Biography of Elna A. Robinson

Elna A. Robinson. During a long and active career Mr. Robinson has been prominently identified with Champaign County both in a professional and in a business way. His success in business has enabled him to retire and enjoy a financial competence and he is now a resident of the city of Champaign.

Mr. Robinson was born in South Reading, Vermont, December 15, 1839, a son of Ebenezer, Jr., and Adeline (Williams) Robinson. His father was born at South Reading, Vermont, September 30, 1809, and died July 5, 1849. He was married January 4, 1837, to Miss Williams, who was born December 19, 1814, and died July 18, 1894. They had three sons, Elna A., Stillman and Albert A.

Stillman Robinson is well remembered at Champaign and in University circles and was one of the leading engineers of the country. He was graduated as a civil engineer from the University of Michigan and from the age of twenty-five to twenty-eight was assistant on a United States lake survey and from twenty-eight to thirty-two years of age was assistant engineer with the faculty of the University of Michigan. From the age of thirty-two to forty he was professor of mechanical engineering and physics in the University of Illinois. He then accepted the chair of mechanical engineering with the Ohio State University, where he remained until he resigned in 1895. In 1896 he was given the degree D. Sc. and in 1899 was made professor emeritus in mechanical engineering at the Ohio State University. During, the years 1880-84 he was inspector of railroads and bridges for the State of Ohio. He was also engineer supervising the construction of the famous Lick telescope in California. His death occurred at Columbus, Ohio, in 1910.

Albert A. Robinson was born October 21, 1844, and became a civil engineer. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and followed railroading all of his active life. He was vice-president and general manager of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, president of the Mexican Central Railway for nine years, and he is now living retired at Topeka, Kansas.

Elna A. Robinson secured a substantial groundwork of literary training, and from seventeen until he was twenty-one was a machinist apprentice. In 1870 he entered the University of Illinois and was graduated in 1875 with the degree Mechanical Engineer. For the next four years he remained as an assistant in the mechanical engineering department of the University. Mr. Robinson in 1878 formed a partnership with E. M. Burr in the general machine construction business. This partnership continued until dissolved in 1899, when Mr. Robinson took the plumbing end of the business and continued it successfully until he sold out in 1915 and has since lived retired. He is a Republican in politics and a member of the Baptist Church.

On April 27, 1861, Mr. Robinson married Miss Melora M. Smith, who died August 16, 1885. They were the parents of five children: Sarah Ann, Addie Eva and Gertrude Minnie are all now deceased. Gertrude M. became the wife of William L. Troyer and she left two children, Fannie F. and Mabel. Inez Mary is the wife of A. Boyd of Urbana and their children are Bert B., George A., Wilber A., Neil D., John R., Jay, Blanche, deceased, and Ruth. Fannie Nettie is the wife of Thomas Inskip, of Champaign, and has had three children; Thomas, deceased, Francis R. and Clarence E. Mr. Robinson married for his second wife Mrs. Semphronia E. (Stage) Jenks, who was born in Iowa.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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