Lucius Robinson, Governor

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Lucius Robinson

Birthplace: Windham Greene County New York
Death: Died in Elmira Chemung County New York
Cause of death: pneumonia
Place of Burial: Elmira, Chemung County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt. Eli Palmer Robinson and Mary Robinson
Husband of Eunice Robinson
Father of Daniel C. Robinson; Eleanor Robinson and David Codwise Robinson
Brother of Orrin Robinson; Mary Doty; William Saxton Robinson and John Milton Robinson

Managed by: Glen Woodford Balzer
Last Updated:

About Lucius Robinson, Governor

Lucius Robinson (1810–1891) was known as a “guardian of the economy” when he served as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the State Assembly. During the Civil War, he served as New York State Comptroller. As governor, Robinson eased the tax burden and paid off the general debt by 1878. Committed to frugality, the only project for which he approved funding was the completion of the legislative and executive chambers in the State Capitol. Robinson was the first governor to deliver his annual address in the Capitol building.

Lucius Robinson (November 4, 1810, Windham, Greene County, New York - March 23, 1891, Elmira, Chemung County, New York) was an American lawyer and politician. He was the 26th Governor of New York from 1877 to 1879.


He graduated from Delaware Academy in Delhi, New York. Afterwards he studied law in the offices of Erastus Root and Amasa J. Parker, was admitted to the bar in 1832, and commenced practice in Catskill, N.Y. He was District Attorney of Greene County from 1837 to 1840. Then he removed to New York City and became a member of Tammany Hall.

He joined the Republican Party when it was founded, and representing this party was a member from Chemung County of the New York State Assembly in 1860 and 1861.

He was New York State Comptroller from 1862 to 1865. In 1861, he was elected on the Union ticket nominated by Republicans and War Democrats. In 1863 he was defeated for re-nomination at the Union state convention, but the nominated candidadte refused to run, and the Republican State Committee put Robinson back on the ticket, and he was re-elected. After the war he joined the Democratic Party again, and was re-nominated for Comptroller on the Democratic ticket, but this time was defeated by the Republican candidate Thomas Hillhouse. After his defeat he resumed the practice of law. In 1871-72 he was a member of the New York State Constitutional Commission.

He was a director of the Erie Railroad, and was Acting President of the company while the President Peter H. Watson was travelling about Europe.

In 1875, he was again elected State Comptroller defeating the Republican candidate, former United States Treasurer Francis E. Spinner. While serving as Comptroller, he was elected Governor, and was in office from 1877 to 1879, the first governor to serve a three-year term after the amendment to the state constitution in 1874. As governor, he opposed Tammany Hall vigorously what led the Tammany leader John Kelly to have himself nominated for Governor by Tammany Hall at the next election in 1879 with the intention to split the Democratic vote, and so defeat Robinson. This happened, and the Republican candidate Alonzo B. Cornell was elected Governor with less votes than Robinson and Kelly together.

Robinson was a delegate to the 1876 Democratic National Convention and supported Samuel J. Tilden for President.

He died from pneumonia, and was buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira.

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Lucius Robinson, Governor's Timeline

November 4, 1810
Windham Greene County New York
April 1846
Age 35
New York, United States
March 23, 1891
Age 80
Elmira Chemung County New York
Elmira, Chemung County, New York, United States