Alameda County





Edward Constant Robinson, attorney, of Oakland, was born in Jackson county, Oregon, February 6, 1855, a son of Dr. Jesse and Lavinia Jane (Constant) Robinson, both living in Solano county. His mother, who was born in Sangamon county, Illinois, March 12, 1834, a daughter of Isaac and Lucinda (Merriman) Constant, was married in Jackson county, Oregon, April 27, 1854. Isaac Constant, born in Clark county, Kentucky, April 5, 1809, a son of Thomas and Margery (Edmonson) Constant, was married in Sangamon county, Illinois, February 14, 1833, to Lucinda Merriman, born in Scott county, Kentucky, February 21, 1813, a daughter of Reuben and Betsey (Bennett) Merriman. Isaac Constant came to Oregon in 1849; made a homestead entry; returned to Illinois; sold his property there; brought his family to Oregon in 1852, settling in Jackson county, where he died late in December, 1889, and his wife early in January, 1890. His father, Thomas Constant, born in Virginia August 14, 1769, moved to Kentucky, was married there June 17, 1796, and settled in Clark county. About 1810 he moved to Xenia, Ohio, and thence in 1820 to Sangamon county, Illinois. They had five sons and eight daughters. Both died at Athens, Illinois, he on December 14, 1840, and she on March 1, 1842. Reuben Merriman, the father-in-law of Isaac Constant, born in Connecticut September 6, 1790, went to Kentucky in 1811, and returning was married May 4, 1812, when he went back to Kentucky, settling on Big Eagle creek, in Scott county, where he was engaged for several years in milling and coopering. In 1829 he moved to Sangamon county, Illinois, and settled in Williams township, where he died February 28, 1842, having survived his wife a single day.


The paternal ancestry of the subject of this sketch is of New England descent for several generations, and is perhaps derived from William Robinson, one of the early colonists of Cambridge, said to be a kinsman of Rev. John, pastor of the Pilgrims in Leyden. Be that as it may, Eliakim Robinson, the great-grandfather of our subject, was a resident, and probaly [sic] a native, of Worcester county, Massachusetts. He was married about 1770, to Deborah Brown, a daughter of Bryant and Hephzibah (Chandler) Brown, of Thompson, Connecticut, the mother being a native of Pomfret, Connecticut, where she was born August 12, 1720. Eliakim and Deborah Robinson had seven sons, the oldest of whom, Samuel, lived and died in Worcester county, Massachusetts; Silas, Jesse and Solomon settled at Hartwick, Otsego county, New York; Moses and Aaron, twins, settled in Wyoming county, New York, and Bryant, the youngest, is supposed to have settled in Rhode Island. Jesse, the third son, who was born in Webster, Worcester county, Massachusetts, November 14, 1773, was married November 16, 1806, being then a widower with one son, to Abiah Larned, born in Dudley, in the same county, November 19, 1784, a daughter of John Larned, by whom he had five sons and three daughters. He died in Hartwick, New York, January 6, 1848, his wife surviving to March 21, 1866. One of her sisters, Lovina, by marriage Mrs. Head, was remarkably long-lived, having been born July 13, 1783, and living to January 14, 1890.


Jesse, the youngest but one of the children of Jesse and Abiah Robinson, and the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Hartwick, New York, August 28, 1825, and received his early education there. At eighteen he entered the medical college at Woodstock, Vermont, at which, after a course of over three years, he was graduated, in 1846. Then he moved to Lee county, Iowa, where he practiced until he left for California, arriving in September, 1849. He engaged in mining, and between mining and prospecting at different points, some fifteen months had passed, when, on the organization of Shasta county, in December, 1850, he was elected its first County Clerk. In 1851 he bought a farm in Scott Valley, Siskiyou county, on which he raised cattle chiefly; and in 1853 he moved into Southern Oregon, where he engaged in a more varied business, including a sawmill, gristmill and packing. He was married there, April 27, 1854, to Lavinia Jane Constant. In 1861 he was appointed Quartermaster of the First Oregon Cavalry, United States Volunteers, which he accompanied in its various expeditions, and was mustered out September 30, 1865, as Chief Quartermaster of the District of Boise, Idaho Territory.


Returning to Oregon he settled in Jackson county, where he engaged in farming until he moved to Oakland, in November, 1868, chiefly for the better education of his children. He was variously engaged here until April, 1881, when he entered upon the discharge of his duties as Assessor of Oakland township, to which he had been elected in 1880, and which he held by re-elections until January 1, 1887. Before the close of the latter year he took up his residence on his fruit ranch of 160 acres in Vaca valley, Solano county, where he still resides. His children are: Edward C., named at the head of this sketch; Chester Larned, now a salesman for C. M. Plum & Co. of San Francisco, married in 1881 to Annie Belle Prince, a native of Maine, and has one child, Jesse, who was born in 1886; Thomas M., the third son, who is the subject of the following sketch; and Maury, who is interested with Thomas M. in a ranch in Vaca valley, which he superintends.


Edward C. Robinson completed his school days in the University of California. From 1873 to 1878 he was in the coal business as collector, bookkeeper or foreman for F. Chappellet & Co., and for six months as half owner of their branch yard at Alameda, and finally as superintendent of their headquarters in this city. In 1878, his health being somewhat impaired, he went to the mountains and engaged in hydraulic mining, owning at one time a two-thirds interest in the Josephine mine in Josephine county, Oregon. Disposing of his mining property he returned to Oakland, and was appointed in 1880 a deputy County Clerk, and detailed a Clerk of Department Two of the Superior Court of Alameda county. Finding an opportunity to study law, under the guidance of the late Henry Vrooman and afterward of the Hon. W. E. Greene, then and now one of the Judges of the Superior Court, he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of California, August 9, 1882. Retiring from the position of deputy County Clerk in January, 1883, he entered upon the practice of law under the style of Robinson & De Golia (which partnership continued one year), and was appointed Attorney to the Public Administrator, and served as such to the close of 1886. From June 1, 1887, to October 1, 1888, he was one of the law firm of Smith & Robinson, otherwise practicing alone since January, 1884. In July, 1890, he was appointed Town Attorney of Berkeley. He has successfully conducted some cases that have attracted attention on account of the principles involved, and has established an excellent standing among, and is now one of the prominent members of the bar of Alameda county.


Mr. Robinson is Past Master of Live Oak Lodge, No. 61, F. & A. M., and Past Grand of University Lodge, No. 144, I. O. O. F. In June, 1888, he was elected Colonel of the Sons of Veterans, United States army, Division of California, for the usual term of one year.


He was married October 17, 1889, to Miss Sarah Theodora Merritt, who was born at Payson, Adams county, Illinois, March 27, 1867 a daughter of James B. Merritt, now residing in Seminary Park, a suburb of this city.


Transcribed by Donna L. Becker. 

Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 2, pages 102-104, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.

2005 Donna L. Becker.