Monday, May 15, 2017


Events Leading to the Robinson's Move to Upper Canada From Vermont

Nadene Goldfoot                                    
Civil War
1861 to 1865

Julia Ann Tuller was born in 1834  and raised in Royalton, Windsor, Vermont where she met and married Abiathar Smith Robinson February 29, 1852 in Tunbridge, Orange, Vermont.  Their first child, Edward Rix Robinson, was born in Vermont by November 1852 as well as their 2nd son, Edgar in 1853, but by October 1857, their daughter, Nellie Elizabeth was born in Upper Canada in the English speaking area.  Then in August of 1861 another daughter, Emma Hattie was born in Canada as well as another son, John C by April 1864 in Montreal, Canada-another English speaking area.
Ontario, Canada
The USA census of 1870 finds that the family had returned to the states and had settled in Wenona, Marshall, Illinois.  Julia Ann and Abiathar are buried in the Wenona Cemetery.

1776    USA born after Revolutionary War-July 4th
1777    Vermont first USA state to prohibit slavery
1829   Abiathar Smith Robinson born-December
1834   Julia Ann Tuller born -December
1834    Slavery abolished in Great Britain
1834    Start of Underground Railroad from South USA to SW Ontario, Canada to escape slavery
1852    Julia Ann and Abiathar marry in Tunbridge, Orange, Vermont, USA, February 29
1852   Edward Rix Robinson born, Vermont USA in November  not on 1870 census
1853   Edgar C Robinson born, Vermont USA  on 1870 census age 17
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1856 Possible time of move to Canada:  Why?  What was Lure?
Had they been Loyalists?  Quakers?  Land hungry?  Abolitionists?   
1857  Nellie Elizabeth Robinson born Upper Canada (English Speaking) in October on 1870 census age 11in Wenona, Marshall, Illinois
1859  Wenona, Marshall, Illinois incorporated-on RR Line
1861  Emma Hattie Robinson born Canada in August on 1870 census in Wenona age 9
1864 John C Robinson born Montreal,  Quebec, Canada  on April 21 on 1870 census in Wenona age 7
Map of Upper Canada (in orange) with contemporary Canada (in pink) surrounding it
Upper Canada is mentioned.  Where was that?
"The Province of Upper Canada (French: province du Haut-Canada) was a part of British Canada established in 1791 by the United Kingdom, in order to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees of the United States after the American Revolution. The new province remained, for the next fifty years of growth and settlement, the colonial government of the territory.
Upper Canada existed from 26 December 1791 to 10 February 1841 and generally comprised present-day Southern Ontario. The "upper" prefix in the name reflects its geographic position being closer to the headwaters of the Saint Lawrence River than that of Lower Canada (or present-day Quebec) to the northeast.
Upper Canada included all of modern-day Southern Ontario and all those areas of Northern Ontario in the Pays d'en Haut which had formed part of New France, essentially the watersheds of the Ottawa River or Lakes Huron and Superior, excluding any lands within the watershed of Hudson Bay."
Events going on in Canada during this period:

Events in Canada from 1852 to 1865: Robinson Tree Genealogy
Exploring time spent in Canada:
1852 - The Grand Trunk Railway receives its charter.
June 6, 1854 - Canada and the U.S. sign a Reciprocity Treaty, ensuring reduction of customs duties (June 6).
1855 - Bytown is renamed Ottawa.
1856 - The Grand Trunk Railway opens its Toronto-Montréal line.
November 17, 1856 - Grand Trunk Railway completed
1857 - Palliser Expedition sent to explore Ruperts Land.
1857 - Queen Victoria designates George-Étienne Cartier's choice of Ottawa as capital of the Province of Canada.
1857 - Desjardins Canal railway bridge collapse, Hamilton, Ontario - 60 killed
April 25, 1858 - Start of Fraser River Gold Rush
November 19, 1858 - The Birth of British Columbia
1858 - The Halifax-Truro line begins rail service.
1858 - Chinese immigrants from California arrive in British Columbia, attracted by the Fraser River Gold Rush.
February 2, 1859 - - Ottawa Chosen as the Capital of Canada
November 9, 1859 - Reformers Hold Convention
1859 - James Carnegie, the Earl of Southesk is the first tourist in Western Canada.
September 1, 1860 - Prince of Wales lays cornerstone of the Parliament buildings.
June 27, 1860 - First Queen's Plate Horse Race
1860   End of Underground Railroad Usage
1861, April 12-start of Civil War, USA
November 8, 1861 - Britain Arms Canada During the Trent Crisis
1861 - Joseph Howe becomes Premier of Nova Scotia.
1862 - Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick accepts its first woman student.
1862 - Start of Canada-wide Smallpox Epidemic - 20,000 killed
1862 - Smallpox Epidemic starts to decimate Haida people of Queen Charlotte Islands, BC - 9,400 killed in the next decade, to 1872
September 1, 1864 - Charlottetown Conference takes the first steps toward Confederation; originally designed to discuss Maritime union; (to Sept. 9).
October 19, 1864 - St. Albans Raid - 25 Confederate States of America soldiers using Montréal as a base raid St. Albans, Vermont; they rob three banks of $200,000, torch the town and kill one person.  "On October 19, 1864, St. Albans was the site of the St. Albans Raid, the northernmost Confederate land action of the American Civil War, which was an enemy cavalry raid and bank robbery across the border from Quebec, Canada.. References to "St. Albans" prior to this date generally refer to the town center, which now belongs to the city. The town was incorporated in 1859, and the city in 1902.]
Henri Le Caron, who, while acting as a secret agent of the British government, held the position of "Inspector-General of the Irish Republican Army", asserted that he distributed fifteen thousand stands of arms and almost three million rounds of ammunition in the care of the many trusted men stationed between New York and St. Albans, in preparation for the unsuccessful Fenian raid on Canada which took place in April 1870.  United States General George Meade, forewarned, captured much of these munitions as they arrived.
1865, May 9-end of Civil War, USA
1865 Julia Robinson born listed on 1870 census as born in Wenona, Marshall, Illinois 
October 10, 1865 - Delegates Meet at the Québec Conference to Plan Confederation. They identify the Seventy Two Resolutions that set out the basis for union; to October 27, 1865.
1867, July 1;  Canada divided into Provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
1869  William S Robinson born in Wenona Marshall, Illinois
1870  Frank Hugh Robinson born on June 21 in Wenona  (my grandfather)
1870 USA Census: Abiathar and family are in Wenona, Marshall, Illinois.
1875 Minnie J. Robinson born in Wenona. 
1879  Arthur Roy Robinson born in Wenona.
1883 Coal mine in Wenona which offers jobs.  " The principal mine in this county is located at Wenona, on the Illinois Central railroad, and is operated by the Wenona Coal Company. The mine is comparatively new. It went into operation in the summer of 1883."

St. Albans, Franklin, Vermont was about 100 miles or less to Royalton, Windsor, Vermont. It is a major port for immigration to and from Canada.   One would think that this Robinson family would have known about the Underground Railroad's goings on.  After all, I do not know for sure what town Abiathar was born in.  I do know he was living in Tunbridge, Orange County in 1852 when he was 23 years old.   It's even possible that some of the St. Albans' Robinsons could have been their relatives. lists 152 Robinsons in Franklin County.

It may be that Julia Ann was the instigator of moving to Upper Canada, especially to Ontario.  Her mother was Asenith Durkee and they must have had lots of relatives up there.   There were many Durkees living throughout the area.  For example, there was a Sarah Durkee who married on January 2, 1860 in Oxford, Ontario, Canada.  An Ontario death happened to William Durkee at age 76 with parents  Myran Durkee born in Smithville and Elizabeth Meredith.  William's wife was Ellen Durkee.  Gladys Durkee used the St. Albans Vermont Boarder Crossing in 1895 to go to Norwich, Canada.
     I even found a Sarah Fannie Tuller, 5'7" green eyed 34 year old lady crossing from Madoc, Ontario, Canada to Vermont in 1895.  Sarah was heading for Michigan for a permanent stay.   She was Welsh!  Ah ha!  The biggest puzzle I've had is that my grandfather, Frank Hugh Robinson had said that they were from Wales.  DNA shows we have mostly Irish matches.  That  must have come from  Julia Ann Tuller and not Abiathar and the Robinsons.  I've just found her buried in Madoc, Canada.  I thought she would stay in Michigan. .  I have found 14 Tullers in Upper Canada on this website and also 139 Durkees.

I have found that  Rowland T. Robinson of Ferrisburgh, Vermont was active in helping with the Underground Railroad.  " Rowland Thomas Robinson (1796-1879)  made abolition the cause of his life 
and sheltered fugitives at Rokeby,his home in Ferrisburgh, Addison, Vermont. Both Thomas, his father,  and Rowland T. Robinson 
managed the family's grist and saw mills and built up one of Addison 
County's largest sheep farms during the early decades of the 19th century. 
Rowland Thomas's son Rowland Evans Robinson (1833-1900) was an artist and 
author; he wrote a series of folktales, published by Houghton Mifflin, that 
were enormously popular in Vermont at the turn of the century as well as 
several Underground Railroad stories. Of his children, Rachel (1878-1919) 
became a successful commercial artist, Mary (1884-1931) worked as a 
botanical artist before becoming a wife and mother, and Rowland Thomas 
(1882-1951) tended the family farm, now converted from sheep to dairy. 
"Rowlie," as he was known, and his wife Elizabeth did not have children, and 
when she died in 1961, she left the site to be operated as a museum.                
Ferrisburgh, Addison, Vermont's Rokeby

  "The house was the home for almost 200 years of the Robinson family, who were millers, farmers, abolitionists, authors, naturalists, and artists. In the 1830s and 1840s, under the auspices of Rowland Thomas Robinson, Rokeby served as a safe house along the Underground Railroad. Letters from the family of Rowland T. and Rachel Gilpin Robinson, devout Quakers and radical abolitionists, mention fugitive slaves by name and in some detail.   The record of their correspondence gives an important view into the practices and methods of abolitionists and the details of the operation of the Underground Railroad

There is a Rowland Robinson in my name bank. Could he be an ancestor of this Abolitionist?  He was born earlier and to a John Robinson: I don't know if we are connected to this line or not.  Update: Through, I find we are not connected at all.  "Rowland Robinson, the primitive of our family in this country, was born in 1654, at or near a place called Long Bluff, in Cumberland, England. He came to this country in 1675, married Mary, the daughter or John and Mary Allen, in 1676, who were from Barnstable, England. Her mother's name before marriage was Bacon, who was born also in Barnstable.  Rowland Robinson died at his residence, situated near the pond or cove of Pettaquamscutt river, in 1716, aged 62 years. His wife was born in 1656, and died in 1706, aged 50 years. They were both buried in the Narragansett Friends - called Quakers - burial ground, Kingston, now South Kingston - , about two miles south of Tower Hill village. Their graves are in the north-east corner of the burial ground. Mr. Robinson ." His descendants went to Rhode Island-Hon William and Abigail; Thomas and Sarah,  Thomas Richardson and Jemima.  

Descendants of John Robinson
1   [1] John Robinson b: 1713 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, USA
.. +Mary Irish b: 1713
. 2   John Robinson b: 1733
. 2   Rowland Robinson b: 1737
. 2   Daniel Robinson b: 1738
. 2   Lydia Robinson b: 1755
. 2   Jedidiah Robinson b: 1756 in prob. Rhode Island
..... +Elizabeth Lawton b: 1750
*2nd Wife of [1] John Robinson:
.. +Sarah Davis

Here's an example of a later Robinson : born in St Albans who moved to Illinois. 

John W. Robinson

Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths
NameJohn W. Robinson
Event Date04 Aug 1927
Event PlaceShirland, Winnebago, Illinois
Birth Year (Estimated)1850
Birth Date30 Dec 1849
BirthplaceSt. Albans, Vt.
Father's NameIsreal Robinson
Father's BirthplaceSuanton, Vt.
Mother's NameCaroline Spaulding
Mother's BirthplaceMorristown, Vt.
Residence PlaceShirland, Ill.
Spouse's NameHenrietta Miller
Burial Date07 Aug 1927
Burial PlaceRockton, Ill.

Next question should be, why immigrate to Illinois, and especially to Wenona? In 2010 it had only 1,056 people and that was going down from 2000.   I visited the cemetery a number of years ago and it is a very very small town.  What was that attraction?  The cemetery was gorgous, and the soup and hamburger were the best in the USA, I think, but what could have attracted people  150 years ago?  I saw lovely fields of corn growing alongside the road to the cemetery.  The fertile land must have attracted them as everyone in those days were farmers.  Abiathar did have a farm in Wenona and a field with a horse and a bull, that I know.  My grandfather, Frank Hugh Robinson was a teamster and could manage 4 horses together for his wagon.  He had a favorite horse as a kid.  His parents were very religious and very strict: possibly  Methodists who did not work on Sundays of any sort.

The book/article is
by Jane Williamson.  

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017


Nova Scotia's Lure to the Robinson's Durkees

Nadene Goldfoot                                    
Americans in Massachusetts were being coaxed into moving to Nova Scotia, Canada" in the early 1700s.  "Nova Scotia is one of eastern Canada's Maritime provinces on the Atlantic. Consisting of a peninsula and offshore islands, it's home to puffins and seals, and popular" today  "for water sports like kayaking. The Bay of Fundy, with its famously extreme tides, is a whale-watching destination. Halifax, the capital, dominated by the star-shaped Citadel, is known for its lively waterfront and Victorian-era Public Gardens."

The same thing happened later when the Civil War started in 1861.  Our ggrandfather, Abiathar Smith Robinson and his wife, Julia Ann Tuller, moved from the Royalton-Tunbridge, Vermont area to Canada during the Civil War.  The lure supposedly was land for farming.  They left immediately after the war was over and returned to the states, settling this time in Wenona, Marshall, Illinois.

It was 100 years earlier that Julia Ann's mother's family tried to live in Nova Scotia.  Julia's mother was Asenith Durkee, born in 1814 in Royalton, Windsor, Vermont.  Asenith's father was Heman Durkee, born in 1789 in Royalton.  Her mother was Rebeccah Hatch, daughter of Isaac Hatch and Mary Polly Shepherd  of Tolland Connecticut. 

Heman's 2nd cousin twice removed was Phineas Durkee b: 1730  who would move to Nova Scotia from Connecticut.  Phineas had married Phoebe Pearl, being married there in Windham.  They moved across the border into Brimfield, Massachusetts a few weeks after their wedding.  There, they must have heard about the good land in Nova Scotia and all the opportunities it had to offer over America at that time.  

The fact was that the French who had been on the land were expulsed in 1755 and by 1758, people in Halifax were trying to interest New England and Pennsylvania's population to settle there.  By June 9, 1761, 3 families moved to Nova Scotia from Connecticut but suffered greatly before Spring came.  

Phineas and Phebe Durkee arrived there in the 2nd summer in 1762.  No sooner than they settled in than Phebe gave birth to her 6th child, Phineas Jr.  The Durkees chose a coastal area called Chebogue and their homestead was called Durkee's Island.   Phineas's trade was that of a tanner of hides.  He was also going to farm.  The man was a go-getter.  He started the first saw-mill and shipping enterprises.  The position of first town clerk went to him.  It is said that people can read his careful records today.  You will find that he also served on many commiittees about the organization of the town and became Justice of the Peace in 1767.   This land became known as Yarmouth.  They were not the only Durkees to move there.  Andrew and Robert Durkee were also early settlers.  

Descendants of Phineas Sr. Durkee

1   Phineas Sr. Durkee b: September 16, 1730 in Prob. Connecticut
.. +Phoebe Pearl b: May 13, 1732 in Prob. Connecticut
. 2   [1] Lois Durkee b: September 26, 1752
..... +Solomon Lufkin b: 1747
. *2nd Husband of [1] Lois Durkee:
..... +Daniel Allen b: March 15, 1758
. 2   [2] Amasa Durkee b: July 06, 1754
..... +Ruth Robbins b: 1757
. *2nd Wife of [2] Amasa Durkee:
..... +Martha Shurtliffe b: 1759
. 2   Olive Durkee b: June 22, 1756 in Brimfield, Hampden, Massachusetts
..... +Samuel Trask b: 1751
. 2   [3] Eleanor Durkee b: May 11, 1758
..... +Thomas Dalton b: Abt. 1758
. *2nd Husband of [3] Eleanor Durkee:
..... +Nathaniel Ricker b: 1753
. 2   John Durkee b: November 01, 1760
..... +Lydia Lovitt Robbins b: Abt. 1760
. 2   Phineas Jr. Durkee b: June 19, 1762
. 2   [4] Robert Sr. Durkee b: February 22, 1765 in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia
..... +Abigail Rogers b: March 09, 1766 in Yarmouth, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia
. *2nd Wife of [4] Robert Sr. Durkee:
..... +Lydia Allen b: July 24, 1785 in Yarmouth, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia
. 2   Stephen Sr. Durkee b: September 22, 1766
..... +Lydia Lovitt b: 1771
. 2   [5] Pearl Durkee b: May 25, 1769
..... +Mary Hankey b: 1774
. *2nd Wife of [5] Pearl Durkee:
..... +Charlotte Rose b: 1774
. 2   Phoebe Durkee b: April 28, 1771
..... +Samuel Bancroft b: 1766
. 2   Elizabeth Durkee b: October 22, 1774
..... +John Hayes b: 1769
. 2   Hannah Durkee b: June 27, 1781

..... +Nathan Jr. Kinney b: December 25, 1778

Andrew and Robert, the other early settlers, were the brothers of Phineas.  
Descendants of Stephen Sr. Durkee.  
I highlighted Lydia Allen.  The Allens were to settle in Nova Scotia as well.  I have 30 Allens on our Robinson tree.  They married into the Robinsons as well.  
1   Stephen Sr. Durkee b: June 09, 1706 in Gloucester, Essex,  Massachusetts
.. +Lois Moulton b: April 03, 1706 in Salem, Massachusetts
. 2   Phineas Sr. Durkee b: September 16, 1730 in Prob. Connecticut
..... +Phoebe Pearl b: May 13, 1732 in Prob. Connecticut
. 2   Sybil Durkee b: January 10, 1730/31 in Prob. Connecticut
. 2   Robert Sr. Durkee b: November 26, 1733 in Prob. Connecticut
..... +Sarah b: August 23, 1739
. 2   Lydia Durkee b: August 03, 1735 in Prob. Connecticut
..... +Eleazer Butler b: 1730
. 2   [1] Andrew Durkee b: November 24, 1737 in Windham,  Windham, Connecticut
..... +Mary Benjamin b: June 25, 1739 in Preston, New London County,  Connecticut
. *2nd Wife of [1] Andrew Durkee:
..... +Johanna Southard Hunt b: 1742
. 2   [2] Lois Durkee b: March 01, 1739/40 in Prob. Connecticut
..... +Asa Hammond b: November 22, 1732 in Prob. Connecticut
. *2nd Husband of [2] Lois Durkee:
..... +Eleazer Butler b: 1732
. 2   Hannah Durkee b: May 02, 1742 in Prob. Connecticut
..... +Eleazer Hibbard b: 1737 in Prob. Connecticut
. 2   Stephen Jr. Durkee b: October 14, 1745 in Windham, Connecticut
..... +Jerusha Simmons b: November 02, 1747 in Windham, Connecticut

. 2   Amasa Durkee b: October 07, 1747 in Prob. Connecticut

Phineas's brothers decided not to stay after being there about a year.  They returned and wound up fighting in the American Revolution!  

Being they were on the sea, fishing became an occupation for some.  It was an important factor in shipping goods.  Many Durkees became ship-owners and builders, sea-men and Master Mariners.

Their descendants started returning to New England, especially to Essex county, Massachusetts and worked in the shoe industry.  

Lois, Phineas's daughter, wound up with a broken heart.  She fell in love with Solomon Lufkin at age 17 and they became engaged.  Banns were published on March 25, 1770, but there must have been some problems because the engagement was broken.  Solomon married 2 years later to Mary Foote, and poor Lois didn't find a husband for 10 years.  She finally married Daniel Allen.  

Daniel Allen and Lois Durkee had 5 children.
Descendants of Daniel Allen
1   Daniel Allen b: March 15, 1758
.. +Lois Durkee b: September 26, 1752
. 2   John Allen b: August 03, 1780
..... +Lydia Landers b: Abt. 1780
. 2   Phineas Allen b: October 30, 1782
..... +Bethis Strickland b: Abt. 1782
. 2   Samuel Allen b: January 08, 1785
..... +Sarah Perry b: Abt. 1785
. 2   Sally Allen b: c. April 08, 1787
. 2   Clarissa Allen b: May 02, 1793
..... +Simeon DeWolf b: Abt. 1793

"John R. Robinson (b.1799) is the earliest documented ancestor of the Robinson family of Kings County, Nova Scotia. He married Mary Elizabeth Miller and they were the parents of five children, including John Robinson who married Rachael Rebecca Dunham. They were the parents of five children. Charles H. Edward Robinson (1853-1934) was their eldest child. He was born in Kings County. In 1880 Charles married Eliza Shaffer and they settled in Lakeville, Kings County, Nova Scotia. They were the parents of ten children.
This is like the magic date: 1799.  Look who fits the bill:  
There was a John Robinson who lived with Julia Ann Tuller's parents in Royalton, Windsor, Vermont and was on their 1850 census.  There has been no way to identify him as he was not married then.  At the time, he was 51 years old and a farmer helping out Alonzo Charles Tuller and his wife, Asenith Durkee.  I thought perhaps he was Abiathar's father.  Two years later, I found Abiathar living in Tunbridge, Orange, Vermont where he married Julia Ann.  

Descendants of JOHN ROBINSON
1   JOHN ROBINSON b: 1799 in Vermont
.. +Unknown

Descendants of JOHN ROBINSON-A Possible Conclusion-by birthdate 1799
1   [2] JOHN ROBINSON b: 1799 in Vermont
.. +Unknown
. 2   [1] Abiathar Smith Robinson b: December 1829 in New York/  Tunbridge, Orange/ Jamaica, Windham, Vermont
..... +Julia Ann Tuller b: December 18, 1834 in Royalton, Windsor, Vermont
. *2nd Wife of [1] Abiathar Smith Robinson:
  ..... +Mary Jane Unknown Walters b: November 1832 in Ohio
*2nd Wife of [2] JOHN ROBINSON:
.. +Mary Elizabeth Miller b: Abt. 1815
. 2   Charles H. Edward ROBINSON b: 1853
..... +Eliza Schaffer
. 2   John ROBINSON b: Abt. 1854
..... +Rachel Rebecca Dunham b: Abt. 1831

. 2   [1] Abiathar Smith Robinson b: December 1829 in New York/  Tunbridge, Orange/ Jamaica, Windham, Vermont
..... +Julia Ann Tuller b: December 18, 1834 in Royalton, Windsor, Vermont
. *2nd Wife of [1] Abiathar Smith Robinson:
..... +Mary Jane Unknown Walters b: November 1832 in Ohio
Resource: The Durkee Family Newsletter-Spring 1983, Volume II #1, The Nova Scotia Durkees.

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