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Charles Robinson

Charles Robinson, 1818-1894, was a native of Massachusetts. A medical doctor by training, Robinson came to Kansas in 1854 as an agent of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company, a company organized to settle territories with anti-slavery emigrants. Robinson became an important force in the Kansas free-state movement and was elected governor under the free-state Topeka Constitution. Kansas failed to become a state under that constitution, and it was not until 1861 that the territory was admitted to the Union as a state. Robinson became the state’s first governor and served until 1863. He died in 1894.

In the late 1870s and 1880s, Charles Robinson and his wife Sara were in a dispute with Frank Sanborn and John Brown Jr. regarding what Robinson had known about John Brown’s actions in Kansas. The enmity continued after the deaths of Robinson and John Jr. In 1911, Sara Robinson entered into an agreement with Hill Peebles Wilson in which she apparently agreed to pay for publication of a book critical of John Brown that Wilson planned to write. The resulting publication, John Brown, Soldier of Fortune: A Critique (Lawrence, KS: 1913), portrays Brown in a very negative light.

Further Reading:
Wilson, Don W. Governor Charles Robinson of Kansas. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1975.

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West Virginia Archives and History