Absalom Robbins Sr. and Family

The second known child of Jacob and Mary Robbins was Absalom, born 11 September 1765 in Rowan (now Randolph) county, North Carolina.  The area in Rowan county the Robbins family lived in later became Randolph when it was formed in 1779.  (Note that Absalom is sometimes also spelled Absolem, among other variations; the name comes from the Bible where it is commonly spelled “Absalom”).

Signature of Absalom Robbins

We have his birth date from the deposition he gave in support of his sister-in-law Bethiah’s application for a pension based on his brother William Robbins’ Revolutionary War service.  In his deposition, Absalom states that:

“…he was born on the 11th day of September 1765 in Randolph County North Carolina that he resided in his said native County from the time of his birth until the surrender of Lord Cornwallis.  He was too young to serve in the army during those years of trouble but he was still old enough to observe passing events, and he still has the most vivid recollection of many incidents of that period.  He further states that he is the brother of William Robins late of this county [Decatur] who died on the 11th day of Sept 1834, and who was at the time of his decease a pensioner under the government of the United States and the husband of Bethia Robins, who is an applicant for a pension….”

Absalom was married to Mary Ogle on 13 March 1787 in Franklin County, Virginia.  Mary’s parents were Hercules Ogle and Mary Carson, probably.  There are several records mentioning Absalom and father-in-law Hercules, besides the 1787 marriage bond where both were the bondsmen for the Robbins-Ogle marriage.

Unlike his brother William, for whom I have found no land records in Virginia, in 1790, at the age of 25, Absalom Robbins is listed in the Montgomery county, Virginia, tax books as the owner of taxable property “in the district of Thomas Robinson, Commissioner, formerly the upper district of Botetourt County and now the lower of Montgomery County for the year 1790.”

Excerpt from Virginia land record

Absalom Robbins, as assignee of father-in-law Hercules Ogle, received a land grant for 56 acres on the Mine Creek waters of Little River adjoining Ogle’s land, and he received a land grant for 56 acres on the Mine Creek waters of Little River adjoining his own lands.

In 1791 Absalom was a witness, along with his brother William, to the marriage of his sister Mary Robbins to Valentine Chastain.

In 1800 he is first found in the Shelby county, Kentucky, tax lists, where he appears through 1805, thereafter appearing in Henry county, Kentucky.  In 1804, while in Shelby county he witnessed the consent given by his parents for his sister Margaret to marry Thomas Robbins.

Later in 1809 in Henry county he gave consent, along with his wife Mary, for their daughter Elizabeth Robbins to marry Philip Stark.  In 1818 he gave consent, alone, for son John to marry Edy Sanders.  He appears in the 1810 and 1820 censuses for Henry county and appears in that county’s tax lists through 1828.

There is then a gap of some years before we find Absalom in any more records (I have not found him in the 1830 census).  In 1838 he received a land patent in Decatur county, Indiana, for 40-acres in Section 4 of Township 9 North, Range 9 East (located about midway between Harris City and Gaynorsville).  Other neighboring land owners in his section include his nephews Marmaduke and Nathaniel Robbins, Nathaniel’s son William Franklin Robbins, and several other names associated with the Robbins family:  Herren, Meredith, VanTreese, and Burke.

Approximate location of Absalom’s land in Decatur County

In 1842 Absalom Robbins married Susannah Huffman, for some reason in Hendricks County, Indiana, which is located to the northwest of Indianapolis, quite a distance from his home in Decatur County.  The couple sold part of the same land that Absalom had received in 1838 to Jacob Deweese in 1847.  Deweese was married to Absalom’s grandniece, Mary Helen Robbins (daughter of Marmaduke and granddaughter of Absalom’s brother William).  And in 1853 in they sold part to “Absolem Robbins of Breckinridge County, Kentucky.”

By the early 1850s some of Absalom’s children had moved out of Decatur County, including Nancy (to Oregon in 1852), John (to Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois by 1840), Mahala (to Missouri by 1840), Absalom Jr. (to Kentucky by 1840), as well as numerous grandchildren, in particular the children of Micajah (to Kentucky by the early 1850s).

While Absalom and Susan were living in Decatur County for the 1850 census, he apparently decided to join his Kentucky children and grandchildren, and moved to Breckinridge County, Kentucky, by the mid to late 1850s.

While it is rare to find death records for this time and place, we are lucky to find Absalom Robbins listed in the 1860 Mortality Schedule of the U.S. Census.  The mortality schedule was a special enumeration collecting the details of those persons who died within the previous census year.  In 1860 the census enumerators listed the “name of every person who died during the year ending 1st June, 1860, whose usual place of abode at the time of death was in this family.”  And lo and behold, we find Absalom:

Absalom Robbins entry in 1860 Mortality Schedule

Now, he wasn’t quite 100 years old, he was 93, but who’s quibbling at that point?

It is suggested, but not confirmed, that he might be buried in the same decrepit cemetery where Absalom Jr. and Jemima are buried in the Old Robbins Schoolhouse Cemetery (you can find a brief description on FindAGrave here).

Below is my list, believed to be complete and accurate, of the children of Absalom and Mary Robbins. This list of names comes from miscellaneous family records, county histories, and the occasional other document that provides a relationship.

There is one possible problem with my list:  Absalom Robbins Jr.  Some oral family history says that Absalom had a son Absalom Jr. who in turn had one son Absalom III, who was married to Jemima Hanks.  I’ve made the case that there were only two Absaloms, and that Absalom III was really the youngest son of the elder Absalom.  I won’t go into all the reasoning here, and I may very well be incorrect, but you can read my blog post about it here. Note that some of the dates below are estimates based on available records.

  • Micajah Robbins (1788-1865) – lived out his life in Decatur county, Indiana.
  • Elizabeth (Robbins) Stark (1790-1886) – married Philip Stark, lived many years in Decatur county, before moving to Boone county, Indiana.
  • George Robbins (1792-1887) – lived out his life in Decatur county, Indiana.
  • Nancy Robbins (1797-1880) – married her cousin Nathaniel Robbins, lived in Decatur county, until 1852 when she and her family moved to Oregon.
  • John Robbins (1799-1857) – lived in Decatur county, Indiana, before moving on to Missouri and Iowa.
  • Mahala Robbins (1802-1866) – married David May, lived in Decatur county, Indiana, before moving to Missouri and Texas.
  • Absalom Robbins Jr. (1810-1885) – lived in Decatur county, Indiana, before moving to Breckinridge county, Kentucky.
  • Charity Robbins (1811-1892) – married (1) James Hanks and (2) John Purvis; lived out her life in Decatur county, Indiana.

I believe that today there are descendants of Micajah, Elizabeth, George, and Charity in Decatur county, Indiana.

My next family group post will discuss three siblings of William and Absalom:  Jacob Jr., James, and Margaret.

[Jacob Robbins-Absalom Robbins]

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