top of page

KATHERINE A. (ROBBINS) LONG  (A biographical sketch and personal recollections from the records of the Tillamook County Pioneer Association, Tillamook, Oregon, 1956) Re: The Nicholas Robbins Family No.


Katherine A. Robbins, daughter of Prince and Isabella (Purdy) Robbins, was born in Pleasant Lake, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia on September 11, 1858. She was one of seven children, five girls and two boys. Her father had always followed the sea and with the family growing in size and requiring much care and attention, the added anxiety and worry about his safety on long voyages, induced her mother to prevail upon him to pursue some other line of endeavor that would allow him to be at home with his family. He found other employment but soon learned he could not be happy at work which kept him confined indoors. Encouraged by other members of his family already residing in the United States, he decided to try farming and in 1868 moved his family to Michigan, where he homesteaded a quarter section in the north central part of the State. The area where he settled was heavily wooded and the nearest neighbor was one and one-half miles distant.


In spite of the privations and rigors attendant to pioneer living, Katherine had a happy childhood and, like all other children of her generation, was taught all the tasks of homemaking by her mother. She recalls she was only nine years old when she knitted her first pair of stockings. Because of the deep snows in winter which made travel difficult, what schooling was available, was held during the summer months. Her father allowed his children two big supper parties a year at their home and the young folk came from miles around. Sleigh rides were another popular means of entertainment and she remembers one which her father took them on in early May of one year. Maple sugar making in the winter time is for her another pleasant memory.


In May, 1877, Katherine was married to Benjamin Franklin ("Frank") Long at Farwell, Michigan and they began housekeeping at Gilmore, Michigan, a small country town. A carpenter by trade, he worked at that at every opportunity and did farming and other work when his business slackened. They lived in Gilmore for thirteen years and then moved to Farwell for a time, after which they decided to move to the West. Coming to Oregon in 1891, they settled at Bay City and lived there for thirteen years during which time he was able to work at his trade. They came to Tillamook to live in 1904 and there he operated a small box factory which enjoyed quite a thriving business in making cheese boxes. Later he sold this business and bought the yellow fir mill located about eleven miles from town. This mill burned and he was getting things ready to reopen when he took an opportunity to dispose of his business to A. G. Beals. Frank Long passed away in 1917.


Frank and Katherine were parents to six children, three of whom are now living: Irene Brasington of Farwell, Michigan and Althea Magnuson and Harry Long, both of whom reside with Katherine at her home in Tillamook. Ever since Katherine came to Tillamook to reside she



Nicholas Robbins Family

has lived within a block of her present home. She has thirteen grandchildren, thirty-eight great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. She is a member of the Christian Church.


Eight years ago when relatives from Michigan came to visit her, she decided to accompany them on their drive home so that she might again visit her early home in Farwell. She remained there with her daughter Irene and other relatives until she finally became homesick for her Tillamook home, then returned home by airplane, which she enjoyed very much.


Katherine Long is considered to be the oldest living resident of Tillamook County. She will observe her 98th birthday in September and has lived here continuously for 65 years. She enjoys good health and although she no longer takes part in outside activities, she takes pleasure in reading and visiting with her friends at her home. During her long active life, she has been able to observe many changes. She has seen the transportation change from ox team to airplane, small rural communities to sizable towns and cities, trails to modern paved roads and has been witness to the birth of other modern conveniences such as telephone, radio and television. However, in reviewing her life and all its vicissitudes, she maintains that the simple things which her generation enjoyed in the way of amusement and pleasure, brought just as much true happiness to them as the many modern means of entertainment afford the present generation.


Note: Katherine A. (Robbins) Long lived to celebrate her 100th birthday and received a congratulatory letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower. At the time of her passing on October 28, 1958, she was the oldest known resident of Tillamook County, Oregon.


Submitted by Lawrence G. Robbins, July, 2008.  Note: Mr. Robbins gratefully acknowledges the supply of these records from the files of the Tillamook Museum. Mr. Robbins may be contacted by email at

bottom of page