General James S. Robinson
Hardin County has a rich history when it comes to those who served in the
American Civil War. Jacob Parrott and Delano Morey both received the Medal
of Honor for acts of bravery during the war. Another man, General James.
S. Robinson is another such man. General Robinson would serve bravely
during the war but his life before and after the war was just as
Born near Mansfield, Ohio in 1827, Robison was the youngest of four sons.
His parents, Francis and Jane Robinson, came from England and became
substantial farmers of Richland County in 1817. Robinson and his family
worked their farm together and when he was old enough, he attended the
public school. Because educational opportunities were limited during this
time period, he worked hard to develop his educational skill and at age 16
began working at the Richland Bugle where he learned the art of type
setting. By 1844, Robinson was an apprentice in the office of the
Mansfield Jeffersonian, which would later become the Mansfield Harold. In
June of 1846 he moved to Tiffin, Ohio where he worked of the Seneca Whig.
Robinson stayed in Tiffin for six months and after Christmas 1846 he made
his final move to Kenton where he was offered a management position at the
Weekly News a struggling paper that had been bought by the Whig party of
Hardin County two years before. Robinson renamed the paper the Kenton
Republican and worked to save the struggling paper. The first edition
would roll off the presses on Wednesday, January 20, 1847. Robinson became
the sole owner and editor of the paper which covered local news and the
When Fort Sumter fell in 1861, Robinson enlisted as a private with the
Fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was chosen by the men of Company G to
be lieutenant and later would move to the rank of captain. Due to his
service and ability he would quickly move through the ranks and by
December 1864 he had achieved the brevet rank of brigadier general. His
participation in the battles of Second Bull Run and Gettysburg and his
conduct during these battles would help to earn him the rank of major
general. It was during the battle at Gettysburg that Robinson almost lost
his life. While helping move the remained of the 82nd Ohio through the
town, Robinson was struck in the upper chest by a bullet. Because there
was no medical attention and his men knowing he would die if he was moved.
McPherson and laid him on the kitchen floor where he remained all night
with no medical attention. Refusing to believe that he would die, he
continually poured water through his wound, an act that saved his life.
Robinson would later be moved to a hospital where he stayed for a month
and then was granted a furlough to return to Kenton to continue his
recovery. It would be several months before he would be fully recovered.
He would return to the front upon his recovery and would be a part of The Atlanta Campaign and Sherman’s March to the Sea. He mustered out of the army on August 31, 1865.
After the war, Robinson returned to Kenton and was called upon to be
president of the Ohio Commission that remembered those who gave their life on the field at Gettysburg. He worked to build up the city of Kenton and
when the Chicago and Erie Railroad Company began to build he was one of
the contractors for the construction between Kenton and Marion. Among
other endeavors, Robinson served secretary of the first state convention
for the Republican Party in Ohio. He was also clerk of the Ohio House of
Representative in 1855-56 and upon his return from the war he was
appointed assessor of internal revenue. In 1880, he was elected to
represent the ninth district of Ohio in Congress and was reelected in 1882
and at the time had the distinction of being the only man from Hardin
County to be elected to Congress.
General James S. Robinson died on January 14, 1892. After serving his
city, county, state, and country he was laid to rest in Grove Cemetery in
Kenton. He was survived by his second wife Hester A. Carlin who died in
1907 and a son Parlee and a daughter, Jane.