William C. Robinson.Success in any line of occupation, in any avenue of business, is not a matter of spontaneity, but represents the results of the application of definite subjective forces and the controlling of objective agencies in such a way as to achieve desired ends. Mr. Robinson has realized a large and substantial success in the business world and his career has well exemplified the truth of the foregoing statements. He occupies today a prominent place in the financial circles of Kansas, is the controlling force in the most important banking enterprise in Cowley county, and is one of the distinctively representative men of the state. Progressive and energetic in the management of his various business interests, loyal and public-spirited as a citizen, he holds a secure position in the confidence and esteem of the community, and has contributed in large measure to the advancement of the city of Winfield, in whose still greater commercial and civic prestige he is a firm believer. He is president of the First National Bank of Winfield, a potential force in the Southwestern Interurban Railway Company, of which he was an organizer, and for the past twenty-five years has been a trustee of Southwestern College.
William C. Robinson was born in Springfield, Ohio, Aug. 27, 1847. His father, Henson Robinson, was also a native of Ohio, born in Green county, July 10, 1809. He was a farmer and a successful one. He was a consistent advocate of and an active worker in the cause of prohibition. He became a resident of Illinois in 1858, locating in Pulaski, Hancock county, and was a citizen of influence. The last three years of his life were passed in Topeka, Kan., where he removed in 1885, his death occurring in 1888. When a young man he married Sarah Ann, daughter of Amasa Read, of Xenia, Greene county, Ohio, who later removed to Schuyler county, Illinois. Here he became an extensive farmer, his property interests being situated near Huntsville. The Read family dates its founding in America from the early Colonial period, and numbered among them are men who achieved distinction in the frontier life of those early days, in the commercial era which followed, in the French and Indian war, and later in the war of the Revolution. To Mr. and Mrs. Robinson five children were born: William C.; Amasas R., a resident of St. Louis, Mo.; George W., president of the Security State Bank of Wichita; Sarah Aldrich, deceased wife of Van B. Gilchrist, a prominent farmer of Hillsgrove, McDonough county, Illinois; and Etta B., deceased wife of Le Roy Stidger, a well known citizen of Moundsville, W. Va.
William C. Robinson received his early education in the district schools of Hancock county, Illinois. Subsequently he entered the State Normal School at Normal, Ill., completing the course in 1868, and later attended Hedding College, Abingdon, Ill., one year. While acquiring his education Mr. Robinson taught school in Adams county, and on completion of his course at Hedding College resumed the employment as a teacher in the Monmouth, Ill., schools, serving as superintendent two years. In 1871, he came to Kansas, locating in Independence, where he established a clothing business. In 1874 he disposed of this interest and removed to Winfield to become assistant cashier of M. L. Read's bank, established in 1872 by M. L. Read, an uncle of Mr. Robinson, the second bank to begin business in Cowley county. The history of this institution and of its successor, the First National Bank of Winfield, is the history of Mr. Robinson's identification with the banking life of Kansas. Established as a private institution, M. L. Read's bank became the leading banking enterprise in southern Kansas. In 1884, Mr. Robinson and associates organized the First National Bank of Winfield, which took over the business of the Read bank. Mr. Robinson was elected cashier of the new institution and remained in that capacity until elected to his present office, that of president, in 1891. Established with a capital of $50,000, its business has been of sound and continuous growth. Its present capital is $100,000, it has an earned surplus of $100,000, undivided profits of $20,000, deposits of $650,000, and it has always paid satisfactory dividends to its stockholders. In the organization, development, and administration of the business of this institution Mr. Robinson has been the dominant executive, and to his progressiveness, energy, and resourcefulness is due the strength and high reputation of the institution. He is known to the banking fraternity as an able and discriminating financier and one who has brought the administrative policy of his bank up to the point of highest efficiency. He enjoys the distinction of being the only Kansas banker so far privileged to address a convention of the American Bankers' Association. His address, "The Western Banker," was delivered on Sept. 15, 1904, at New York City, and met with a most favorable reception.
In July, 1909, the Southwestern Interurban Railway Company was organized, making possible the building of an electric railway between Winfield and Arkansas City. In the organization of this company Mr. Robinson took a leading part, and through his efforts the project was financed. It has proved a profitable enterprise to its owners, and to the citizens of Cowley county an aid to development of inestimable value. Mr. Robinson is a member of the board of directors of this company, and is also a director of the Winfield Ice & Cold Storage Company, of which he was one of the organizers. He was for a number of years president of the Blackwell (Okla.) National Bank, but disposed of his holdings when it became a state institution. During his career in Winfield he has erected a number of business buildings and residences, and has operated heavily in lands. Mr. Robinson has never lost interest in educational affairs. His early life as a teacher eminently qualifies him to pass upon such matters with intelligence. Since 1885 he has served continuously as a member of the board of trustees of Southwestern College and has served three terms as chairman. He has acquired the Knight Templar degree in Masonry and has filled the important chairs in his local lodge and chapter. He has been a lifelong Republican. Essentially a business man, he has neither the time nor inclination for office, though he never neglects in the least his civic duties and obligations, and has taken an active and influential part in the councils of his party.
On March 5, 1890, Mr. Robinson married Miss Anna, daughter of the late Dr. Samuel M. Martin, a prominent physician and surgeon of Jacksonville, Morgan county, Illinois. Mr. Martin was for twelve years county superintendent of schools of Morgan county and also served one term as county clerk. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson are the parents of two children. Miss Marie Louise, the eldest, is a graduate in music of the National Cathedral School, Washington, D. C., and is possessed of exceptional musical ability. She is at present (1911) taking a two-years course under noted masters in Paris, France. William C., Jr., the only son, is a student at Southwestern College. Mr. Robinson and family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mrs. Robinson is a lady of culture and refinement, and is popular in the social circles of Winfield, in which she is a leader. To do justice to the many phases of the career of Mr. Robinson within the limit of an article of this order would be impossible, but in even touching the more salient points there may come objective lesson and incentive, and thus a tribute of appreciation. As a man among men, bearing his due share in connection with practical activities and responsibilities of a work-a-day world, he has been successful; but over all and above all, he has gained a deep knowledge of the well springs from which emerge the stream of human motive and action. He has gained a clear apprehension of what life means, what its dominating influences and possibilities are, and is ever ready to impart to his fellowmen the fruits of his investigation, contemplation and mature wisdom.Pages 1284-1286 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project