Edward Mott Robinson

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Edward Mott Robinson

Also Known As: "Black Hawk Robinson"
Birthdate: (65)
Birthplace: South Kingston, Washington , Rhode Island, United States
Death: June 14, 1865 (65)
New Bedford, Bristol , Massachusetts, United States
Place of Burial: New Bedford, Bristol , Rhode Island, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Robinson and Mary Robinson
Husband of Abbigale "Abby" Slocum Robinson
Father of Hetty Green and Isaac Howland Robinson
Brother of William Attmore Robinson; Annie Attmore Chase; Sylvester C. Robinson and Attmore Robinson

Managed by: Art Stiles
Last Updated:

About Edward Mott Robinson

Edward Mott Robinson, an affable and unassuming man, married well and through his wife's family became a partner of a thriving whaling business, Isaac Howland Jr. & Co. in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which he subsequently inherited. Whaling produced oil for lamps and machinery, so Robinson became an oil tycoon known as "the Napoleon of the business community." He built the Baker & Robinson oil refinery in New Bedford and later became a very successful stock speculator in New York. (1)

Hetty By Charles Slack. Page 1

"Edward Mott Robinson was not a New Bedford native, but had married into the richest whaling family in town ... Black Hawk Robinson, they called him. He was known as a tough businessman, shrewd, unsentimental, thrifty and cold."

From "Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon," by Charles Slack book review Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Bookface

The first thing Mr. Slack points out is that Hetty's financial acumen started very early in her life. Her father first made his fortune in the Massachusetts whaling industry (as my ancestors had), and when his vision began to fail, he called upon sharp-witted little Hetty to help him.

  • "Perhaps the only thing about Black Hawk Robinson that could be described as weak was his eyesight. And so from a young age Hetty read the financial news to her father, and to her maternal grandfather, Gideon Howland, a partner in the firm. She read shipping statistics, tariff news, currency debates, the latest on securities and investments, and trade news from New York. She absorbed everything. By the time she was fifteen, by her own reckoning, she knew more about finance than many financial men."

The Robinsons were Quakers, and with this came stern discipline, principles, and self-sufficiency. Looking back on her childhood many years later, Hetty Robinson Green would recall, “My father taught me never to owe anyone anything. Not even a kindness." ...


Published: New York Times, October 29, 1865

-- The last will and testament of EDWARD MOTT ROBINSON has been filed in the Probate Court of this city. He bequeths in his daughter, HETTIE H. ROBINSON, $919,000, and the property known as the North Point Dock Warehouse. To HENRY A. BURLING, of New-York, $10,000; to ABNER H. DAVIS, of New-York, $10,000; to WILLIAM E. WATSON, of New-Bedford, Mass., $1,000; the town of South Kingston, R.I., $10,000, to be paid in eighteen months, the interest accruing to be applied to the endowment of an educational institution. The rest of the estate to BURLING, DAVIS and E.P. MANDVELL as trustees and executors in behalf of said HETTIE. If she dies without issue, all but $400,000 goes to such persons as she may by her will devise, and the balance be divided according to law provided she dies intestate, otherwise $100,000 each is bequeathed to WILLIAM A. ROBINSON, of Providence, R.I.; ALBINON ROBINSON, of South Livingston, R.I.; SLYVESTER C. ROBINSON and AMOS A. CHASE, of Salem, Mass., brothers and sister of testator, or to their issue. The will particularly requests that his mercantile obligations growing out of the partnership concern of WILLIAM T. COLEMAN & CO., shall be liquidated. Each executor is to be responsible for his own acts, and not for those of his co-executors. -- San Francisco Bulletin.


  1. New York Times Book Review: 'Hetty': Scrooge in Hoboken By CONSTANCE ROSENBLUM. Published: December 19, 2004


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Edward Mott Robinson's Timeline

January 8, 1800
South Kingston, Washington , Rhode Island, United States
November 24, 1834
Age 34
New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States
May 20, 1836
Age 36
New Bedford, Bristol , Rhode Island, United States
June 14, 1865
Age 65
New Bedford, Bristol , Massachusetts, United States
Age 64
New Bedford, Bristol , Rhode Island, United States