Fred Robertson

FRED ROBERTSON, the present United States district attorney for Kansas, with office and residence at Kansas City, Kansas, has been a resident of this state since 1885.

It is only necessary to recall some of the early conditions of his life in Kansas to show that he has won his way to influential position over many obstacles. He was fourteen years old when his parents came to Kansas, and he had been born in Orange County, New York, and his early boyhood was spent on a farm, with an education in the district schools. His parents were John M. and Nancy E. (Haley) Robertson. It was an economic reason that brought his parents to Kansas. They were people in limited circumstances in the East, and it was for the purpose of securing cheap land and getting the opportunities of the wide open West that brought them to Kansas. Their first home was a sod house in Cheyenne County. Later they removed to Rawlins County, where the mother died. In spite of the adverse conditions of pioneer life they prospered at first, but subsequently the farm could hardly be made to pay on account of continued drought and general financial and local conditions. In 1901 John M. Robertson moved out to Seattle, Washington, where he still resides.

From the time he came to Kansas until comparatively recently Fred Robertson lived in and about Atwood. He attended school there and afterwards taught. At the age of fourteen he was considered a "full hand" in the harvest field or in almost any of the work of the farm. Teaching was the avenue by which he came out to a higher plane of life. While teaching he diligently pursued the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in March, 1897. For two years prior to the date, however, he had been practicing.

In a country where numberless boys have risen from humble circumstances to prominence the career of Mr. Robertson is of course not unique. The explanation of his success is largely found in the practical application of the principle to do well whatever he undertook. Thus in the first place he thoroughly mastered the fundamental principles of law. Like most lawyers his first cases were of no great importance. They were chiefly concerned with the settling of individual controversies. None the less Mr. Bobertson accepted them and managed them with the same conscientious care and attention as he would have given to a case involving the vital fortunes of a client or many thousands of dollars. In a few years he was enjoying high repute as a lawyer and had become an influential citizen in his section of the state. For two terms he served as attorney for Rawlins County, beginning in 1898. He was also chairman of the Board of Education of Atwood and of the County High School. In 1908 his district elected him to the state senate and he served with credit and distinction four years.

Mr. Robertson was appointed United States district attorney for Kansas July 1, 1913. The first two years he was in the office he resided at Topeka but since then has had his home in Kansas City, Kansas. He is also a member of the law firm of Thompson & Robertson.

He still retains some commercial relations with his home town of Atwood. He is a thirty-second degree and Knight Templar Mason. Mrs. Robertson before her marriage was Miss Luella J. Hotchkiss. Her father, Bernard D. Hotchkiss, located in Rawlins County, Kansas, in 1879. Mr. and Mrs. Robertson have one daughter.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed October, 1997.
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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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