ROBINSON, JOSEPH A. - Lancaster County, Pa., has given Illinois some of its most substantial citizens, and Sangamon County has always been proud to welcome them to her confines. One of the representative families from that locality which has become well known here is that of Robinson, and a prominent member of it is Joseph A. Robinson, of Riverton. He was born in Lancaster, Pa., September 26, 1844, a son of Daniel and Narcissa (Colson) Robinson. The father was a blacksmith and farmer, whose operations extended over Perry and Cumberland Counties in Pennsylvania. He was also a local preacher of the Methodist faith and traveled about considerably, dying at last in York, Pa. His wife died when Joseph A. Robinson was but a child, and there were three sons and three daughters in the family in addition to him. Susan, the eldest married A. J. Gordon, now deceased, and she lives in Lancaster, Ohio; Rebecca married James Howett, of Riverton, now deceased, and she resides in that town; Jesse W., of Marysville, Pa.; Martha J., wife of Robert Boyd, of York, Pa.; William J., of Lancaster, Ohio, and Joseph A.
Joseph A. Robinson was educated in Pennsylvania, working with his father during his boyhood. Later he went into business for himself. When the war broke out he enlisted from Berks County, in Company A, Third Pennsylvania Artillery for three years. In a few months he was transferred to Company A, One Hundred and Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania, Volunteer Infantry, being made Sergeant under command of Colonel Bowen. A little later he was made First Lieutenant of the One Hundred and Eighteenth Regiment of colored troops. After a service of twenty-two months he resigned, on October 1, 1865. During his period of service he participated in the engagements at Dewey's Bluff, cold Harbor and Fort Harrison, and was wounded September 29, 1864. He was also in the Siege of Petersburg. After the close of his brave career as a soldier, Mr. Robinson returned to Cumberland County, remaining there and in Perry County until 1871, when he was attracted towards Illinois, and settled in Schuyler county, but a short time later moved to Sangamon County. For some time Mr. Robinson was engineer in a mill and distillery, and was fireman and engineer on the Northern Central Railroad. Upon locating in Riverton Mr. Robinson became engineer at Howitt's distillery, but later became engineer for the old paper mill, then for the new mill. Following this he acted as engineer for the old shaft. For several years he was engineer for the electric plant, which he built. Still later he returned to the old shaft, where he has since discharged the duties of engineer. He has been prominent in public affairs, being elected President of the Town Board on the Republican ticket, also Assessor, member of the School Board and Alderman, and has faithfully discharged the duties of all the offices held. He is a member of Stephenson Post, No. 30, G.A.R., and was Past Commander of Camp Butler Post, which was disbanded. He is a member of Riverton Lodge, No. 786, A.F. & A.M., and its Chaplain; belongs to Clear Lake Lodge, No. 445, I.O.O.F., and is its Treasurer, having belonged to that order for forty-two years. He is very prominent in fraternal matters of all kinds. The Methodist church holds his membership and he is one of its Trustees. Mrs. Robinson belongs to the Eastern Star.
In August, 1863, Mr. Robinson was married at Harrisburg, Pa., to Sarah Gensinger, born in Cumberland County, Pa., a daughter of Daniel Gensinger, a native of Pennsylvania, as was his wife. Mr. and Mrs. Gensinger had two sons and three daught3ers, Mrs. Robinson and her brother Joseph, of Marysville, Pa., being the only survivors. The latter served during the Civil War in the Seventh United States Cavalry, for nine months and later for three years. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson became the parents of ten children, six of whom survive: Alice, wife of John Maddox, of Springfield; Rebecca, wife of Vincent Saville, of Riverton, where he is electrician for the town; Joseph, a miner of Riverton; Tennie, wife of Adam Rhode of Riverton; Thomas, at home; Susan, a teacher in the Riverton schools. There are twenty grandchildren and one great-grandchild in the family. Mr. Robinson owns his home and other property in Riverton, and has the utmost confidence in the locality, believing that all realty will show a steady and healthy advance, so that in his opinion it is the best kind of investment.