From the Frontispiece of Facts for Farmers, which was edited by Solon Robinson and printed in 1870:
This is the genial face of a farmer, engaged in a work of love for his
calling. It is placed here in opposition to the wishes of the author.
He has been persuaded to allow his face to be seen by those who purchase
this collection of things useful to a very numerous class through the
solicitation of the publisher, who knows that it will be a satisfaction
to them to see how their old friend looks at the age of sixty. An old
friend he will seem to those who read his earnest appeals for
agricultural improvement twenty or thirty years ago. As a writer and
lecturer upon agriculture, and extensive traveler to observe its
condition in the United States, few men are better known than the
original of this portrait. Therefore this likeness will be, the
publisher believes, highly appreciated as well by those who look upon a
familiar face as those who see it here for the first time.
The author was born a farmer, and will probably end his days where he
now lives (a few miles our of the busy hum of the city), in the peaceful
quiet of his "home in the country," where this volume of facts for
farmers has been prepared as a last legacy of his good-will to the
Like other farmers' sons of New England, he learned to follow the plow
there, though in early life he became a Western pioneer, and while a
prairie farmer, became widely known as a writer advocating agricultural
improvement, and more widely, in 1841, as the originator of the National
Agricultural Society, and earnest advocate of State and County
societies. His connection with the New York Tribune since 1850 will
make this picture interesting to all its readers. It is for these
reasons that the publisher has incurred the expense of its production.
From Ball, T.H., editor. Encyclopedia of Genealogy and Biography
of Lake County, Indiana with a Compendium of History 1834-1904.
Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1904. pp. 63-64:
There is much material for memorial sketches of some of the early residents of Lake county, those who are called its pioneer settlers; there is scanty material for biographies of others. Some men have written their names in a bold hand, like the name, John Hancock, on the Declaration of Independence, within the history and across the history of Lake county.
Among these is the name, SOLON ROBINSON. He was born in Connecticut, October 21, 1803. And the more closely one studies the biographical history of Lake county, Indiana, so much the more fully he will see that Lake county, like many other portions of this Union, owes very much, for its intelligence and enterprise, to New England blood and New England training. Of the earlier life of Solon Robinson, of his education and his experiences, not much is now known. He left his native State rather early in life, and from which of the larger Robinson families he was descended does not seem to be known, but in May, 1828, he was married in Cincinnati, Ohio, and not long after became a citizen of Indiana, first at Madison, and then in Jennings county, at a place called Rock Creek. What business pursuits he followed seems to be also unknown. In October, 1824, in a conveyance drawn by oxen, having one extra wagon or more to convey the household goods, he came with his wife and two young children, and probably two young men, Jerome Curtis and J.B. Curtis, over that long line of road that was then leading up into Northwestern Indiana. The road way, except Indian trails, ended in Porter county; but he found there Jacob Hurlburt to guide him to the newly surveyed land lying yet further west. Just before sunset Coctober 31, 1834, this leader of migration with his party, having crossed, what was to him and to them a wonderful sight, a beautiful belt of prairie, reached some skirting woodland. The next morning he concluded to locate there his future home, and from that November morning until about 1850 his name is quite closely interwoven with all that followed in the settlement and growth. So fully was he concerned in the affairs of the young county that he was collled the SQUATTER KING OF LAKE. He made a map of the county showing, besides other features, what was prairie and what was woodland, he secured the organization of the Squatter's Union, July 4, 1836, and was elected the first Register of claims. [That old Claim Register is now in my possession; also a copy of the Robinson map, probably the only copy now in Lake county.--T.H.B.] He was an early Justice of the Peace, was the first postmaster in the county, was elected the first County Clerk, and, with his brother Milo Robinson, opened the first settlers' store in the county. He secured the location of the county seat at Crown Point in 1840. He was fond of writing and had quite an agricultural turn of mind. He commenced writing for the Cultivator, at least as early as 1837. In 1838 he proposed the organization of an "American Society of Agriculture." In 1841 he sent out an address to the farmers of the United States, through the columns of the Cultivator. The journeys which he took over the country in behalf of his plan cannot be detailed here. His efforts probably led to the Grange movement. He also wrote stories, such as "The Will," "The Last of the Buffaloes," "Hot Corn," "Green Mountain Girls," and others. He was connected for a time with the New York Tribune. He went at length to Florida and there died in 1880. His older daughter, Mrs. Strait, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, reside in Crown Point, and, like him, have talent and intelligence, and, like him, some of them hold office.
Last updated on July 30, 2010.
Go to Solon Robinson, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.