top of page


Nicholas Robbins Family


JOSEPH B. ROBBINS (Biographical data from the Robbins family records of Hal Hileman and a profile abstracted from the "History of St. Paul, Minnesota and Vicinity" compiled by Henry A. Castle and published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1912) Re: The Nicholas Robbins Family, No. 7.1.3


Joseph B. Robbins, son of Melzar Robbins and Aurelia Sprague, was born in Jo Daviess County, Illinois on April 10, 1844. Mr. Robbins was educated in local schools and later at Mount Morris Seminary. On May 3, 1866, Joseph married Sarah J. Simmons, daughter of Gilbert P. Simmons and Sarah Powell of Galena, Illinois. Following marriage, he pursued a career in education, first as a school teacher for two years and later as a school principal for three years. In the 1870 Census for Apple River Township, Jo Daviess County, he was recorded as  a hotel keeper. Family and local history records indicate that J. B. Robbins was the proprietor of the 

Robbins House Hotel and Restaurant in 1877, the only hotel in Apple River at the time. Those records also indicate that he had the hotel reconstructed that year on the same spot where the original hotel was built in 1854.


Around 1881 Joseph and Sarah relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota, where Joseph embarked in a new career in the real estate business. In the 1900 Census for that place, Joseph is listed as a real estate manager and Sarah as a millinery dealer. As far as can be determined from family records and censuses, this couple had no children. Joseph died in St. Paul on October 26, 1908. His profile in the above-referenced St. Paul history notes that "Mr. Robbins gave his unfailing support and enthusiastic energy to the Masonic Lodge and was an earnest and faithful Christian. His death deprived the community of an eminent citizen, well-known for his zeal on behalf of municipal progress and his devotion to the highest ideals."


Submitted by Lawrence G. Robbins, September, 2009. Note: Mr. Robbins gratefully acknowledges the family and local history records supplied to him by Hal Hileman, a descendant of Melzar Robbins via William H. Robbins, an older brother of Joseph B. Robbins. For further information on Melzar Robbins and his descendants, Mr. Hileman may be contacted by email at

bottom of page