Wednesday, June 22, 2011

William Jasper Robinson- MS to ARK

Born in 1840-1841 in Itawamba County, near Tremont, William Jasper Robinson moved to Prairie County, Arkansas around 1855-1860.   His parents were William and Jane Robinson, both South Carolina natives who moved to Marion County, Alabama and Itawamba County, Mississippi.   This photo of William Jasper Robinson appeared in the Itawamba Settlers magazine several years ago, submitted by his grandson Ken Robinson, now deceased.   Although I never met or corresponded with Ken - he died before I got hooked on genealogy - I have found his trail of queries across South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.  It was gratifying to learn that Ken and I were on the same page, so to speak, as to our Robinson heritage.  Ken and I both believe that our Robinson families connect back to Matthew Robinson who fought in the Revolutionary War from Abbeville District, South Carolina and who later moved to Lawrence County and Marion County, Alabama.

There is scant information about Jasper's parents, pretty much all we know comes from census records which indicate William was born around 1815 in South Carolina, and his wife Jane also was born in South Carolina, around 1824.     Another clue found in the 1850 census record is William's neighbor of Thomas E. Robinson, believed to be his brother.  By 1860, William and Jane appear to have died because their obviously orphaned children were living with Thomas E. Robinson in Prairie County, Arkansas.   The families also lived in Itawamba County some time in the 1840's, based on the birth places of the children given in the later censuses.

In 1850, William, his supposed brother Thomas, and their respective families were living in Marion County, Alabama.  Based on the names of their neighbors, it appears that they lived in the Pine Springs area (near Detroit) of present-day Lamar County.    A biographical sketch of Thomas's son in the 1889 history of Lonoke County, Arkansas (formerly part of Prairie County) indicates that Thomas was "of Tennessee" and moved to Alabama with his parents at an early age, moved to Mississippi in 1855, then to Arkansas.   The Tennessee reference is interesting, and supports the theory I have that our Robinsons migrated from South Carolina to Franklin County, Tennessee where several families lived for a few short years (probably 1818-1822 or so) before moving on to Alabama.  Thomas E. Robinson's middle name was Ellis, as evidenced by the 1880 census which shows him as Ellis.  There was at least one other Thomas Ellis Robinson, born 1844 in Itawamba County, the son of Matthew W. and Anna Liddle Robinson.  And there were at least three other Thomas E. Robinsons of Itawamba County who were part of our extended Robinson family and whose middle name may have been Ellis.

Back to Jasper.   He married first, Sarah Ewell, with whom he had a son named William Ellis Robinson.   Jasper next married Mary Elizabeth Lee, daughter of John Lee and Adeline McVey, and they had six children together.   Jasper served in the Civil War, and according to his grandson Jasper died September 1, 1903.  He is buried in Whitley Cemetery in Lonoke County, Arkansas.  Whitley Cemetery is one of the most peaceful cemeteries I've found.  Mike and I found this cemetery, and Jasper's grave, on a trip home from Arkansas in 2006.   The CSA marker for Jasper indicates that he died in 1892, but this is incorrect.  The 1900 census shows he and his wife living in Lonoke township of Lonoke County, Arkansas.

I'd love to hear from anyone who can provide information about brothers William and Thomas, their wives, or any of their children.  Here are census records for them.

1850 Census
Marion County, Alabama
Same page as Thomas E. Roberson:
W.B. Roberson  33 SC  Farmer  (born 1817)
Jane S.S. 26 SC
William J., 10 MS,
John H, 8 MS
Narcissa C. 6 MS
Francis J.  5 AL
Sarah E. 2  AL
Jonathan G. H. Motly?, 2, M, AL

1850 Census
Marion County, Alabama
Beat 3
Thomas E. Roberson 35 SC    (born 1815)
 Prissilea 38 SC           
 William H. 10 AL                                                                  
 John J. 8 AL
 Sarah E. 6 MS
 Thomas E. 3 AL
1860 Census
Prairie County, Arkansas   Caroline township
T. E. Robinson 51 SC  farmer  1800/600
Persilla 45  SC
William H. 19 AL
John J. 17 AL  (this is another Jasper - John Jasper)
Sarah E. 13 MS

Directly underneath the above household, in a separately enumerated dwelling, in this order:
Thomas 8 AL
Peter F. 5 MS
William J. 19 AL  (this is William Jasper)
John H. 17 MS
Francis J. 12 MS  (female)
Sallie M. 10 AL
David M. 8 AL
Martha 5 MS
L. B. Mitchell 32 KY  doctor  100/1000

The 1860 is a real puzzler for this family.   In the second dwelling, the older children appear to be the children of William B/R Robinson, Thomas's brother.   Where are their parents?  Why do Peter and Thomas, supposed children of Thomas Ellis Robinson, appear to be living in the second dwelling?  Who is the Dr. Mitchell of the household?  It appears he owns the property ($100 value of real property).   The second dwelling is shown under the name of Thomas, age 8.  He is the first person listed under the dwelling number.     Neighbors are not familiar and do not indicate Mississippi or Alabama as place of birth.

By 1870, the part of Prairie County in which the family was living in 1860 had become part of Pulaski County.  Little Rock is located in Pulaski County.

1870 Census
Pulaski County, Arkansas   Caroline township
T. E. Robinson 60 SC  farmer  1600/550   (born 1810)
"Leo" Robinson 60 SC  female  "k. house"
Peter F. 13 MS 

Lonoke County was created in 1873 from parts of Pulaski and Prairie Counties, and this is where we find the family in the 1880 census.   What became northern Lonoke County was part of Prairie County in the 1860 census, became part of Pulaski Couny in the 1870 census, and finally Lonoke County by the 1880 census.

1880 Census
Lonoke County, Arkansas   Lonoke township
Ellis Robinson  68 SC SC SC  farmer   (born 1812)
Prisilla 73 SC SC SC 

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