picture of John Darling Robins with daughter Estelle and granddaughter Lynn

My paternal great-grandfather, John Darling Robins

John Robins, my grandmother Eva Robins’ father, was born March 10, 1865, in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada. In his early life John worked in Ontario as a teamster and a farmer. He and his wife, Harriet, along with their four daughters, immigrated to the U.S. in 1911. The family story is that they came to escape a debt-laden farming life in Canada for a new start in Tonawanda, N.Y. Prior to this, the Robins family had been in Ontario as far back as the early 19th century.

Once in Tonawanda, John worked in a steel plant and as a millwright at Spaulding Fibre in Tonawanda.

My father told me that in his prime, “Grandpa Robins” was a powerful man who could bend bottle caps with his fingers!

John died in 1946. I don’t remember seeing him, but I think my parents took me to see him when I was a baby. The picture above shows John holding one of my cousins with my great aunt Estelle behind him. It was taken in 1945.

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3 thoughts on “My paternal great-grandfather, John Darling Robins”

  1. Came across John Darling Robbins and Albert A Robbins in City of Tonawanda census records since I also descend from a Robbins line. My line is from Hezekiah Robbins of Canboro which is the same small farming Town in Haldimand county where the Norfolk Robbins clan is from. I found John interesting because his middle name may have originated from Darling road in Canboro and also because where he lived on Kohler street in Tonawanda is very close to where we grew up on wheeler street–just down the street from Spaulding Fibre! Happy to share Robbins info anytime

  2. The Robbins/Robins clan came to the Niagara region of Canada from New Jersey in the late 1700’s/early 1800’s and were a very large family. James Kirk Robbins lived in Gainsborough before moving to Canboro with his family. I descend from one of his sons Hezekiah. There were several Hezekiah Robbins/Robins in the area at the time. some of the family moved to the Windam/Norfolk region at some point. Nice website by the way

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