ROBBINS Narrative
ROBBINS Narrative
"Daniel Robins was born in Scotland to the Robertsons, known in Gaelic as Clan Donnachaid (Children of Duncan). The Robertsons are descendants of King Duncan I through his son, Robert. In 1651, the Scottish people, tired of the tyranny of Oliver Cromwell's dictatorship, had turned their allegiance to Charles II. Cromwell's army met the Royalist Army at Worcester. Daniel Robins and a number of other Scottish were taken prisoner and shipped to America. Daniel was taken to Connecticut where he was a servant for a number of years. In 1663 Daniel married Hope Potter and they were the parents of seven sons. Daniel died in 1714 and was buried in new Jersey where he and his family had eventually settled. Descendants live throughout the United States"  10

"Daniel Robinson was the son of Richard and Mary Robinson.  Richard and Mary Robinson appear to have resided in the Atholl (Athole) district of what was then Perthshire.  Atholl is a mountainous district at the southern base of the Grampian Mountains.  The area is generally uncultavible and is more appropriate for livestock and hunting.  The Robinsons were members of the Clan Donnachaidh.  Highland clans such as the Clan Donnachaidh were a pastoral warrior race that based their prestige on cattle.  A great source of pride to these herdsmen were their combative skills that they often honed by raiding one another's cattle as a sport or test of prowess.

Daniel Robinson was part of the Scottish Army raised by King Charles II during the English Civil War.  On 3 September 1651, Oliver Cromwell's Parlimentarian Army routed the Royalist Army at Worcester, Worcestershire (present day Hereford and Worcester County), located 25 miles south southwest of Birmingham.  Daniel Robinson was taken prisoner, marched to London, and confined to Tothill Field near Parliament House to await his fate.  Daniel was selected as one of the prisoners to be exiled to America.  We can surmise, by his being selected, that he was in good physical condition and not wounded.

Approximately 274 Scotch prisoners from the Battle of Worcester were consigned to Thomas Kemble of New England, a lumber merchant with an interest in New Hampshire sawmills.  Mr. John Becx was interested in obtaining Scottish prisoners that were neither sick nor wounded for his ironworks.  The ship, the John and Sara, was engaged to transport these Highlanders to Boston.

Those who survived the voyage arrived at Boston Harbor sometime in February 1652 and were sold on the auction block to New England planters and mill owners as indentured servants for six to eight years.
Daniel Robinson is listed among the Scotsmen listed as passengers aboard the John and Sara.  Six other men with the same surname were aboard, probably Daniel's kinsmen.  Daniel was bought by Nathaniel Foote, of Connecticut, and taken to this man's family plantation to tend the livestock.  It is thought that Daniel continued with the Foote family beyond his eight year indentureship.

Daniel Robinson and Hope Potter registered their intention to marry on 3 February 1663 at New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut.  They married one week later.  The specifics as to how Daniel met his wife, Hope Potter, are not known.  Hope Potter's sister, Sarah, was married to Robert Foote, brother of Nathaniel Foote, Jr.  It was not an uncommon occurrence for these young Scottish soldiers to marry into the families of their masters upon receiving their freedom.

Subsequent to their marriage, they migrated to Woodbridge in the Province of East Jersey (present day Middlesex County).  As a point of reference, Middlesex County, New Jersey, was formed from the Province of East Jersey in 1683, and was subsequently split into Somerset and Middlesex Counties in 1688.

The name Robinson was not used by Daniel after he and his family moved from Connecticut to New Jersey.  Daniel's will indicates he was unable to write.  It is possible that a minor alteration in the spelling may not have been of any great importance to Daniel so the Robinson name became Robins.

Daniel Robins has been described by his descendants as being about five feet in height, with bright blue eyes and dark, thick, curly hair in his younger days.  Family tradition has it that he played a harp, a talent that was continued by his grandson, Richard Robins, of Morris River.  Richard's harp was listed among his possessions at the time of his death.  In New Jersey (and Possibly in Connecticut) he was known as "the Scot" or "Scotch Robins."

Although Daniel was not able to read, it is said that his wife, Hope, could read the bible.  Supposedly, Daniel enjoyed the Old Testament scriptures that spoke of the patriarch Joseph and the Hebrews in Egypt.  This piece of family folklore seems to be substantiated in the naming of four of his seven sons:  Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and Benjamin.

In 1695, eight years after Hope's death, Daniel moved across the state from Woodbridge to Crosswicks, Burlington County, New Jersey, where he purchased some large tracts of land in central New Jersey.  One of these he conveyed to his son Moses.  This transaction is found in an old deed dated 1701 and this land included the one acre family cemetery known as Ye Old Robbins Burial Place.  When Daniel acquired the land, he supposedly selected this specific site for the purpose of a cemetery.  Family members record Daniel's sons Joseph and Nathaniel as being buried there in unmarked graves.

Daniel must surely have been a religious "hodgepodge."  He grew up in Scotland, a land dominated by Presbyterian Calvinism.  He was exiled to a land dominated by Puritans and later married a daughter of a Puritan.  After moving to Crosswicks, an area dominated by Quakers, Daniel and two of his sons, Daniel Jr and Moses, joined this religious sect.

The origins of the Quaker sect, or more correctly termed the Society of Friends, lie in the intense religious ferment of 17th century England.  George Fox (1624-1691), the son of a Leicestershire weaver, is credited with founding it in 1647, though there was no definite organization before 1668.  Considered a radical (pacifist) Protestant sect, their quaint-sounding thees and thous, and their practice of keeping hats on indoors derive from George Fox's determination not to make signs of obeisance to any man,
including the King.  Since Quakers understand the spiritual life in entirely inward terms, they do not employ sacraments or other forms of worship.

It would seem logical to find Daniel buried at his Old Robins Burial Place; however, Bible records and other family documents indicate that he was buried at Woodbridge beside his wife Hope - thereby honoring a last request.

It was not a common practice in colonial days to transport the dead to a distant burial place, particularly during the hot summer months.  On 18 August 1714, Daniel's body, accompanied by Daniel Jr., Moses, and Aaron and possibly others undertook the over 30 mile journey from the Crosswicks farm to Woodbridge.  Due to the assistance they received along the way from fellow Quakers, the trip was accomplished in record time.  The body of Daniel rests beside his wife Hope in an unmarked grave at Woodbridge." 14

Daniel Robbins, Sr. was one of the founders of Woodbridge, New Jersey, moving there in 1668. He and his wife, Hope, had eleven children--the eldest daughter and son were born in New Haven, CT prior to the move to Woodbridge while all of the remaining children were born in Woodbridge.

In Woodbridge, New Jersey3
In 1669/70, Daniel acquired a "houselot" of 173 acres, 120 acres of "upland" and 5 acres of meadow on the Rahawack River. In 1670, Daniel is listed as a Freeholder with 173 acres in Woodbridge4. On 15jul1676, John Dilley sold 5+ acres to Daniel in Papiack, a half house lot, the east side. Jason Sertell sold Daniel 5+ acres in Woodbridge on 4mar1678. Later that year, on 21nov, Abraham Jappen sold 12+ acres to Daniel in Woodbridge. In 1695 and 1696, Daniel transferred his properties to Peter Lacont, Adam Hude, Elisha Parker, and his son Daniel Jr.--preparatory to moving to Crosswicks.

In 1673, Daniel took an oath of allegiance to the Dutch king. In 1688 he was a Constable and Tax Collector, in 1690 the Overseer of Highways, and Marshal in 1692. On the third Tuesday of December 1692, the Grand Jury presents Daniel Robins for breach of the Sabbath. (On the third Tuesday of September 1693, Daniel Jr. and Nathaniel were presented for carting wood on the Sabbath)

Background on the founding of Woodbridge: King Charles II granted the territory of New Jersey to James, Duke of York on March 12, 1664. On February 10, 1665, Philip Carteret was appointed governor and chartered what would become Woodbridge and granted 150 acres to every "Freeman" settler. The main lines of immigration into Woodbridge were from Newbury MA ( John Woodbridge was the beloved minister of a church in that town), and also directly from England, Piscataqua country, NH and Haverhill, Ipswich, Boston & Plymouth, Mass.

In "Crosswicks", New Jersey6
In 1695 or 1696, Daniel Robbins, Sr. moved to Monmouth (later Mercer) County, NJ. Daniel died in "Crosswicks", Monmouth County, NJ, and Daniel Jr. was the sole executor of his will. Among his bequests was his land and house at Crosswicks1 and "that interest of land and goods that falls to me in New Haven in Connecticut Collony" which he left to his children and grandchildren.

"November 7, 1695, he purchased of John Reed, attorney for John Laing, a tract of land in Monmouth County, containing five hundred which he removed the following year, disposing of his corporation rights, etc., in Woodbridge, to Adam Hude, of Staten Island, and of his lands there to his son Daniel and others. ...Although Daniel Robins came of Puritan stock, after his removal to Monmouth county, where all his neighbors were Friends or Quakers, he became identified with that society, as were many of his descendants thereafter. ... The homestead of Daniel Robins, which he described as being in Crosswicks, was nevertheless located on the south side of the Chestnut brook, a tributary of the Assapink, in Upper Freehold township, some ten miles from the village of Crosswicks..."

In 1701, Daniel signed a petition requesting government by the King if a competent governor was not appointed.

On Mar. 25, 1714, Benjamin Robbins, Sr. purchased 203 acres from John Stevenson in what was then called Nottingham Township, Burlington County, west of Allentown (and is now known as Hamilton in Mercer County); this homestead (which was bequeathed to Nathaniel) remained in the family until Nathanielís death. Benjamin also owned 1-3/4 acres in Allentown on the south side of Main Street where there was a house and blacksmith shop where John resided and which Benjamin bequeathed to him. Benjamin died in Nottingham, NJ and his will was proved 3dec1760. Nathaniel was an executor of his fatherís will along with the eldest son, John. His estate was valued at £157.10. (Interestingly, Benjaminís brother, Aaron, also died in 1759 in "New Hanover", Burlington, NJ).

Nathaniel married Ruth Vanroom on October 7, 17417 and inherited the homestead farm in Crosswicks on his fatherís death in 1759. Nathaniel died November 27, 1786, aged 66, in Nottingham Township (Burlington), NJ. Vanroom and Nathaniel Jr. were the executors of Nathaniel Sr.ís will and they were instructed to sell the property in Nottingham--it was acquired by Nathaniel Rulon [a brother of Henry Rulonís?--who had married Theodosia]. The will was witnessed by David Rulon (Theodosiaís father-in-law), Daniel Hendrickson and Nathaniel Rulon and the estate was valued at £324.11.6 13

Vanroom married Tabitha Ford on November 30, 17838 and died in East Windsor, NJ on August 27, 1804, at the age of 60. His executors were his wife Tabitha and his oldest son William; the will was witnessed by David Rulon Sr., Elijah Bower and Asa Robbins; the estate was inventoried at $113.25 12. The property included land that Vanroom had received from his brother: in 1772, Nathaniel Jr. purchased a farm "lying on the east side of the homestead and bounded west by Keiths line." When Nathaniel Jr. removed to Salem county, this property passed to his brother, Vanroom. (As of 1907, the property was still in the family, owned by Vanroomís grandson, William.)

Hannah (Robbins) Dickson died in Trenton, NJ of consumption on October 24, 1868, just shy of her 76th birthday.9


 1   Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer County, NJ under the editorial supervision of Francis Bazley Lee; Volume I, The Lewis Publishing Co., NY 1907.  An extract provided by the New Jersey Historical Society supplies most of the information about the Robbins family in "Crosswicks".
 3  Piscataway and Woodbridge New Jersey, Orra Monnette, 1914.  This 7 volume set (found at the Brooklyn Historical Society) supplies most of the data regarding Daniel Robbins' stay in Woodbridge.
 4  According to a letter from Gertrude N. Brick of the Chesterfield Township Historical Society (located in Crosswicks, NJ) to William D. Johnson, Jr. and based on a quote from a manuscript by George L. Robbins dated 1908 where Daniel is mentioned in the patent from Carteret.
 6  Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer County NJ, p. 337
 7 New Jersey Marriage Records 1665-1800, Nelson, William, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1982, p. 324.
 8 Ibid.
 9  Death Certificate filed in Trenton, NJ
 10 reparentage of Daniel Robins,; see also NJRootsWeb's WorldConnect Project Neill
 12 New Jersey Colonial Documents Calendar of Wills 1801-1805, p. 374, File 10037L
"1804 Aug. 11. Robins, Vanroom, Sr., of East Windsor, Middlesex Col:  will of.  Wife, Tabitha, bed, cow, privileges of house and 20 pounds yearly, while my widow; also together with son William, the profits of real and personal estate until youngest son, Benjamin, is 21, for the support and maintenance of my children.  My 2 youngest sons, Benjamin and Vanroom, 1/2 of my land in Nottingham Twsp., Burlington Co. adjoining land of brother, Nathaniel Robins, to be divided between them when youngest son, Vanroom, is 21.  Eldest son William, residue and remainder of estate: he paying his sisters, Ruth Robbins, Lydia Robbins, Sarah Robbins, Patience Robbins, Mary Robbins, Elizabeth Robbins and Ann Robbins, each 50 pounds.  Executors--wife, Tabitha and son, William Robbins.  Witnesses--David Rulon, Sr., Elijah Bower, Asa Robbins.  Proved Sept. 24, 1804.  Unrecorded.
1804, Sept. 21.  Inventory $113.25; made by David Rulon and Elijah Bower."
      {Note that according to notes of Wm. D. Johnson, Jr., who obtained an original copy of the Will,  the abstract merely made an error in not mentioning Hannah (Robbins) Dickson}
 13  New Jersey Post-Revolutionary Documents Calendar of Wills--1786-1790, p. 190, Lib. 28, p. 19.
"1786, Nov. 27.  Robins, Nathaniel, of Nottingham, Burlington Co.; will of.  Daughter, Theodosia Rulon, 15 pounds.  Daughter, Ann Stewart, 10 pounds.  Daughter, Susannah Borden, 10 pounds.  Daughter, Ruth Robins, 40 pounds and 10 pounds that her grandmother left her.  Land and moveable estate to be sold, except what I have given to Job and Ruth Robins.  Son, Vanroom Robins, 10 shillings.  Sons, Nathaniel, Obadiah and Job, the residue.  Executors--sons, Vanroom and Nathaniel. Witnesses--David Rulon, Daniel Hendrickson, Nathaniel Rulon.  Proved Dec. 7, 1786
1786,  Dec. 6.  Inventory, 324.11.6 pounds made by Daniel Hendrickson and David Rulon."
 14  From The Exile of Daniel Robins To America in 1652, quoted by permission of the author, Sara Robins Hoffman.