“Rufe” Robbins

Last week I had a post about Nathaniel Norval Robbins.  This is a short post about his son Rufe Robbins who died at the age of nineteen.

Rufus Merritt Holman Robbins was born in 1873, while Norval and Permelia were still living in the Stafford area, just west of Oregon City.  It was an eventful time in the life of the Robbins family.  His uncle John Dow Robbins was found murdered on his nearby land claim one month after Rufe’s birth and Norval Robbins was the administrator of his brother’s estate.  Rufe’s aunt Nancy (Robbins) Barstow had passed away in 1872.  Nancy Robbins, his grandmother, was getting older and in 1870 was living in Norval Robbins’ household and was probably still there when Rufe was born.

We don’t know much about Rufe’s short life.  In the 1880 census he was 7-years-old and not listed as attending school.

Rufe Robbins

Rufus Holman Merritt Robbins

Sadly almost the only official notice of his life was a short death notice in the Oregon City Enterprise in February of 1893:

“Died:  Rufe Robbins died as a result of an accident while working on the new sash and door factory in Oregon City.  It happened between 3 and 4 weeks ago.  He was 19 years old.”

Was he injured three or four weeks prior and had finally died? or was the newspaper reporting three or four week old news?  We don’t know.  So far I’ve been unable to locate other newspapers that might have reported an accident.  We do know he was buried in the Robert Bird Cemetery, named for his great-grandfather.

Rufus Robbins gravestone

Gravestone of Rufus Robbins

We do have one other story passed down about Rufe Robbins and a fiddle he owned.  Apparently after his death, his nephew Norval Kirchem (son of Laura (Robbins) Kichem) went to a local market to sell butter and while there purchased a fiddle.  He showed it to his grandfather, Norval Robbins, when the elder man came for his daily bucket of milk.  Robbins identified it as formerly belonging to his son Rufus as Rufus’ name had been scratched into the case and then scratched off.  Norval Kirchem would get it out every now and then to play for his grandfather, Norval Robbins.

[Jacob Robbins-William/Absalom Robbins-Nathaniel/Nancy Robbins-Nathaniel Norval Robbins-Rufus Merritt Robbins]

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