territory, and as a member of Colonel Boulton’s scouts, assisted in suppressing the Riel rebellion.

He arrived here with neither money, friends nor influence, and wasted no time in seeking or waiting for a genteel position, but immediately began work at the first employment which he could obtain.  In the mean time he was constantly on the alert for a more lucrative occupation, and in a few weeks secured a position as bookkeeper with the Anglo-American Packing and Provision Company, with which he remained for about three years.  In May, 1887, he resigned this employment and obtained a position with the firm of Crosby & Macdonald, marine underwriters.  He continued in this connection about five years, winning the confidence and esteem of his employers, and demonstrating his integrity and ability for the transaction of business.  In whatever position he has been placed he has ever been an indefatigable worker, striving to promote the interests of those whom he served, even at the expense of his own health and personal comfort.  On the first of June, 1892, Mr. Robinson formed a partnership with James B. Kellogg, under the firm name of Kellogg & Robinson, marine average adjusters.  This is one of the leading firms of marine adjusters upon the shores of Lake Michigan, and their success has been gratifying from the start.

Mr. Robinson is a member of the Lake Board of Average Adjusters, and of the Association of Average Adjusters of the United States.   He has never identified himself with any political party, but takes an intelligent interest in questions of public policy, and has been an American citizen since 1891.  He is heartily in sympathy with the spirit of American institutions, and may be classed as one of the most desirable and useful among the foreign-born citizens of Chicago.

He was married, in 1887, to Ida T. Cleverdon, of Toronto, province of Ontario, Canada, daughter of William Thompson Cleverdon and Nanie Geech, both formerly residents of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

                                -- Submitted on April 29, 2000 by Sherri Hessick ( shessick@flash.net )