Tuesday, August 16, 2011

W. M. Robertson = Matthew W. Robinson

Several Robinson families with South Carolina roots settled along the MS-AL state line during the early years of this area's settlement.  More likely than not, they were related to each other - cousins, brothers and such.  The problem for me, and others who are descended from these Robinsons, is that although we know they are related, we just don't know the specific relationships.  Complicating matters is that the surname can be found spelled Robinson, Robertson, Robison, Roberson and other various ways, but this is not an indication of separate, unrelated families.  In fact, even with just one person, you will find their Robinson surname spelled all of the ways I've listed.   Not any one of the variant spellings is the "correct" one.  

How do we know that certain families are related, even though we don't know how?   Proximity to each other, property transactions between them, witnessing each others' deeds and wills, use of the same given names over and over through generations, common migratory patterns from area to area, intermarriages with the same neighboring families.  These are some of the clues that indicate a common ancestry.

Matthew W. Robinson was one of those men that almost certainly one "my" set of Robinsons.  He was born about 1802-1810 in South Carolina, married to Anna G. Liddle (or Liddell, which is a significant name back in Abbeville District, South Carolina).     It is possible that he is a brother to my GGG grandfather John E. Robinson, who was born 1808 in South Carolina and died near Tremont in 1896.  Matthew and John could be sons of John and Elizabeth Robinson who were in Lawrence County, Alabama in 1825.  John died 1825-1826, and Elizabeth moved with the rest of the Robinson families to what was then Marion County but is now the Pine Springs area (across the state line from Smithville) in present-day Lamar County (later, most of this group moved to the Tremont-Shottsville area).  Another possibility is that Matthew was the son of Matthew M. and Sarah Robinson, a couple born 1780-1790 in South Carolina and found in extreme southeastern Itawamba County adjacent to the area where Matthew W. Robinson lived for several years.  If you are interested in a more indepth discussion, please e-mail me.  I have a large amount of information to share.  My gut feeling is that Matthew W. Robinson was the son of John and Elizabeth, and the nephew of Matthew M. and Sarah. 

On our visit to NW Alabama a couple of weeks ago, we stopped at Newburg Cemetery where my GGG grandparents Isham and Rachel Loyd are buried.  Had to say hello, you know?  (Does anyone else have this affliction?)   While at the small cemetery, I snapped pictures of grave markers with intentions of posting them on the Find-A-Grave website.  Surprise!  There was a nice marker for W. M. Robertson, the only Rob*son marker in the cemetery.  Who was this fellow?  


The clue to the identity of the person buried in the grave marked W. M. Robertson is the date of death, March 12, 1891.  This is the same date of death found in the probate records for Matthew W. Robison (note the different surname spellins), husband of Anna Liddle.  Further, there is a newspaper item in the Hamilton Times issue dated March 19, 1891 which states, "Mr. Mat Robinson, aged 91 years, died at his home on Bull Mountain on last week."  (Again, a different spelling)  

There are other connections.  Matthew W. Robinson's daughter, Elizabeth E. "Betsy" Robinson, wife of Royal Newton Clay, has a granddaughter buried in the same small cemetery.   Matthew W. and Anna Robinson sold their property in southern Itawamba County in 1867, and in 1868 purchased land in Marion County on a branch of Bull Mountain Creek north of Shottsville near the Newburg Cemetery.
From this evidence, we can safely conclude that W. M. Robertson and Matthew W. Robinson are the same person.   

The date of birth on the grave marker for W. M. Robertson is August 16, 1796.   The source document for this date is not known to me.  Government census records are inconsistent as to the year of birth for Matthew W. Robinson, showing between 1802 and 1810.  Even the newspaper account indicates 1899-1900 as year of birth, based on age at death.   Age inconsistencies are not that unusual for this generation which grew up without many written records during a period of great growth and transition for our country.  Bibles and other documents with significant dates, if they existed at all, were often lost due to fire or frequent moves.  

Nearby grave marked by stone
Matthew W. (We don't know what the "W"stands for, but the initial is used often in the records, probably to avoid confusion with the older Matthew) Robinson has two sons buried near his former home Itawamba County, in Hopewell Cemetery, John Marion Robinson and Matthew Dixon Robinson (surname as spelled on their stones).    At the time of his death in 1891, Matthew's wife Anne was still living.  Her burial place is not know, but is suspected to be one of the unmarked graves nearby the W. M. Robertson marker.  Matthew and Anne's youngest daughters, Elvira Malinda and Linna Arrana, never married, and they are likely buried in unmarked graves nearby as well.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since my paternal grandmother, Leona Kathryn Robinson descends from one of the Robinsons who moved from Itawamba Co., MS over into west Marion County (Bexar), I will add to the confusion of the spellings! Last fall when we were in Marion County seeking copies of marriage licenses for both sets of granparents and my parents, I discovered that Granny Kate's name is given as "Katie" Robertson. I had no problem with finding it written this way since I knew their wedding date, Nov. 26, 1899. Of course, how many grooms are named Moorman B. Stone?! It didn't hurt that this couple were the last to apply for a marriage license in Nov. 1899. . .

This has nothing to do with the surname Robinson, but I will throw it in because of the interesting information found on my maternal grandparents license! So, was it because Arthur G. Dyer was in his mid twenties and his bride to be was only 17? Or was this a joke between Arthur and the judge? It implies that Arthur had to post a bond, and if she decided against the marriage, it was forfeited to the judge? This is on the license and does not appear on the record books in the Courthouse at Hamilton, Marion, AL. This marriage date was July 1900.

Life was so much more simple at the turn of the 20th Century when everyone knew one another. I was amazed last year when I realized that I had known the judge who married my parents on Jan. 24, 1926 all my young life as either Judge Cantrell or "Uncle" Bill. Who taught me to call him Uncle Bill? Remembering the jovial old man, I'm betting that he urged that himself. I can hear his chuckle today. bettye

Donna said...

It is certainly good to be reminded that surname spellings, and dates of birth or death, may not be conclusive in determining family relationships. My family also migrated from South Carolina to Alabama [and some on to Mississippi]. Two family surnames were spelled in two ways, even within the same individual or same family unit: Welch/Welsh and Ballenger/Ballinger. Not only did the individual or family unit seem to have spelling inconsistencies, but the records we rely on to validate our searches [censuses, deeds, wills, etc.] were also recorded by people with spelling inconsistencies.

Kimberly Gray said...

I am almost certain the Matt or W.M. is in the family of my grandmothers Robinson's because of the mention of Bull Mountain. My grandmother grew up & spent her life there as did her sons & us grandbabies. Mawmaw's parents are buried next to her @ the Turon cemetery just down from Bull Mountain rd.

Anonymous said...

Replying to Kimberly Gray - If I read your message correctly, you are familiar with Bull Mountain. So, can you elaborate (maybe make a nice contribution to Itawamba Connections for Mona!) As a kid growing up and listening to all the problems that granddaddy Morman Stone had delivering the mail in bad weather, the way he spoke of "Bull Mountain", well I really thought it was a mountain instead of a creek! I was never any closer than the Shottsville Methodist Church and Cemetery to Bull Mountain and I would really love to hear some stories about our now deceased ancestry who lived there. Was there a store or anything besides the farms and the creek so named Bull Mountain? I know they were wonderful people who came to Granddaddy's aid when he slipped off the road on rainy days or when there was snow or ice. The days of my memory was from WWII when tires were hard to come by and the OPA board held no sympathy for his wearing out so many sets of tires! I'm pretty sure all these slipping experiences was due to the baldness of the tires because he really was a careful driver.

Kimberly, my Robinson ancestors "from up near Bull Mountain included G. Uncle Egbert "Bert" and Aunt Vilanty Robinson - Bert was a brother to my Granny Kate Robinson Stone. bettye

Olive Branch said...

I guess we're cousins! My gggrandparents are from Mississippi. Their names were George Thomas Robison, (b. 1847 Tishamingo Co.) and his wife, Mary Ann Hale, (b. 11/05/1850 Dist. 7 Itawamba Co.). I believe her family was from North Carolina. Unfortunately, except for what I've written here about my gggrandmother I can find no other existing information on her so if anybody knows anything about either of these people, I would be extremely grateful if you would let me know.
Their grandson, (my grandfather), Curtis Ray, changed the name to ROBISON. Going through what very little family history I have, I've found the name spelled Robinson, Robison & Roberson.

Juliet Morgan said...

My gr-gr-gr-grandmother was Elizabeth Jane "Betsy" Robinson born on 29 Apr 1844 in Marion County, Alabama and married to Solomon Jones Wiginton and married about 1866 in Itawamba County, Mississippi. Her parents were David Matthew Robinson (1824-1863)and Annis Kennedy (1827-?) of South Carolina. I found a picture online of this couple if anyone is interested. I'd be very happy to learn more about my Itawamba, Miss and Bexar, Marion, Ala relatives... especially to see photos!