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The Benjamin Robbins Family Story

by Lanny A. Robbins

(Great Grandson of Benjamin Jackson Robbins)

October 5, 2004

Benjamin Robbins (born 1786) and his first wife Sarah Bailey were natives ofVermont as described in the obituary of their first son, Archibald.  They lived in Ovid (now Lodi), Seneca Co. NY in 1812 when their son Archibald Robbins was born and also in 1815 when their daughter Elizabeth (Betsy) Robbins was born.  Benjamin and Sarah Robbins lived in Jersey Township in the vicinity of Lake Lamoka, Steuben County (now Tyrone Twp. Schuyler County) NY in 1820 when their second son Caleb Robbins was born and when the New York census was recorded in 1820 and 1825.  In 1825 they lived on 14 acres of improved land with 2 cattle, 5 hogs and produced 24 yards of linen, cotton, clothes, etc.

Then I think Benjamin's first wife Sarah died about 1826 and Benjamin married his second wife Mary (Maria) about 1828.  Benjamin Robbins and family were on the 1830 census record for Jersey in Steuben County NY and lived there when Nancy Robbins was born in 1833 and again when the 1835 New York state census was recorded.  In 1835 they lived on 30 acres of improved land and owned 1 horse, 5 cattle, 9 sheep and 5 hogs.  I think that Benjamin and Mary Robbins took Benjamin's teenage son, Caleb, plus their little toddler, Nancy, along with their belongings in a wagon and went over to Olean NY and got on a flatboat with several other families and rafted down the Allegheny River through Pittsburgh PA and on down the Ohio River through Cincinnati, Ohio, to Madison, Indiana, during the spring flood of 1836.  They settled in Jennings County, Indiana where Charles Robbins was born October 25, 1836.  Benjamin Robbins bought land on June 27, 1837, just south and east of  the Cana cemetery in Marion Township.  Benjamin and Mary Robbins joined the Coffee Creek Baptist Church at Paris Crossing, Indiana, in July of 1837.  Their son Aaron Robbins was born July 8, 1837.  But, then Benjamin’s second wife, Mary, died in November of 1838.

On June 16, 1839, Benjamin Robbins married a third time to a 32 year old widow lady, Susannah Chaney/Burton, who had been a member of the Coffee Creek Baptist Church in Paris Crossing since May of 1835.  She had five children from her first husband, William T. Burton, before he died in Bartholomew County, Indiana in 1834 when Susannah was 27 years old.  Benjamin and Susannah Robbins bought two adjacent 40 acre parcels by Paris Crossing about one half mile south of the old Coffee Creek cemetery on January 26, 1844, and probably lived there when their daughter, Emily Robbins, was born as well as when their son, Benjamin Jackson Robbins, was born on May 30, 1845.  The combined families of Benjamin and Susannah Robbins appeared on the September 11, 1850, census for Montgomery Township, Jennings County, Indiana.

September 11, 1850, census for Montgomery Twp, Jennings County Indiana

Name                           Age Occupation Birthplace

Benj Rob[b]ins                  64 farmer     b. NY

Susanna [Chaney/Burton/Robbins] 43            b. KY

Susanna [Burton]                22            b. KY

Amos [Burton]                   21 farmer     b. KY

Sally A. [Burton]               15            b. IN [Bartholomew Co.IN]

Nancy [Robbins]                 17            b. IN [Steuben Co. NY]

Charles [Robbins]               14            b. IN [Cana IN]

Aaron [Robbins]                 13            b. IN [Cana IN]

Emily [Robbins]                  6            b. IN [Paris Crossing IN]

Jackson [Robbins]                4            b. IN [Paris Crossing IN]

Sally, Charles and Aaron attended school in 1850.

Allen Hill                      19 farmer     b. IN

Salena Hill                     21            b. IN

Amos Burton                     20            b. KY

[Comments in brackets added by Lanny A. Robbins, actual abbreviation for Indiana was Ia in the census record]

Susannah Chaney Burton/Robbins died in September of 1852 when she was 45 years old.  Two of the Burton children, John and Rebecca, and their spouses sold Susannah’s 40 acres on May 3, 1854.  In June of 1854 Benjamin Robbins was excluded from the membership roll of the Coffee Creek Baptist Church in Paris Crossing, Indiana.  Benjamin was 68 years old and may have moved into the home of his son Caleb and attended  another church.  Caleb was a member of the First Marion Baptist Church about 2 miles north of Cana and 5 miles west of Commiskey. 

In 1855 the Burton and Robbins children decided to move out west to Kansas.  The oldest girl, Susannah Burton, was dismissed by letter of transfer from the membership roll of the Coffee Creek Baptist Church in Paris Crossing, Indiana, in August of 1855.  Shortly after leaving Indiana they were advised not to go to Kansas because it was a border state between the North and the South.  So, they would have gone to Nebraska then but the youngest Burton girl, Sally, was very frail and became quite ill so they stopped in Bloomfield, Iowa, to take care of her.  Sally died in Iowa. 

On August 11, 1856, Benjamin Robbins sold his 40 acres at Paris Crossing, Indiana.  At a Coffee Creek Baptist Church business meeting on the 3rd Saturday in June of 1857 Benjamin Robbins was restored to the church membership roll and then dismissed by letter of transfer at the same meeting.  Benjamin may have died at that time and wished to be buried by Susannah at the Coffee Creek Baptist Church cemetery.  A short biography of Aaron Robbins reported that his father died in Indiana at the age of 70.

The older boys in the Burton-Robbins family worked at a brick factory in Bloomfield, Iowa, where they knew the Headrick family.  Charles Robbins married Nancy A. Pollard in 1856, Amos Chaney Burton married Lavina Headrick in 1858, Aaron Robbins married Frances Welch in 1861 and Emily Robbins married Mortan C. Floyd in 1864 while they all lived in Davis County Iowa.  Benjamin Jackson Robbins lived in the home of Amos and Lavina Burton.  During 1863 to 1865 all of the families, except Emily’s moved out near Ashland (now Saunders County) in the Nebraska Territory.  Nebraska became a state in 1867.  Amos Burton and his family built a sod house at Waverly, Nebraska (now Lancaster County).  Emily may have died in Davis County Iowa about 1868.  In 1874 Benjamin Jackson Robbins married Amelia Beyer and this marriage was the first one recorded after the Saunders County courthouse location was moved from Ashland to Wahoo, Nebraska.

Thanks to Lanny Robbins for the contribution!

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