Randolph  County,  Indiana

George  W. Robbins

George Robbins
Henrietta Kelch

            The every-day life, with its cares, necessities and duties, affords ample opportunities for acquiring experience of the best kind and its most beaten paths provide a true worker with abundant scope for effort and improvement. This fact was recognized early in life by George W. Robbins, one of the enterprising and representative citizens of Winchester, who seized the small opportunities which he encountered on the rugged hill that leads to life's lofty summit where lies the ultimate goal of success, never attained by the weak, inactive and ambitionless. Mr. Robbins has carried on special lines of endeavor with that energy, discretion and perseverance which are sure to find their natural sequence in definite success, and in such a man there is particular satisfaction in offering in his life history justification for the compilation of works of this character.
            Mr. Robbins was born August 21, 1847, in Ithaca, Darke county, Ohio. He is a son of Solomon and Mary (Shepherd) Robbins. The father was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, and was a son of Richard Robbins, who came to that locality in the year 1804 from Randolph county, North Carolina.   The father of the subject of this sketch was born November 7, 1811, and the mother was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, April 15, 1813, and she came with her parents, Dennis Shepherd and wife, to Ithaca, Darke county, Ohio, in 1821.

Henrietta Robbins
Henrietta Kelch

 The father of the subject of this sketch was born November 7, 1811, and the mother was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, April 15, 1813, and she came with her parents, Dennis Shepherd and wife, to Ithaca, Darke county, Ohio, in 1821. Both Grandfather Robbins and Grandfather Shepherd settled in the woods and began life in Darke county as true pioneers. They came by wagon overland, thence by steamboat down the Ohio river. The Shepherd family started by boat on the Monongahela river from their old home in Pennsylvania, and while enroute they were caught in an ice gorge, the boat wrecked and they lost all their belongings. They were detained in their journey to Ohio about three years, during which time they made money enough to come on to their destination. Grandfather Dennis Shepherd acquired a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which is still in the family and has never been sold or mortgaged. His death occurred at the advanced age of ninety-two years, and his wife at the age of ninety-five years. They were a remarkable old couple. Their family consisted of ten sons and one daughter, Mary, who was the mother of the subject of this sketch. Mr. Shepherd became one of the prosperous farmers of Darke county. He was a "hickory Quaker." In addition to farming he kept a tavern, where many a weary traveler found rest. In frontier days the Robbins family settled in Montgomery county, Ohio, and in 1808 Grandfather Robbins went to Darke county, that state, and entered one hundred and sixty acres of land on Twin creek, but the Indians were so annoying that he returned to Montgomery county, where he had first settled, and there he remained until after the war of 1812, and in 1813 returned to his land in Darke county. He gave twenty acres of his land to a friend that he might have a neighbor. Here Solomon Robbins and Mary Shepherd were married in 1835. During the war of 1812 Grandfather Richard Robbins was a regimental drummer. The parents of our subject lived in Darke county, Ohio, until 1853, when they moved to Randolph county, Indiana, and settled on a farm of forty acres about twelve miles northwest of Winchester. Early in life the father learned the blacksmith's trade, which he worked at before leaving Ohio. He brought his family from Darke to Randolph county in a one-horse wagon. He paid three hundred dollars for his forty acres here, the money being in silver half-dollars-six hundred of them. This sum he had saved from his blacksmithing back in Darke county. He continued his trade in Randolph county in connection with farming, and in 1855 left the farm and moved to Farmland and opened a blacksmith shop in partnership with Jonathan Macy, grandfather of the late Judge Macy, of Winchester. In 1859 Solomon Robbins moved to a farm four miles north of Farmland, where he remained until1867, farming and blacksmithing. In 1867 he moved to a farm one mile east of Farmland, where he lived until his death, July 12, 1877. His widow survived until December 16, 1895, dying at Redkey, Indiana, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Thomas Gray. Politically, Solomon Robbins was a Republican and he was a man of influence in his community, and was one of our best farmers in his day and generation as well as one of the most skillful blacksmiths of that period. His family consisted of eight children, two dying in infancy, three sons and three daughters living to maturity, namely; Rosanna, who married John Elwood, died in Grundy county, Missouri; William S. lives in Chico, California; Ruth V. married Thomas Gray, of Redkey, Indiana; George W., of this sketch; Elizabeth S. is the wife of William Collins, of Chico, California; Enos R., of Indianapolis.
            George W. Robbins was reared on the various farms owned by his father and in Farmland, and was educated in the public schools. He began learning the blacksmith's trade under his father in 1864. He worked with James Rice in Greenville, Ohio, one year, then returned to Farmland and finished learning the trade with his brother. In 1868 he opened a shop of his own in Farmland, which he operated until 1869, when he added the implement business to his blacksmithing and was soon doing a large business.
            Mr. Robbins discontinued the blacksmithing business in 1873, but continued the implement business until 1889 with ever increasing success. On March 1, 1890, he moved to Winchester and has since resided here. He has engaged in the live Stock business. He has traveled extensively for Altman-Miller & Company, The Buckeye Reaper Company, of Akron,Ohio. In 1891 he resigned his position with the Buckeye Reaper Company and became general agent for Indiana for the Ohio Rake Company, of Dayton, which position he still holds. In 1900 this company sent him to Europe in the interest of the firm and again in 1901, he went to Europe for the company, traveling in England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Denmark, Austria and Italy, firmly establishing the company's business in all those countries. He has given eminent satisfaction to the above-named firms, being regarded as among their most efficient, reliable and trustworthy employees. He has had other business interests. He owns a splendid farm in Randolph county, and has valuable land in other counties. He and his wife have traveled extensively in the United States, especially to the Pacific Coast, California, Yellow Stone Park and most places of interest, and, both being keen observers and excellent conversationalists it is pleasant to spend a few hours in their commodious and attractive home on South Main street, listening to their instructive discourse on their travels.
            Mr. Robbins was married November 19, 1871, to Henrietta Shaw, who was born September 13, 1852. She was a daughter of Aaron Shaw, who was born in Delaware county, Ohio, June 28, 1816. Her mother was Betsey Ann Jenkins, born august 4, 1816, in Jefferson county, Virginia. To our subject and wife only one child was born, Lola, whose birth occurred September 20, 1872. She married on December 26, 1895, John C. Kelch, of Mt. Carmel, Illinois. He is engaged in the lumber business there, and is also an extensive farmer. They had two children, one died in infancy, and Henrietta.
            Politically, Mr. Robbins has always been a Republican and more or less active in public matters. In 1892 he was a candidate for sheriff of Randolph county but was defeated by a small majority. In the fall of 1904 he was elected treasurer of this county, but he did not take office until July 1, 1906. He served one term of two years in a manner entirely satisfactory to his constituents. He was not a candidate for re-election. But Harry Jack, who had been elected to succeed him, died and Mr. Robbins continued in the office until a successor was elected, in the fall of 1909, thus serving three years in all. Fraternally, Mr. Robbins is a Mason, also belongs to the improved Order of Red Men, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He and his wife are regular attendants and supporters of the Presbyterian church.
            The mother of Mrs. Robbins died in Farmland, Indiana, January 23, 1879, and Aaron Shaw, father of Mrs. Robbins, died in Hopkins, Missouri, June 8, 1892. They were the parents of six children, namely: Fremont died when about twenty years of age; he was the only son, the five daughters being Sarah, now the widow of David Hobbick, of Winchester; Mrs. Christian Williamson, of Youngstown, Ohio, both of whom are now deceased; Caroline, who married Edward Ritter, a captain in the Civil war, is deceased, as is also her husband; Mary, who married James Zachary, of Des Moines, Iowa, is living, but he is deceased; Henrietta S., wife of Mr. Robbins, of this sketch.
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson

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