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General James S. Robinson

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

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

Whig party.

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.

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.

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