A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by staff and students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas.

1905 History of Crawford County Kansas


Albert G. Robson, city engineer of Pittsburg and county surveyor of Crawford county, is a well known engineering expert in this section of the state, and his work has been of a very important nature, both in connection with private enterprises and in his official capacity, in which he has well substantiated the confidence placed in him by his fellow citizens. He has spent most of his life in southeastern Kansas, and his endeavors have been such as to add materially to the welfare of his community in addition to promoting his own prosperity.

Mr. Robson was born at Altona, Illinois, in 1873, being a son of William H. and Lottie (Purdy) Robson. The late William H. Robson, well known and honored in Pittsburg, where he was a pioneer citizen, and in other parts of the state, was born in Northumberland county, England, on the river Tyne, in 1834. He was of Scotch parentage, his ancestry having belonged to the Robson clan, of old and interesting history. He was born and reared in the coal-mining country of England, began coal mining at an early age, although he was not deprived of any of the means of education and was excellently prepared in scholarship. He came to the United States at the age of fifteen, in 1849, and located in the mining region of West Virginia. He made good use of his native intelligence and training and industry, and became a mining engineer and superintendent, and later a mine operator, and gained the reputation of an expert in the location and operation of coal mines. After leaving West Virginia he located in Ohio, and then for some years was located about Altona, Illinois, in the mining industry. From there he went to Iowa and to Wyoming, in the interests of the coal mining business, and in 1878 arrived in Pittsburg, Kansas, which town was then in its first stages of growth and development. His experienced eye, however, took in the future possibilities of the place as a coal-mining center, and at that time he predicted the future greatness of Pittsburg provided a first-class water supply could be secured. A sure source of water was the great deficiency at Pittsburg in those days, and it was not until after the unfailing flow of the artesian wells had been established that Pittsburg progressed by leaps and bounds into the ranks of the foremost cities of Kansas; and since then the town has had practically no checks, not even during the panic of 1893. Mr. W. H. Robson remained in Pittsburg only about a year at the time of his first arrival, for he was so favorably impressed with the farming opportunities of this region that he decided upon that occupation. He located on a farm in Coffey county, where he remained for some years. In the fall of 1898 he returned to Pittsburg and became a coal operator. He was a very successful business man, and his death on December 30, 1899, was severely felt throughout the city. The coal business that he established is still carried on by his sons, Robert H. and William E., under the name of the Robson Brothers Coal Company.

Mrs. W. H. Robson still survives her husband, and is living with her younger children in the Robson homestead in this city. She is one of the esteemed ladies of the city, gracious, kind and benignant of character, and a model mother to her family. She was born in Pennsylvania, and was married at Altona, Illinois. She is the mother of ten children, as follows: Robert H., William E., Frank H., Harry E., Albert G., Miss Jean, Mrs. Lottie Spence, Miss Mabel, Miss Bessie and Roy.

Mr. Albert G. Robson passed most of his youth in Coffey county, where he received his education in the public schools, finishing at the Burlington high school. He prepared himself for the profession of engineer, being a student, both in theory and in practice, under his father. He also took a correspondence course at the well known International School at Scranton, Pennsylvania. He did a great deal of mine and land surveying, and after coming to Pittsburg with his father advanced into such favor as an engineer noted for his competency and skill, that he was honored with two important offices. He was elected county surveyor on the Republican ticket in 1902, and is still the incumbent, and on May 1, 1901, was appointed to his present position of city engineer, which is a very important office in a rapidly growing city like Pittsburg. He was also a member of the city board of education for four years, being president of the body for one year. Mr. Robson is unmarried, and makes his home with his mother.