Pulaski County

Biography - Luther Robinson

DR. LUTHER F. ROBINSON. The dean of the medical profession in the village of Ullin and the surrounding country is Dr. Luther F. Robinson. For more than a score of years he has been an active member of this little community and he is joyfully welcomed in every home not only as their tried physician but as their faithful and loving friend. No trouble is too insignificant to win his warm sympathy, no joy is quite complete until the Doctor has had a share in it. Beside the close ties that bind him to the hearts of his people through his connection with their private affairs, he is also interested in the public affairs of the community, being president of the First National Bank of Ullin and postmaster of the village.

Luther F. Robinson was born at Statesville, Iredell county, North Carolina, on the 26th of February, 1852. Being orphaned in infancy he was legally adopted by his maternal grandparents, and knew them as his only parents. His grandfather was Henry Robinson, who came from an old pioneer family of English origin, whose founder, the grandfather of Henry, had settled in North Carolina during colonial times. Henry Robinson was born in Davie county, North Carolina, He married, and in 1861 moved westward, finally coming to Arkansas and settling in Greene county. There his life was devoted to the farm and his industry was unbroken until he died, in 1874, during the seventy-sixth year of his life. His home was near Gainesville, the old county seat of Greene county, and the only time he allowed any interest to draw him away from his farm was when he was elected county judge of the Democratic party. Henry Robinson and his wife had a number of children. The oldest, Isabel Olive, was married to a Mr. Houston, who disappeared while on a trip into the wilds of the West during the infancy of his son and only child. Nothing was ever heard that might give some clew to his fate, and his wife died in Ullin, in January, 1910, at the age of seventy-six, having only lately been reunited to her son after a separation of more than a third of a century, Frank Robinson, of Anna, was another child, as were A. W. and Lee Robinson, of that city, the last named dying there in recent years. Mrs. C. M. Hileman, who died in Ullin, Illinois, and Mrs.-Levi Hileman, of Anna, Illinois, were daughters of the old Arkansas pioneer and aunts of Dr. Robinson.

Luther P. Robinson spent his boyhood till he was seventeen on the farm of his grandfather, doing the work of a man as soon as his strength permitted and gaining what education he could from the district schools. In 1869 the blood of his pioneer ancestors came to the surface, and the boy demanded the right to start his own life amid surroundings of his own choice, making his way yet further west, until he reached the frontier of Texas, where he became a cowboy on one of the great cattle ranches that then occupied all that vast grassy plain. After two years of this wild out of door life he returned to civilization and located in St. Louis. He easily, on account of the fine physique which his rough life had developed, secured employment. His ambitious spirit was not satisfied with his position, and seeing that his great lack was education he began to attend night school. He then learned the carpenter's trade, and came into Illinois, making his home in Union county. He followed his trade for a time, but he was clearly not cut out for a carpenter, so turned to fruit and truck farming near Anna. Here he married his first wife, Mahala Jane Chatham, in August, 1874. His acquaintance with and marriage into the Chatham family probably had a controlling influence in his life, as he took up the study of medicine with his brother-in-law, Dr. John R. Chatham, of Anna. Becoming intensely interested in the subject and eventually deciding that he had found his vocation, he pursued his medical course to a satisfactory completion. His first two years of study were spent in the old Physicians and Surgeons at St. Louis, which school is now a part of Washington University. His next work was taken in the medical department of the University of Louisville. He graduated from there in June, 1889, and established himself at once in Ullin, Illinois. He has not allowed the progress of modern science as applied to medicine to slip past unheeded, but has attended the clinics of the best known surgeons and doctors of St. Louis and Chicago. For seventeen years he has been local physician and surgeon of the Illinois Central railroad, and held the position of president of the pension board at Cairo for eleven years.

The first wife of Dr. Robinson was a daughter of Robert and Mahala J. (Hood) Chatham. The father was a native of Tennessee, but his wife was from Charleston, South Carolina, later moving to Tennessee, where her marriage to Mr. Chatham took place. Soon after their marriage they came to Illinois and settled first in Shelby county, later coming to Union county. Mrs. Robinson died in March, 1901. The children of this union were: William, an engineer on the Illinois Central out of Mounds; Ida, wife of Robert George, of Mounds, Illinois; and Myrtle, now Mrs. John Rowe. In November, 1902, Dr. Robinson married Elizabeth Bise, a daughter of Samuel Bise, of Owensboro, Kentucky.

Dr. Robinson is one of the leaders of the progressive party in Ullin, always standing for any movement that would be of benefit to the town and taking an active part in the civic life of the place. He was one of the men who pushed the plan of incorporating the village of Ullin, and after the successful culmination of this scheme acted as its treasurer for nine years. In conjunction with Lawrence Cheiiault he founded the first banking house in the village, in 1904, the month being June, and in May of the following year he purchased the interest of Mr. Chenault. He conducted it as a highly successful institution under the name of the Bank of Ullin until 1906, when it was converted into a national bank, taking the name of the First National Bank of Ullin. It has a capital of twenty -five thousand dollars, and Dr. Robinson has served as its president since its organization. In 1900, feeling the need of a reliable pharmacy in his own profession, he established a drug business. Many of the substantial improvements throughout the town are due to his energy, for one of his dearest wishes is to make a beautiful town out of the place that has so endeared itself to him.

In 1909 he received the appointment to the position of postmaster as the successor Thomas Myers, which post he now occupies. He abides by the tenets of the Republican party and is an active worker in its behalf, when the issues are important and the result is in some doubt. He is one of the seven oldest members of the Anna lodge of Odd Fellows, and is a member of the Knights of Pythias. His religious affiliations have been with the Missionary Baptist church since he was twenty-three years of age, and his long membership has been a very active one.

In his profession Dr. Robinson has served two years as the president of the Pulaski County Medical Society, is a member of the Southern Illinois Medical Society and of the Illinois State Medical Association, as well as belonging to the American Medical Association.

The position of a physician in the community is like that of a minister, one of great responsibility and influence. He must hold himself at all times at the call of any one, must always be even tempered and cool-headed, as an example, if nothing more, for his patients. All these requirements seem almost superhuman, but Dr. Robinson has fulfilled them so nearly that his people swear he is the ideal physician. What unbounded energy he possesses to be able to take the time and thought from that most exacting type of practice, that which may call him many miles out into the country at any hour of the day or night, to enter with the whole of his forceful personality in to the public affairs of his people! They reward him, however, by returning in full measure the love and devotion which he has so freely poured forth for them.

Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 3, pages 1222-1224


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