1890 Peoria Co., IL Biography & Portrait Album Page 659-660
John W. Robbins is an old settler of this county, and an early pioneer of Timber Township, with whose interests he has been variously and prominently connected for many years. He is now one of its leading farmers and has a large and valuable farm. His portrait will be noticed on the opposite page.
Our subject comes of sturdy New England ancestry, and is himself a native of that section of the country, born Oct 9, 1818, in the town of Acton, county of Middlesex, Mass; his parents Bennah and Mary (Lampson) Robbins, were also natives of that town. His father was a son of Densmore Robbins, who was killed while teaming lumber from New Hampshire; he left a widow and the following children; Densmore, Joseph, Albe, John, Bennah, 2d, Lucy and Eunice, all of whom married and reared
families. The great grandfather of our subject came from England and the Lampson family came from Scotland. To Bennah and Mary Robbins were born eight children, one of whom died in infancy, the other grew to maturity, and of them the following is recorded: Francis is a resident of Massachusetts; Hannah, Mrs. Hill, lives in Peoria; Mary is deceased; Uriah died in or near Pella, Iowa, leaving a family of two sons and three daughters; Lucy died in infancy; John W. is the subject of this notice; Joseph was killed in a cotton factory in Lowell, Mass; Horace a resident of Quincy Point, Mass., is an inventor. Their parents who were people of exceedingly great worth and high character, died in the New England home in Massachusetts. They were faithful members of the Congregational Church.
He of whom we write passed the early years of his life on a farm in his native place and was thoroughly drilled in the best methods of carrying on agriculture and gained an excellent education in the common schools. He was ambitious to try life in the West and in the month of May, 1838 started on the eventful journey from Boston, ,coming the way of Philadelphia to Pittsburg, Pa., thence by river to Alton, IL. For eighteen months he worked at the trade of a cooper in that city, and on the 22nd of June came to Lancaster, Timber Township, from Pekin. He worked as a cooper there for several years and then engaged in the
mercantile business for some eighteen years. In the meantime he prudently saved his money and invested it judiciously and had acquired considerable property, when in the month of November, 1865, he located on the farm in Timber Township, which he had purchased before, and where he now resides. It comprises two hundred and forty acres of very fertile land, which he has placed under the excellent improvement; he owns besides two hundred and eighty acres in Fulton county; and a forty-acre
tract in Timber Township, all of which is cleared and under first class cultivation, with the exception of about twenty-seven acres. Our subject has experienced many ups and downs in the acquirement of his property. When in Peoria he lost $14,000 in the hay business in 1865, and lost all of his possessions excepting the place on which he now lives. When he first came to the state he landed at Alton with but $5.00 in his pocket. He has increased that until he is now numbered amongst the moneyed men of Timber Township, by the exercise of those faculties that mark him as a shrewd, keen sighted, capable man of business.
Mr. Robbins and Miss Charlotte a. Fahenstock were united in the happy bonds of wedlock, September 3, 1846, and in her our subject has found one who fills the perfect measure of wife, mother and friend. Mrs. Robbins is a native of Adams County, Pa., and is a daughter of Jacob and Maria (Harmon) Fahnestock. Mr. And Mrs. Robbins have had six children born to them, namely; Bennah, who served in the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry during the late war; Louis A., Clarence A.; Abbie L., wife of Leman Rice; Maria, wife of Orra Chamberlin; and John W., who died in infancy.
Mr. Robbins hold a high place in the estimation of his fellow-citizens, as he possess those attributes of character that command the confidece and regard of all who come in contact with him either in a business or social way. Those traits of character that have brought him prosperity also make him useful as a public official and he has served with distinction as a member of the county Board of Supervisors and as Justice of the Township. For several years he was Postmaster of Lancaster, and was very popular in that capacity. He is a sturdy adherent of the Democratic party and possesses shrewd and intelligent opinions on all political questions.
Submitted by Londie Benson.