Hon. William Robinson, First Mayor of the City of Allegheny, Pennsylvania

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Hon. William Robinson, First Mayor of the City of Allegheny, Pennsylvania

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Death: February 25, 1868 (82)
Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Place of Burial: Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of James Robinson and Martha Robinson
Husband of Mary E Robinson
Father of William O'Hara Robinson

Managed by: Gibson 'Gibby' Brack
Last Updated:

About Hon. William Robinson, First Mayor of the City of Allegheny, Pennsylvania

William Robinson Jr. (17 December 1785 – 25 February 1868) was a politician, business executive, and militia general from Allegheny, Pennsylvania, now the North Side of Pittsburgh. He was the first mayor of Allegheny and a state legislator.

Early life

Robinson was born on 17 December 1785 in a log cabin in the area soon to become Allegheny. He was reputedly the first white child born west of the Allegheny River.[1] His parents were James Robinson, who operated a ferry across the river, and Martha Boggs Robinson.[1] William was styled "Junior" to distinguish him from an uncle of the same name.[1] After schooling at Pittsburgh Academy and Princeton,[1] he read law under ex-senator James Ross, but did not go on to practice the profession.[2]

In 1806, on a flatboat trip down the Ohio River, the young Robinson and several companions were detained on suspicion of taking part in the Aaron Burr conspiracy to found a Southwestern empire. They were released as nothing treasonous could be proven against them.[3]

Business

Robinson managed a number of companies over his lifetime. He was the first president of the Allegheny Bridge Company, which built a bridge over the Allegheny River at what is now Sixth Street.[1] Opened in 1819,[4] the bridge was the first to cross the Allegheny at Pittsburgh.[5] Robinson was the first president of the Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad, which became part of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway, a major component of the Pennsylvania Railroad system.[5] He served for 16 years as the first president of the Exchange Bank of Pittsburgh.[6] He was also partner in one of the area's early rolling mills.[7]

Politics

Robinson was elected as a Democrat to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, serving from 1833 to 1834.[8] When Allegheny borough became a city in 1840, Robinson, then a Whig,[9] became its first mayor.[5] His other positions in the Allegheny government included treasurer, assessor, and president of Select Council.[10] According to one historian, Robinson had a "haughty and dictatorial" manner that hampered his political ambitions.[5]

Mexican War Streets

The Mexican War Streets neighborhood, originally called Buena Vista, was established by Robinson on part of his extensive land inheritance from his father.[5] He laid out the plan in 1847 during the Mexican–American War, naming the streets for the war's battles and leaders.[11] Contrary to legend, he saw no active service in the conflict.[11]

State militia

In 1849, Robinson was elected major general of the 18th Division, Pennsylvania Volunteers,[12][13] resulting in his being known afterward as "General" Robinson. The Volunteers at the time were a more social than military organization.[14]

Death and legacy

Robinson died on 25 February 1868 and was buried at Allegheny Cemetery.[15] He is commemorated on the North Side of Pittsburgh by General Robinson Street, which runs through his father's original farm.[16] At the end of the 20th century, many artifacts from Robinson Jr.'s estate were unearthed at the construction site of PNC Park.[17]

His grandson, John Buchanan Robinson, was a politician who became a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the Pennsylvania State Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.[18][19] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Robinson_Jr.


First Mayor of the City of Allegheny, Pennsylvania in 1840.

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Hon. William Robinson, First Mayor of the City of Allegheny, Pennsylvania's Timeline

1785
December 17, 1785
Allegheny, Pennsylvania
1814
1814
1868
February 25, 1868
Age 82
Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
????
Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA