Transcribed from 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


John L. Robinson

JOHN L. ROBINSON. The absolute honesty, the feeling of community interest, the intelligent public spirit that belong and illuminate the best type of citizen, are all qualities demanded of men who enter the banking field. The close relation between banks and a community's prosperity makes the banking business one of paramount importance. One of the well known financiers of Neosho County, Kansas, is John L. Robinson, president of the Fidelity State Bank, at Chanute, a business man of long and honorable experience. Mr. Robinson was born June 25, 1865, in Delaware County, Iowa, and is a son of A. M. and Josephine (Sprague) Robinson.

Without doubt the Robinson family came to the American colonies from Scotland. They settled in the State of New York and in the main have been agriculturists. A. M. Robinson, father of John L. Robinson, was born in New York State in 1820, and died at Buffalo, in Wilson County, Kansas, in 1898. In 1834 he accompanied his parents when they removed from New York to Michigan, and still later to Lee County, Illinois, where he grew to manhood and acquired farming land, which, in 1871 he traded for a quarter section of wild land situated 2 1/2 miles east of Buffalo, in Wilson County, Kansas, on which he resided until 1885 and then retired and came to Chanute. For many years he was active in the affairs of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he was a class leader.

A. M. Robinson was married in Illinois to Josephine Sprague, who was born in the City of Quebec, Canada, in 1827, and died at Chanute, Kansas, in 1890. They had three children: Solomon E., who is a farmer in the Saskatchewan country; Josephine, who died at the age of six years; and John L., of Chanute, Kansas.

In the public schools of Wilson County, John L. Robinson made such rapid progress that when but sixteen years old he secured a certificate that enabled him to teach school and he alternated teaching and farming until 1885, when he came to Chanute. Here he became a clerk for the grocery firm of Lindsay & Anderson and continued there for nine years, making many personal and business friends and gaining solid knowledge along business lines. Later he purchased the grocery stock of Samuel Foster and subsequently entered into partnership in the grocery line with J. R. Copple, under the firm name of Copple & Robinson. They continued in business for two years, their store being located on the corner of Main Street and Highland Avenue, in the heart of the city. After the dissolution of this partnership, Mr. Robinson conducted a general store at Vilas, Kansas, for eight months, removing his business then to Buffalo, where he continued for five years and one month, under the firm style of Shirley & Robinson.

Mr. Robinson returned then to Chanute as a better business field, buying at that time an interest in the Bank of Commerce, becoming assistant cashier of the same and continuing until 1902, when he sold his interest. He did not leave the financial field, however, but in February, 1903, organized the Home State Bank, becoming cashier of this institution and remaining such until January, 1907, when he accepted the same office in the Peoples Home State Bank. In October, 1914, Mr. Robinson sold his interests here and remained out of business until November 9, 1915, when he opened the Fidelity State Bank. The bank has had a very prosperous career. Its officers are men in whom the public has complete confidence, John L. Robinson being president, Adam Lock, vice president, and C. C. De Bolt, cashier. The capital is $25,000, and the surplus $2,500.

In 1916 Mr. Robinson erected the handsome modern building, of brick and stone construction, which is the home of the Fidelity State Bank. It is a two-story building, situated on the corner of East Main Street and Lincoln Avenue, and is fitted and equipped especially for bank, office and store purposes. Other valuable property owned by Mr. Robinson includes his residence at No. 127 North Forest Avenue, a dwelling on the corner of Second Street and Forest Avenue, and a third dwelling at No. 514 North Steuben Street.

Mr. Robinson was married in 1892, at Le Loup, in Franklin County, Kansas, to Miss Paulina Bodley, who is a daughter of the late O. J. Bodley formerly a farmer in that county. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson have three children, namely: Gladys J., who is a student in the junior year in Lawrence University; Gerald F., who is a student in the Chanute High School; and Mildred, who is completing the eighth grade studies in the public school. Mr. Robinson and family belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church at Chanute and he is a member of the board of stewards.

In politics Mr. Robinson, like his late father, is a republican. He has always been a wide awake, interested citizen wherever he has resided but has never desired public office, consenting, however, to serve on the board of education at Chanute. Fraternally he belongs to Cedar Lodge No. 103, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and Chanute Chapter No. 21, Royal Arch Masons, and is identified also with Chanute Lodge No. 96 Ancient Order of United Workmen, and with the Fraternal Aid Union. He has always been a liberal benefactor of worthy projects in the community and has been mindful ever of the claims of charity.


Transcribed from volume 4, pages 2067-2068 of 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; originally transcribed 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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