JAMES H. ROBINSON, deceased, was one of the most active and prominent business men of Bloomington. and greatly
respected for his excellent moral character and genial social qualities. He was a native of the Empire State, born
in Washington County, March 11, 1808. He removed from Saratoga Springs to Bloomington in the fall of 1836, and
from that time was intimately identified with the business interests of this section.
The father of our subject was Benjamin Robinson, a native of New England, and the mother was formerly Miss Ruhanna Wood, who was born in Westport, Mass., Dec. 9, 1778. James H. Robinson was the fifth of a family of eleven children, and entered upon his business career in Bloomington, Ill., as a clerk with James Allen [ed., probably James Allin, Sr.] in general merchandise. He afterward became the partner of his employer, and they continued business until 1840, when the business was sold out. Four years later Mr. Robinson went into business on his own account, which he operated very successfully until 1852. His next venture was in the lumber trade, which he conducted successfully for about six years. In 1860 he became President of the Bloomington Bank, in which he was one of the principal stockholders, and which position he occupied until his death, which occurred in December, 1874. This is now known as the First National Bank, and under his wise management were laid the foundations which have been the secret of its success.
Mr. Robinson was married in 1842, to Miss L. M. Drake, who was born in 1821, and is the daughter of Rev. B. B. Drake, a minister of the Presbyterian Church. Of their children the following survive: Charles W. is Cashier of the First National Bank of Bloomington; John D. is a florist; James and Benjamin are pursuing their studies at Harvard College [ed., Harvard University].
The fine brick residence on East Clay street, which constitutes the present homestead of the family, was erected in 1869. It is built after the modern style of architecture, and is surrounded by beautiful and extensive grounds, embellished with native forest trees and choice shrubbery. All its appointments both within and without are indicative of refined tastes and ample means, and the family is held in the highest respect throughout the county, where they are widely known.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 405. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.