Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
JOHN H. ROBERTSON, an early pioneer
of the Big Bend and a blacksmith by trade, opened the first blacksmith
shop in Wilbur at a time when Wilbur could hardly be called a town, and
when he was compelled to bring his supplies from either Sprague or Spokane.
He was born in Andrew county, Missouri, February
13, 1849, the second of a family of seven girls and five boys, all of whom
are still living, the youngest being over thirty years of age. His
parents, Holmes and Mary E. (Cole) Robertson, were both natives of Indiana
and pioneers of Andrew county. Holmes Robertson served in the Missouri
state militia during the Civil War, and died in 1897, in his seventy-fourth
year. His wife died in 1895 in her sixty-second year.
Mr. Robertson grew to young manhood on a farm.
In Feburary, 1865, he joined company G, Fifty-first Missouri Infantry,
and did general duty at the prison at Alton, Illinois, until November of
the same year when he was mustered out and returned home. The years
1867 and 1868 he spent in the employ of the K. P. railroad hunting buffalo
in Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico during which time the buffalo he slaughtered
were legion. Returning to Andrew county, he remained but a short
time when he took a position as a steamboat engineer on the Ohio and Mississippi
rivers, in which capacity he worked until the fall of 1870, when he went
to Whitehall, Michigan, secured work as an apprentice in a blacksmith shop
and remained until he became a thorough master of the craft. In 1887
he came to Washington stopping for a time in Sprague, and then coming on
to where Wilbur is now, where he opened a shop, and has been in the business
ever since. Since coming here he was burned out, suffering a loss
of $4,000, without insurance, but soon recovered, and was again on the
high way to prosperity. He is now in partnership with William Tully,
has a large shop and does a business in proportion. Mr. Robertson
is in comfortable circumstances financially, owning a first class home,
besides city property in Wilbur and Spokane. Socially, he is a member
of Big Bend lodge, I. O. O. F., and is prominent in the order.
J. H. Robertson was married October 20, 1878,
in Andrew county, Missouri, to Miss Nannie Hart, who was born and reared
in the county of her marriage. Her parents, both of whom are now
dead, were Harrison and Margaret A. (Harrison) Hart, the former a native
of Ohio, the latter of Missouri. Harrison Hart was a prominent man
in the Missouri state militia. His wife's father, Reuben Harrison,
was during his time one of the most prominent attorneys in Missouri.
Mrs. Robertson was well educated as a girl, and for a number of terms taught
school in her native county. Mr. and Mrs. Robertson have been the
parents of four children, two of whom, Hart and John K., are dead.
The remaining two are Bessie M., wife of W. P. Dalton, of Rosalia, well
educated, especially in music; and Myrtle A. Mrs. W. P. Dalton is
an active worker in her church, takes a great interest in educational matters,
at fourteen held a certificate to teach school, and is now district secretary
in her church for the Woman's Home Mission.
Mrs. Robertson was an organizer and member
of the first church established in Wilbur, which was the Methodist.