Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


DAVID H. ROBINSON. Although the number of Scotchmen in the United States has never been so large as that of men of other European nationalities, they have made their presence felt from the earliest days of our history to the present time, the earlier emigrants pointing with pride to John Paul Jones, the great sea fighter of Revolutionary days, and men of later periods who were like him, natives of the land of heath and blue bells, have accomplished much in our land of the free in various ways. We have always welcomed them, for they have proven at all times and in all vocations to be people of sterling worth and their courage and industry never lacking. One of this type was the late David H. Robinson, for a quarter of a century a very familiar figure on the streets of Springfield, and for eighteen years of that time superintendent of the Springfield Water Works, a position which he filled, evidently most satisfactorily, else he would not have been retained so long, and it was with regret on the part of the company that failing health compelled him to turn over his work in that capacity even after nearly a score of years.

Mr. Robinson was born in Scotland, February 16, 1849. He was a son of Henry and Martha Robinson, both natives of Scotland, also where they grew up, were married and always lived. They received exceptionally good educations for their day and generation. Henry Robimon learned the baker's trade when a young man, which he followed during his active life. He never came to America. His family consisted of five children.

David H. Robinson was the only member of his family to emigrate to the United States. He grew to manhood in his native land and there received his education, and when young learned the jeweler's trade which he followed for some time, later turning his attention to the water works business. He crossed the Atlantic when about twenty-five years of age and came to Springfield, Missouri, about 1875, and helped lay the first city water mains, and he continued in some capacity with the local water works company the rest of his active life here. He was the second superintendent of the company to which position he was promoted in 1887, and which he held until 1905, when failing health compelled him to relinquish his work, and he spent the rest of his life in retirement. He was the principal factor in developing a modern and efficient water works system here and he discharged his duties as superintendent in an able and highly satisfactory manner to all concerned, was very industrious and took delight in keeping everything in excellent condition.

Mr. Robinson was married in Springfield, on September 22, 1884, to Mrs. Susan P. Askins, widow of Philip Askins, and a daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Olive) Keyes. She was born in Kentucky, in the city of Louisville, March 27, 1852. Her parents were both natives of Kentucky also. Mr. Keyes was a blacksmith by trade and he spent his earlier years in his native state, finally removing with his family to Missouri, where he died. His wife spent her last days in Springfield, dying in this city. They were the parents of seven children, two of whom are still living. Mrs. Robinson received a common school education. She has a home on North Jefferson street.

Three children were born to David H. Robinson and wife, all of whom are living at this writing, namely: Jesse H., Anna L., and David W.

Politically, Mr. Robinson was a Democrat. Fraternally, he was a Mason, having attained the thirty-second degree of that order, and he belonged to the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Religiously he was a member of the Presbyterian church. His death occurred August 16, 1912. Mr. Robinson was active in the upbuilding of the city, having built the two-story store building at the corner of Lyon and Commercial streets; also, built his fine home on North Jefferson street, both now owned by Mrs. Robinson.

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