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    WILLIAM F. ROBBINS has for many years been prominently identified with the affairs of Piqua and Miami County, Ohio, both in public and private capacities, and takes rank among the foremost citizens of the county - those who have given freely of their time and energy to the promotion of public enterprises and the improvement of public institutions. As head of the Piqua waterworks for many years he wrought a great and beneficial change, giving the city pure water and a new plant, in which the people take a justifiable pride, and making the department self-sustaining. He has also rendered valuable services as president of the county board of agriculture; during his incumbency of that office the annual fairs were elevated to a higher plane than they had previously reached and all departments of agriculture were stimulated in such a manner as to bring real and lasting benefit to the people. In business life Mr. Robbins has been closely, identified 'With various important interests; he has been actively and successfully engaged in the livery business for many years, being at the present time a member of the firm of Robbins & Moore.

    William F. Robbins was born on a farm in Brown Township, Miami County, Ohio, March 25, 1854, is a son of Alvernas and Sarah Ellen (Gearhart) Robbins, a grandson of Benjamin and Pamilla (Covault) Robbins, and a great-grandson of Richard Robbins, who was the pioneer of the family in Miami County, Ohio. The Robbins family is of Welsh origin, and was transplanted to American soil in the Colonial Days, being located in New Jersey. The Gearharts came to this country from Germany and were first residents of Virginia.

    Richard Robbins, great-grandfather of William F., came to Miami County, from Centerville, Montgomery County, Ohio, at a time when Indians were numerous and still hostile, and the pioneer families in constant jeopardy of massacre. The country was wild and uncleared, and was sparsely settled.

    Benjamin and Pamilla (Covault) Robbins were the parents of eleven children, of whom five grew to advanced years, namely: Sarah, Alvernas, Madison, Erastus, and Benjamin M. The father of this family was a farmer by occupation, and was located in Lost Creek Township, Miami County.

    Alvernas Robbins was born in Lost Creek Township, December 14, 1832, and was reared on the home place. He followed the occupation of a farmer and hired out in his younger days, in that way earning and saving enough to enable him in time to purchase a place of his own. A man of keen perception and foresight, he bought and sold different properties to good advantage, thereby adding more rapidly to his farms. He continued his farming operations until about the year 1888, when he moved to Piqua, where he now lives in practical retirement. He was united in marriage with Sarah Ellen Gearhart, who was born in Elizabeth Township, Miami County, Ohio, September 12, 1829, and is a daughter of Daniel and Mary (Beaty) Gearhart. Her father was six years of age when he came from to Ohio with his father, John Gearhart, who was a native of Germany. The Beaty family is of Irish extraction. Mr. and Mrs. Robbins were married May 12, 1853, and became parents of seven children, as follows: William F., Mary, Lena, Erastus, Bert, James, and Charles.

    William F. Robbins was reared on the old homestead and received his educational training in the common schools. He worked on the home place and lived with his parents until he was twenty-six years of age, then in 1880 moved to Piqua. He was for two years connected with the Strawboard Company, after which he embarked in the livery business, in which he has continued with uninterrupted success since. About the year of 1890 he formed a partnership with Mr. Moore, and the firm of Robbins & Moore became one of prominence in that field of business, enjoying the public patronage to a remarkable extent.

    In April, 1890, Mr. Robbins was elected to the City Council of Piqua, representing the Second Ward, being the first Republican ever elected from that ward, which had a natural Democratic majority of 300; his majority as thirty-seven. In 1894, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Piqua waterworks, and upon being sworn into office was chosen as president of the board. He served with marked, efficiency, and in 1897 was honored with re- election as a member and president of the board, and was made superintendent of water works. The satisfactory discharge of his duties and his activity in behalf of a new plant resulted in his retention in office for a third term. With a capacity for work and possessed of keen business acumen, progressive and public spirited, his aim to place the waterworks on a paying basis was realized and the saving to the city duly appreciated by the people.

    Mr. Robbins was united in marriage, February 16,1875, with Miss Mary H. Riddle, a, daughter of Manning and Lydia Ann (Stillwell) Riddle, and a granddaughter of Jacob Riddle. The Riddles are of Irish and Welsh descent, but have long been established on American soil, and in Ohio. Jacob Riddle, the grandfather, was a native of Hamilton County, Ohio, and in the year 1836 moved to Miami County, taking up his residence in Staunton Township. Manning Riddle was also born in Hamilton County, Ohio, and accompanied his parents to Miami County. He served creditably in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was married to Lydia Ann Stillwell, a daughter of Joseph Stillwell, whose ancestry lived in New Jersey. William F. and Mary H. Robbins have bee n the parents of two children, namely: Lee Carlton, a young man of considerable musical ability and training, who married Miss Bertha Singles and resides in Piqua; Earl Clyde, who also has a taste for music and is endowed with superior talent as an artist; and Ella Jane, who died when she was one year old. Fraternally Mr. Robbins is a member of the Knights of Pythias.

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