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MEAFORD EXPRESS (1909) - Mr. Matthew Robinson, who died at the residence of his son William J., on Tuesday evening of last week, removes one who in his palmy days was looked upon as a very prosperous business man, but one who was also noted for the prominent part he took in the public life of the town. Having an intellectual gift of a more than ordinary nature and characterized by that ready wit for which Irishmen are so well known the world over. Mr. Robinson possessed those qualities of head and heart which won for him a deservedly popular reputation as a man of bright intellect, affable disposition, unfaltering devotion to what he believe to be right and steadfast adherence to principles which made for the betterment of mankind and especially for the welfare of the community in which he resided.
   Born in New Ross, County of Wexford, Ireland, in 1832. Mr. Robinson came with his parents to Canada when a boy 15 years of age, landing at Quebec, where the family lived for a year or two, during which time the deceased acted as time-keeper in a large lumber mill. They then moved to St. Vincent, which was then an ....en wilderness, and where considerable hardship and privation was experienced in hewing out a comfortable home. The deceased took a liking to carpentering and was apprenticed to the trade. He subsequently took contracts for the erection of houses and other buildings in Meaford and surrounding country.
   In 1859 Mr. Robinson was married at Collingwood to Miss Margaret Johns, who predeceased him six years ago. Soon after his marriage he came to Meaford and continued to work as a carpenter until he took charge of the wharf storehouse about 1860 in company with Mr. Thos. Harris and afterwards with Mr. John Layton. The storehouse was twice destroyed by fire, and the present building is the third of the kind that Mr. Robinson erected in Meaford. In 1872 he and his partner abandoned the storehouse and engaged in buying grain on the market for a couple of seasons. In 1875 the partnership was dissolved, and Mr. Robinson started a grocery store and liquor store on the west side of Sykes street which he carried on for seven years. He then opened a general agency and money loan office in the old Andrews block, where he did quite a successful business for some time. He afterwards succeeded Mr. W.H. Train as local manager of the Bell Telephone Company. After holding this position for nearly seven years he sold his right to Mr. R. Agnew, the present manager, and again applied for and obtained a lease of the town dock for a term. In 1908 he and Mr. David Gibbons were appointed to assess the town, but before he had time to complete his share of the work he was suddenly seized with partial paralysis and his W.J. Was chosen as a substitute. During a portion of the above mentioned time Mr Robinson was doing yeoman service for the people in a public capacity.
   He was elected a Town Councilor in 1878, when Mr. J.D. McGee was Mayor, and was also one of the successful candidates in the election for the Councillors the following year. He again served as Town Councilor in 1884, 1885 and in 1895, holding the position of chairman of the Water Works committee for one year. In 1885 he was nominated for the Mayoralty against J.J. Johnston and Charles, but declined the honor. Mr. Robinson was a keen debater and could always be depended upon to hold his own in discussions which took place from time to time. His views of public questions had the merit of being rational and logically conclusive whether taken from; an affirmative or alternative point of view. In all his public utterances he seldom, if ever, transgressed the rules of order and invariably gave credit to whom credit was due. He could, with equal equanimity, utter words as cutting as a two-edged sword or as healing as the “balm of Gilead,” and in either case his sincerity of purpose being held before the body was taken to War's Cemetery for interment. He is survived by sons:- William J., with whom he resided since his wife's death, Mr. David, Meaford; Frank, Quebec; Harvey and Bernard, American Soo. He also leaves two brother, William, of Meaford; and Michael, of Owen Sound.

Source: Meaford Express

Transcribed & submitted by: Donna Binsted

Contact : dbinsted at

Transcribed newspaper obituaries of Grey County residents, whether from the 1800s or 1900s are welcome for posting. Scans are not necessary as the emailed text is stylized on the web page as a reasonable approximation of the original obituary.

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