Submitted by Martha J. Kounse

This was written by the late R.C. Hall, Ph. D., who was writing a complete series covering Lawrence county and Ironton, but was claimed by death before completing the work. The series on Symmes township was found by his mother after his death and submitted the The [Ironton] Tribune.

According to our best available information on the subject, Symmes Township and Lawrence County owe a great deal to the ROBINSONS. And Symmes Township in particular owes much to Providence M. ROBINSON. Not only did he teach one of the first schools in that part of the county, but he is accredited with organizing the first Sunday School in the township, in 1855.

Like a great deal of other pioneer work, that of Mr. ROBINSON was interrupted by the Civil War. He enlisted, May 11, 1864, in Company D, 126 Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served in the Army of the Potomac during the final campaigns of the war under Gen. Grant. Altho not in the service as long as some, it is probable that few others saw any harder service. Those familiar with the history of the Civil War, know that few military campaigns in history have been more arduous, for both sides, than that around Richmond, VA, during the final year of the conflict. Mr. ROBINSON sustained injuries, however, of a rather peculiar kind, it appears. He was not hurt by shot or shell, but as a result of the almost incessant marching to which his company was subjected, he became lame in his left leg and was finally discharged, altho not until the conflict was practically over and the victory won for his country.

Mr. ROBINSON had already married Louanna STEWART, as we have noted, March 2, 1848, and they already had several children before he left his home to fight for “liberty and union.” After spending some time in Symmes Township as a teacher, he also became a farmer and settled down for a time near the hamlet of Sherritts which became his post office address.

Mr. and Mrs. Providence M. ROBINSON were the parents of the following children:


John S.


Gerald C.


Rachel M.


Perry S.


Sarah L.


Mary A. F.


Elizabeth V.


Rufus C.

And so we see that this son-in-law of the pioneers John C. and Sarah McCartney Stewart, had a career which in public service and private life appears to have been rather similar to those of several of their owns sons.

They all had, what today would be considered large families, and considering each of half a dozen such familiar to have had half a dozen children each who married and raised similar sized families, one can easily see how numerous and widespread by be the descendants of but one pioneer couple.

Another interesting thing about many of these pioneers was their versatility. They appear to have been equally capable with a hoe and a gun, in the corn field and on the battled field, in politics and in the church, while those who had education enough to read, write and solve a few mathematical problems, frequently put in a few months of the year as teachers. Thus we read in an old account of Providence M. ROBINSON that he was a teacher, soldier, farmer and preacher, and no doubt during which might be considered rather primitive at its best, he found time and opportunity to turn his hand to many jobs now considered quite unrelated to any of the professions just mentioned.

Of all the townships of Lawrence County demanding the best of its early settlers, Symmes was perhaps the most exacting, due to its remoteness from the Ohio River and its being off the beaten trail of civilization, so to speak. Its fine forests too, while indicating the fertility of the soil, had to be cleared in order to have ground on which the farmer might raise his crops. And the hilly surface also proved a handicap to farming. But in spite of all this, these early settlers and their immediate descendants transformed it into one of the best known, perhaps, of the agricultural regions of the county, altho it also lies partly [at least within] the old iron and coal section of southern Ohio.

Ironton Register, April 18, 1901:
Mr. James ROBINSON, a highly esteemed citizen of Wilgus, died Sunday. Mr. ROBINSON has been sick for two years. He was a member of the Thirty-sixth OVI during the civil war. He was a consistent Christian, being a member of New Zion Baptist Church. Burial at Fairview cemetery.