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Rebecca (Rowan) Robbins
(1861-1929)

 

Indian Creek Baptist Church

Rebecca (Rowan) Robbins was born on Jan. 24, 1861 in Fayette County, PA, the daughter of Jonas and Julia Ann (Williams) Rowan.

She was married at age 16 to 19-year-old Charles L. Robbins (1861-1933), the son of William T. and Isabelle Robbins. 

They resided in Blue Knob, Blair County, circa 1902-1906. Later, they moved to Springhill, near Portage, Cambria County, PA.

Rebecca and Charles both were considered "big" boned people. He was "barrel chested" and worked in the woods, becoming quite strong. She was large and tall also.

The couple produced six known children -- James Robbins, Jessie Hazlett, Annie Julia Long, Isabella A. "Belle" Harbaugh, Richard "Herbert" Robbins and George A. Robbins. 

Charles ran a lumber business in Springhill for a quarter of a century. The Daily Courier said he "was a close student of the Bible and was able to quote many portions of it from memory." 

Suffering from bronchial pneumonia and influenza, Rebecca died at the age of 67 on Jan. 3, 1929 in Springhill. Her obituary was carried in the Johnstown Tribune. She was laid to rest at Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Blue Knob.

Charles survived her by five years, and lived alone during that time. He served as sexton of the Portage United Brethren Church. In early November 1933, he was found dead at his home, "in a kneeling posture by the side of his bed, indicating that death had come while he was engaged in prayer," said the Daily Courier. He was laid to rest in the family plot at Mt. Moriah. Their grave marker -- beginning to fade -- is seen here.

At the time of his death, Charles had 14 grandchildren.

 

~ Son James Robbins ~

Son James Robbins ( ? - ? ) is lost to history for now.

 

~ Daughter Jessie Louise ( Robbins) Hazlett ~

Daughter Jessie Louise Robbins (1884- ? ) was born in about 1884. 

At the age of 19, on Dec. 27, 1903, she wed 20-year-old Melvin R. Hazlett (1883-1917), the son of Joseph M. and Emma (Diehl) Hazlett of Blue Knob, Blair County, PA. The nuptials took place in Blue Knob, with justice of the peace Emanuel Dill officiating. At the time of marriage, Melvin was employed in brass finishing. 

They had seven known children -- Ralph James Hazlett, Blair I. Hazlett, Walter E. Hazlett, Ira Hazlett, Hilda Hazlett , Theresa Hazlett and Leona Ethel Hazlett. 

When the 1910 census was taken, the Hazletts made their home in East Pittsburgh, Wilkins Township, Allegheny County, PA. That year, Melvin was employed as a laborer in an electric works. At some point between 1910 and 1913, the family moved to Portage, Cambria County, with Melvin obtaining work as a laborer. 

Sadly, eight-month-old daughter Leona died on Oct. 3, 1913, in Portage, after an affliction of cholera, with interment in Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Blue Knob. 

Adding misery to their heartache, Melvin was stricken with an abscess of his lumbar muscles caused by tuberculosis, and was unable to recover. He died on Nov. 14, 1917 at the age of 34. His remains were placed into rest in the Prospect Cemetery in Portage. 

Widowed with a family of seven young children, Jessie made her home in Portage circa 1920 just a few doors away from her parents. In 1930, with three of her children still under her roof, she lived on West Spring Hill Road in Portage.

Son Ralph James Hazlett (1904- ? ) was born in `904. He was a coal mine laborer in 1920 and 1930 in Portage and during that time resided with his widowed mother and siblings.

Son Walter E. Hazlett (1906- ? ) was born in 1906. In 1930, at the age of 24, he lived at home and earned a living as a coal miner.

 

The Sonman Mine tipple

Son Blair I. Hazlett (1907-1956) was born on Aug. 21, 1907 in East Pittsburgh. He lived in Cresson, Cambria County, PA, where was employed as a fireman with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was married, presumably to Margaret B. (?). Their address circa 1956 was 213 Columbus Avenue. Stricken with stomach cancer which spread to the pancreas, he endured the illness for two years and died at Mercy Hospital in Altoona, Blair County, on April 10, 1956, at the age of 47. Interment was in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Cresson.

Daughter Hilda Hazlett (1916-1973) was born in about 1916. She married Melvin C. Owen (1913-1940), son of Hugh and Cora (Roberts) Owens and a native of Wilmore, PA. They had four children -- Charles Owen, Shirley Owen, Bernice Owen and Raymond Owen. The family made their home in Wilmore, where Melvin was employed as a coal miner by Koppers Coal Company and a member of the United Mine Workers union. Tragedy visited the young family on July 15, 1940, when Melvin was only 26 years of age. While at work in the north slope of the Sonman Mine, he was one of 90 men trapped in an accidental explosion of methane gas. Unable to escape, he and 62 other men either suffocated or were incinerated. The sensational news was printed in the Johnstown Tribune, which reported that he was survived by his wife and four children.  His remains were recovered and placed at rest in the Prospect Cemetery in Portage. Hilda survived her ill-fated husband by 33 years. She died in 1973.

 

~ Daughter Julia Ann (Robbins) Long ~

Daughter Annie Julia Robbins (1887- ? ) was born in 1887. 

She married James Garfield Long (1882-1957), son of Jeremiah C. and Sarah (Burger) Long. They had five children -- Wilbert Elvin "Kid" Long; Mildred Esther Long, Grace Virginia Long, Benjamin Clyde Long and Madora Jane Long, all born at Blue Knob. 

James was a longtime employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad based in the Blue Knob area. 

The Grim Reaper took away their daughter Madora at age six years, nine months on Oct. 28, 1921, due to chronic indigestion and bronchial pneumonia. Her death occurred at Johnstown's Memorial Hospital, with interment in Portage. 

James eventually retired from the Pennsy and spent his final years in Duncansville, Juniata Township, Blair County. 

Annie Julia passed away before her husband and is said to be buried at Mt. Sinai Cemetery, about a half mile from Mt. Moriah. 

Burdened with hardening of the arteries and heart disease, James died there on Christmas Eve 1957 at the age of 75. He rests at Mt. Sinai Cemetery.

 

~ Son Richard "Herbert" Robbins ~

Son Richard "Herbert" Robbins (1893-1973) was born in about 1893 in Fayette County. 

At the age of 22, on Sept. 1, 1916, he married 20-year-old Annie Echard (Feb. 15, 1896-1966), daughter of Frank and Barbara Ellen (Boland) Eckhard. Their nuptials were held at East Freedom, Blair County, by the hand of Rev. J.F. Kelley. She was a native of Blair County, PA and lived at Popular Run, PA at the time of marriage. 

They had four children -- Franklin "Frank" Robbins, Esther Robbins, Ruth A. Robbins (1923-1973) and Doris Robbins. 

The 1920 census shows this family in Portage, Cambria County, where Herbert "spelled Herberd") was a teamster hauling goods for a feed store.

The Robbinses dwelled in Portage at the address of 520 Orchard Street in the mid-1960s.

Suffering from cancer of the rectum, Annie died on Jan. 4, 1966 in Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital in Johnstown at the age of 69. Interment was in Prospect Cemetery in Portage.

Herbert died in 1973.

Son Franklin "Frank" Robbins

Daughter Esther Robbins

Daughter Ruth A. Robbins (1923-1973) was born in 1923.

Daughter Doris Robbins 

 

~ Son George Albert Robbins ~

Son George Albert Robbins (1897-1914) was born on April Fool's Day 1914. 

He was a farmboy and lived in Blue Knob, Juniata, Blair County, PA. 

Tragically, he died on May 14, 1914 at the age of 17 years, one month. He accidentally cut himself in the knee, and an infection set in, leading to deadly septicemia. Burial was in a Blue Knob cemetery. 

(An oral tradition, that George was killed when struck by lightning while driving a wagon loaded with timber, has proven to be false.)

 

Copyright 2001, 2005-2009, 2014-2015, 2018 Mark A. Miner

Robbins grave marker photo by Phillip W. Hansen. Other information graciously provided by Beverly (Murray) Domer.