Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rob-a-bob-Robson

Once again the Robsons have been occupying my time, while I wait for correspondent various other material replies from the land of lords, muffins and pounds sterling. Courtesy of mundia (subject to strange machinations of available data: accessible sometimes, and at others, not), google books, two census sites, nineteenth century databases, smaller armada of rabbit holes, and a voo-doo hex, I have been putting together a picture of Charles Robson around whom forces of family swirled, and quite forceful they were too—very driven.

Charles had been born in Kelso where his father, the solicitor Charles Robson of Bridge Street, Kelso, and of "Greenhill" had been in business with John Smith, a senior man of the bar. Charles Robson Senior, was also an esquire—he had property: not only his residence, but properties that paid returns. One of these properties in Kelso itself, he gave while still living, to three sons, George, William and Charles. The latter two were living in London, the former (George) stayed in Kelso.

The family seems to have be bifurcated along the tines of law and printing. Christopher Robson, the London based Barrister of Clifford's Inn, had followed his father into law and an earlier William ( perhaps an uncle) started in printing/lithography in London at the rousing dawn of the 1800s. Charles' boys became master-printers, while two of Christopher's boys went into law.

I wondered from whence came the money to support these enterprises: it seems that Charles Rosbon Senior may have had other brothers, also in Law or other descendant trades of pen-craft. When I dug a little deeper, I found that in 1860, there arrived in Roxburghshire, a James Robson who brought with him, sheep—special sheep—sheep sufficiently special to be featured heavily in agricultural history of the area.

James Robson (and his famous sheep) had come from Northamptonshire, crossbred (the sheep, not James) with local breeds, became a success, and raked in the shekels. Is this the source of the Robson's generational wealth and perpetual oppurtunity?

What is sure, despite my above musings, is that both Christopher and Charles left large families—large enough to warrant aspirin when trying to piece it together.

Christopher Robson (who was by the way, the barrister for George Levey, Charles' partner) married twice: first to Caroline Jenkins Griffiths (connected to Jenkins and Button, barristers of 5 Tavistock Street?) who died in 1851, and who, I assume, bore Christopher lots of little Robsons, though, if she did I haven't found them. He remarried later in 1852, while poor Caroline was barely warm in the box, to Emma Sarah Dove, from whom he certainly did obtain a brood. She was very much younger than him: twenty-five years younger! There is some evidence that Charles Robson Senior had done the same thing—that is, marrying twice. When Christopher died in 1867, his widow married a widower and solicitor, Harman Edgar Tidy, who acted as step-father to the brood, with the addition of his own children. One of Christopher's boys, Charles (another Charles) eventually married his step-sister, Ada.

Charles Robson, printer, Christopher's brother, married once (as far as I know) to Caroline Druitt in 1842. This was actually quite late to marry for Charles (born in about 1806), so he too, may have had an earlier wife—though no facts have surfaced.

Stay tuned: I have nearly finished an exploratory tree, which is my way of saying it is merely a report of what I have found, with question mark icons all over the place. I am happy to say that a picture is beginning to form.