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Nicholas Robbins Family


ROBERT WILLIAM ROBBINS (A biographical summary of data in family records, Michigan and Washington State vital records and personal recollections supplied by Maxine (Robbins) Marringer) Re: The Nicholas Robbins Family, No.


Robert William Robbins, the eldest son of Prince H. Robbins and Isabella B. Purdy, was born near Pleasant Lake in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, on 19 Mar 1854. The Robbins had made their living at sea for several generations when in 1869, his father decided to seek his livelihood as a homesteader in central Michigan, joining three of his sisters and their families who had migrated there earlier in the decade. By 1870 his father had acquired a quarter section in Gilmore Township in Isabella County, Michigan. The area being heavily wooded, the father became involved in a timber milling operation nearby and eventually opened his own mill.


Robert worked with his father in the lumber business and as a farmer over the next two decades. In 1877 he married Elsie Locina Deyoe in Isabella County.  Elsie, daughter of Jacob and Lydia Deyoe, was born 14 Mar 1858 in Schenectady, New York. Her immigrant ancestor, Christian Deyo, was among the earliest Huguenot settlers who migrated from France and Germany to the Hudson River Valley in the 1670s. The children of Robert and Elsie, all born in Gilmore Township, Michigan, were:


1. Katherine Alice Robbins, born 16 Jul 1878, married Fred Dixon in Washington State and resided in Kelso and Vancouver, Washington; Adoptive parent of nieces Maxine and Rowena; Died at Vancouver on 30 Nov 1968;


2. George Henry "Hank" Robbins, born 11 May 1880, married Alice Wilson and resided in Dundee, Oregon and Kelso, Washington; Farmer and logger; Two children: Maxine and Rowena; Died 26 May 1951 at Kelso;


3. Robert Leonard "Bob" Robbins, born 27 Jun 1885, married Mabel Thuesen on 14 Nov 1908 at Silverdale, Washington and resided there; Merchant and banker; Two children: Robert and Bruce; Died at Silverdale on 15 Nov 1936; and


4. Grace Isabella Robbins, born 9 Jan 1888, married (1) Evan Hergert and resided in Washington State; One child: Dora; married (2) _______ Bonham; No issue; Residing in San Diego, California at the time of her death, 7 Jun 1973.


About 1890 Robert and his family moved to Bay City, Tillamook County, Oregon, where he acquired a homestead and timber claim along the Wilson River. 

Elsie's father, Jacob Deyoe, and her brother, Daniel Deyoe, moved to Bay City about the same time as did Robert's sister Katherine and her husband, Frank Long and their children. During his years in Bay City, Robert worked as a timber cruiser and lumber trader. He joined the Bay City Masonic Lodge soon after arrival and remained a member there the rest of his life. Sometime around the turn of the century, Robert and his family removed to Dundee, Oregon, where he had a farm, and then to Kelso, Washington, where he resumed work in the lumber business. In the Kelso area he was foreman for the Oregon Rafting Company in logging operations near Longview and for the Hammond Lumber Company at Oak Point and Toledo, Washington. 


Upon entering his senior years, Robert said goodbye to the woods and entered the hotel business. Around 1915 Robert and Elsie bought the Washington Hotel in Kelso, which they owned and operated for the remainder of their lives. In their day, the Washington Hotel was a local landmark which served as a "stage stop" for road and rail travelers between Seattle and Portland and was popular with traveling salesmen calling on businesses in the Kelso-Longview area. Following Robert's death in 1937, the Hotel was sold and after World War II, it was razed to make way for a Safeway store. Elsie died at Kelso on 18 Apr 1936 and Robert died there on 4 Oct 1937. They are buried together at Cowlitz View Cemetery in Kelso.


Submitted by Lawrence G. Robbins, July, 2008. Note: Mr. Robbins gratefully acknowledges the family records and personal recollections supplied to him by Maxine (Robbins) Marringer, who lived with her grandparents at the Washington Hotel as a teenager and helped with hotel operation and bookkeeping. Mr. Robbins may be contacted by email at

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