Nicholas Robbins Family
JOSIAH A. ROBBINS
JOSIAH A. ROBBINS (Biographical data abstracted from Boston, Middleborough, Plymouth and Worcester, Massachusetts town records, associated census records and other records as cited in the text) Re: The Nicholas Robbins Family, No. 7.53.6
Josiah A. Robbins, son of Josiah Robbins and Rebecca Jackson, was born January 24, 1823 at Plymouth, Massachusetts. In his formative years he worked with his father in the various family business enterprises in Plymouth, including the Robbins wharf and cordage company. On February 18, 1851, he married Rebecca W. Atwood. Rebecca was the daughter of John Atwood and Martha Thompson, born at Plymouth in December, 1831. They made their home in Plymouth. In the 1860 Census for that place, Josiah was noted as a "trader". In 1880 he was listed in census records as a Plymouth "town official" and when he died five years later, his death record refers to him as "Collector of Water Rates". Josiah died at Plymouth on June 25, 1885, at age 62 years, 5 months, 1 day. Rebecca continued to reside in their home on Winslow Street in Plymouth until her own death on September 8, 1909, at age 77 years, 9 months. They are interred together at Burial Hill Cemetery in Plymouth. The children recorded to this couple, all born in Plymouth, were:
1. William Thompson Robbins was born on January 6, 1852. William was noted as a "machinist", residing at Worcester, Massachusetts, when he married first, Joanna J. Hanson on July 6, 1872 at Worcester. Joanna was the daughter of Caleb and Maria Hanson, born around 1856 in Worcester. No further record of her was found in Massachusetts records. On August 25, 1887, William married second, Martha A. Trimble at Plymouth. Martha was born in England in July, 1861, the daughter of William and Mary Trimble. William and Martha resided in Plymouth, where William was noted variously as a machinist, wheelwright and machine shop foreman. The children of this couple included: i. Rebecca T. Robbins, born in March, 1888 at Plymouth. In 1910 she was listed in the census as a public school teacher. She married Francis E. Crofts on September 11, 1913 at Plymouth; ii. Josiah A. Robbins, born in January, 1890 at Plymouth. The 1910 Census lists him as an apprentice rope maker. By 1920 he was overseer of a cordage works and in 1930 he is listed as rope mill owner. In each census he was noted as single. His father had likely died by 1920 as his mother, noted as "widow", and his unmarried sisters were residing with him at Plymouth at the time of the census; iii. Maria T. Robbins, born in October, 1892 at Plymouth. The 1920 Census lists her as an insurance office stenographer; iv. Mary E. Robbins, born in October, 1893 at Plymouth. The 1920 and 1930 Censuses for Plymouth list her as a public school teacher; and v. Martha A. Robbins, born in November, 1897 at Plymouth. The 1930 Census lists her as a woolen mill stenographer.
2. Rebecca J. Robbins was born on August 21, 1853. She married Charles E. Chamberlain on February 18, 1879 at Plymouth. Charles was the son of Augustus and Hannah (Graves) Chamberlain, born in June, 1858, in Connecticut. This couple resided in Plymouth for a year or so after marriage, then removed to Worcester. Charles worked as a shoe salesman in both places. Their children included: i. Helen R. Chamberlain, born December 6, 1879 at Plymouth; ii. Bessie Chamberlain, born August 11, 1881 at Worcester, who died of meningitis on April 15, 1896; iii. John G. Chamberlain, born March 10, 1883 at Worcester, who married Blanche Tate there on November 26, 1902; iv.
Harold A. Chamberlain, born in June, 1886 at Worcester, who married Mary E. Hight there on July 1, 1907; v. Carl Chamberlain, born in March, 1890 at Worcester; vi. Dorothy S. Chamberlain, born on May 22, 1891 at Worcester; and vii. Paul R. Chamberlain, born on April 4, 1894 at Worcester.
3. John B. Robbins was born on January 27, 1855, and died of heart disease at Plymouth on February 26, 1866, age 11 years.
4. Josiah T. Robbins was born on January 23, 1857, and died of consumption at Plymouth on November 4, 1868, age 11 years, 9 months, 12 days.
5. Herbert A. Robbins was born on June 14, 1859. In the 1880 Census for Plymouth, Herbert was listed as a grocery clerk living with his parents and siblings. By 1900 he had resettled in Brooklyn, New York, where he was noted in the census as "Manager - Chilter & Co." Also listed in that census was his wife of nine years, Louisa A. Robbins, who was born in June, 1864 in New York. In the 1910 Census for Brooklyn, Herbert was noted as a "Contractor - Municipal Contracts" and Louisa as a private music teacher. According to both the 1900 and 1910 Censuses, this couple was childless.
6. Alexander A. Robbins was born on November 23, 1862. In the 1880 Census for Plymouth, Alexander was listed as a clothing store clerk living with his parents and siblings. Later in the 1880s, Alexander resettled in Boston, where, according to the 1900 Census, he married wife Margaret around 1887. In that Census, Alexander is noted as a "printer". A Boston marriage record dated October 14, 1895 indicates that wife Margaret was the daughter of James and Bridget Ryan and was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in April, 1866. The only child of Alexander and Margaret Robbins noted in the 1900 Census was Ella Robbins. According to her birth record, Ella Bertha Robbins was born in Boston on November 29, 1888. Ella took up nursing and by 1910 she was employed as a resident nurse at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth.
7. Charles B. Robbins was born on April 26, 1864. In the 1880 Census for Plymouth, Charles was listed as attending school and living with his parents and siblings. No further record of Charles was found in Massachusetts. The 1930 Census for Foster, Rhode Island includes a listing for a Charles B. Robbins, age 66, born in Massachusetts, employed as a farmer and living by himself on Bosard Road in Foster.
8. Gordon Robbins was born on August 2, 1868. In the 1880 Census for Plymouth, Gordon was listed as attending school and living with his parents and siblings. Gordon was a "cigar manufacturer" of Middleborough, Massachusetts, when he married Almira Noa on May 3, 1897 at Melrose Highlands, Massachusetts. Their marriage records further indicate that Almira was the daughter of Leopold and Jessie (Farmer) Noa, born in London, England around 1865. By the time of their marriage, Almira had established herself as an accomplished artist. (Re: American Art Journal-Winter, 1981 Issue, "Woman Artists of Boston, 1870-1900") Among her works was a highly regarded portrait of the Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts, Phillips Brooks, completed in 1894. Gordon and Almira resided in Boston. At the time of the 1920 Census for that place, they were residing in Boston's 23rd Ward, where, if the handwriting of the census taker can be believed, Gordon was employed as a veterinary. Quite a change from a cigar maker! At the time of the census, this couple was childless.
9. Walter J. Robbins was born August 23, 1870, and died at Plymouth on December 3, 1873, at age 3 years, 4 months.
Submitted by Lawrence G. Robbins, September, 2009. Mr. Robbins may be contacted by email at