As with past Friday Finds posts, this one begins with some handwritten notes. From these notes, I know that I was visiting the Kansas State Historical Society (KHS) when I wrote down the information.
The biography of Bolivar Robb starts on page 8.
With perhaps a few exceptions, Bolivar Robb, of West Lebanon, Warren county, is the oldest pioneer of this county, in years residence here. He has lived in this portion of Indiana for seventy-two years, and in Warren county since 1830, and distinctly remembers the experiences of the pioneers during the ‘30s and ‘40s, and the primitive condition of everything here, and the inevitable hardships which had to be endured. He even
recalls the Black Hawk war of 1832, and incidents of that notable strife with the red men — one of the last stands of that race against the oncoming tide of civilization east of the Mississippi.
Early in the eighteenth century three brothers, James, William and John Robb, emigrated from the northern part of Ireland (where they were known as Scotch-Irish) to America, and made a settlement at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It is supposed that from them are descended all persons bearing the surname of Robb in this country, but from which one of the brothers our subject traces his lineage is not definitely known. The great-grandfather of the subject was one John Robb, and the grandfather was Thomas Robb, both natives of the Keystone state. The latter, born in 1767, married Elizabeth Robb, a second cousin, and in 1800, when their son William (father of our subject) was about two years old, they removed to Erie county, Pennsylvania. Eight years later they went to Washington county, Kentucky, and in 1818 they took up their abode in Brown county, Ohio, settling near Ripley, the county seat. In 1830 Mr. Robb became a resident of Washington township, in the vicinity of Williamsport, Warren county, Indiana, but three years later he continued his journey westward, and died in DeKalb county, Illinois, September 4, 1850. From principle he was strongly opposed to slavery, and the unswerving traits of integrity, justice and honor which had descended to him from his Scotch-Irish ancestors were among his most noteworthy characteristics. He left the stern old “blue” Presybyterianism in which he and his forefathers had been reared, and until his death rejoiced in the liberty and light of the Disciples or Christian church, with which he early identified himself. While he was never an aspirant to official distinction, he occupied various local positions and was a justice of the peace for years, here and further east. His first wife, Elizabeth, died in Ohio, and Mr. Robb subsequently married Mrs. Sarah Friel, who survived him a short time. She had one son by her first marriage, Thomas and Elizabeth Robb were the parents of James and John (twins), William, Thomas, Robert, Mary, Anna and Elizabeth, all of whom have passed away. James served in the regular army of the United States for five years, and in the war of 1812 fought under the leadership of General Andrew Jackson, and later took part in the Seminole war. John also was in the war of 1812, fighting under General William H. Harrison. With the exception of Thomas, who died in youth, all of these brothers and sisters married and had families, and all except James and Thomas became residents of Indiana, the former settling in Illinois and the latter dying in Ohio.
William Robb, father of Bolivar Robb, was born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, near Pittsbrug, November 10, 1798. He accompanied his parents to Brown county, Ohio, and there he married Abi Higinbotham, a native
of that county, born April 14, 1806. In the spring of 1827, William Robb, in company with his brothers-in-law, Joseph S. and Joseph P. Robb, built a small flat-boat and floated down the Ohio river to the mouth of the Wabash, and thence went up this river to Covington, in what is now Fountain county. Having selected and bought a tract of land near Vederburg, William Robb returned home on foot, and in the following autumn he brought his family to the new home in the wilderness, in a one-horse wagon. The family continued to reside on this homestead until March, 1830, when they removed to Warren county. Mr. Robb entered land about three-fourths of a mile west of the present court-house in Williamsport,, and here he continued to dwell until his death, June 10, 1885. His venerable wife died January 5, 1899, in her ninety-third year. Politically, he was a Democrat, and three times did he fill the office of sheriff, twice being elected and once being appointed to that position. Once he was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of county clerk, and for many years he was a school director, township trustee, etc. Of his seven children, Bolivar, William W. and Howard are residents of Warren county, and Alfred lives in Tennessee. Those who have entered the silent land are Frank; Eliza Jane, who was the wife of G. W. Armstrong; and Sarah E., who married James Jones, and had a son and daughter, both now deceased.
Bolivar Robb was born April 29, 1826, in Brown county, Ohio, and was but four years old when he came to this county. Here he managed to gain a fair education in the primitive subscription schools of that period, but his advantages were meager in the extreme. When he was eighteen, his father, who had been unfortunate in business, informed him that he could give him only a team of horses with which to make a start in independent life. The young man requested and received the equivalent of the horses in money, and with this he paid his way, as far as possible in Wabash College. He then taught for six successive winters. Schools were still carried on largely by subscription at the rate of about two dollars a pupil for a term, and the last winter that the young pedagogue taught he received fifty dollars for his services, and paid one dollar a week for his board and that of his horse. For thirty years he was engaged in contracting and building, and then he purchased the old homestead, which he managed for years and only recently sold. During Cleveland’s last administration he was postmaster of West Lebanon, where he has a pleasant home, and is living practically retired. He has always been prominent in the councils of the Democratic party of this locality. In June, 1843, he joined the Christian church of this village, and from that time to the present he has been one of the most active members, and was the first superintendent of the Sunday school here.
On the 25th of July , 1850, Mr. Robb married Sarah A. Acus, a native
of Iroquois county, Illinois. She died April 8, 1853, and left an infant daughter who lived to the age of nine years. December 7, 1856, Mr. Robb wedded Margaret S. Crawford and their only child, Clara Jane, married E. S. Walker, who has been commander -in-chief of the Sons of Veterans of Indiana. Mrs. Walker, a lovely, well educated lady, died when in her thirtieth year and left and infant. Her loss has been deeply felt by her many sincere friends and particularly by her devoted parents, who are thus left childless in their declining years.Biographical History of Tippecanoe White Jasper Newton, Benton, Warren and Pulaski Counties, Indiana, Volume I. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1899.