Jonathan Robinson (American politician)

Jonathan Robinson (August 11, 1756 – November 3, 1819) was an American politician, lawyer, and judge from the state of Vermont who served as chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court and a United States senator.

Jonathan Robinson
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
October 10, 1807 – March 3, 1815
Preceded byIsrael Smith
Succeeded byIsaac Tichenor
Chief Judge of the Vermont Supreme Court
In office
Preceded byEnoch Woodbridge
Succeeded byRoyall Tyler
Judge of Probate for the Bennington district
In office
Preceded bySolomon Wright
Succeeded byDavid Fay
In office
Preceded byTimothy Follett
Succeeded byJosiah Wright
In office
Preceded byNathaniel Brush
Succeeded byTimothy Follett
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from Bennington
In office
Preceded byAaron Robinson
Succeeded byMoses Robinson
In office
Preceded byElijah Dewey
Succeeded byMoses Robinson
In office
Preceded byElijah Dewey
Succeeded byElijah Dewey
Personal details
Born(1756-08-11)August 11, 1756
Hardwick, Massachusetts
DiedNovember 3, 1819(1819-11-03) (aged 63)
Bennington, Vermont
Resting placeOld Bennington Cemetery, Bennington, Vermont
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
SpouseMary Fassett Robinson

Early lifeEdit

Robinson was born in Hardwick, Massachusetts on August 11, 1756, a son of Samuel Robinson (1707–1767) and Mercy (Leonard) Robinson (1714–1793).[1] He was raised in Hardwick, and in 1761 he moved with his family to Bennington, in what would later become Vermont but was then governed as part of New Hampshire – the New Hampshire Grants.[1] Robinson's father was an important leader in the New Hampshire Grants, and died while in England attempting to resolve a dispute over whether New Hampshire or New York had the right to grant land and town charters.

After moving to Bennington, Robinson was educated locally, then served in the militia during the American Revolution.[2] He served as a private and corporal in the company commanded by Joseph Safford, which was part of the regiment commanded by Ebenezer Walbridge.[2] Safford's company was mobilized in May 1779, November 1780, August 1781, and August 1782.[2] Robinson later went into business as the proprietor of the State Arms House tavern, which was located where the Bennington Battle Monument now stands.[3] He later decided to study law, and he was admitted to the bar in 1796.[1]


Robinson was a longtime holder of local and state office, and became identified with the Democratic-Republican Party at its founding.[4] In addition to terms as a Bennington justice of the peace and member of the board of selectmen,[5][6] among the offices in which he served were: member of the Vermont House of Representatives (1789–1796, 1797–1802, 1818–1819); Bennington town clerk (1795–1801); judge of probate for the Bennington district (1795–1798, 1800–1801, 1815–1818); and chief judge of the Vermont Supreme Court (1801–1807).[1]

In addition to his business, legal, and political careers, Robinson was also active in the Vermont Militia; in April 1787, he was appointed a major in the militia's 1st Brigade.[7] In August 1787, he was assigned as the brigade's judge advocate.[8]

In each year from 1803 to 1806, Robinson was the Democratic-Republican nominee for governor, and lost each time to Isaac Tichenor.[9] In 1807, Robinson was elected to the United States Senate, filling the unexpired term of Israel Smith, who had resigned.[1] He was elected to a full term in 1809 and served until retiring after the end of his term in 1815.[1]


In 1790, Robinson received the honorary degree of Bachelor of Science from Dartmouth College.[1] In 1803, Dartmouth awarded Robinson an honorary Master of Arts.[1]

Death and burialEdit

Robinson died on November 3, 1819 in Bennington, Vermont.[1] He is interred at the Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington.[10]


Robinson was the husband of Mary (Fassett) Robinson.[1] They were the parents of four children: Jonathan Edwards, Mary, Henry, and Isaac Tichenor.[11] Mary Robinson was the wife of Orsamus Cook Merrill.[12]

Robinson's brother Moses Robinson served as governor during the Vermont Republic as a U.S. senator.[10] Brother David Robinson was a major general in the Vermont Militia and U.S. Marshal for Vermont.[13] Brother Samuel was a colonel in the militia and served as Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives.[13]

Attempt to locate portraitEdit

Robinson is one of approximately 45 U.S. senators for whom the Senate's photo historian has no likeness.[14] Attempts to locate one have proved unsuccessful.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Brown, John Howard, ed. (1903). Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States. Vol. VI. Boston, MA: Federal Book Company. p. 513 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c Goodrich, John E. (1904). Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, 1775 to 1783. Rutland, VT: The Tuttle Company. pp. 221, 416, 606, 808 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Niles, Grace Greylock (1912). The Hoosac Valley: Its Legends and Its History. New York, NY: Knickerbocker Press. p. 224. ISBN 9781404751910 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Wilbur, La Fayette (1903). Early History of Vermont. Vol. IV. Jericho, VT: Roscoe Printing House. p. 11 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Public Warning: Local election, March 12, 1791". The Vermont Gazette. Bennington, VT. February 28, 1791. p. 5 – via
  6. ^ "Public Warning: Proprietors of Claendon". The Vermont Gazette. Bennington, VT. February 28, 1791. p. 6 – via
  7. ^ Walbridge, E. (April 30, 1787). "Brigade Orders". The Vermont Gazette. Bennington, VT. p. 3 – via
  8. ^ Robinson, Jonathan (August 20, 1787). "Meeting Notice: The Members of the General Court Martial of the First Brigade". The Vermont Gazette. Bennington, VT. p. 3 – via
  9. ^ Senning, William, Director, Elections Division (2022). "Candidate: Jonathan Robinson". Vermont Elections Database. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Secretary of State. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Joint Committee On Printing, U.S. Congress (1928). Biographical Directory of the American Congress. 1774-1927. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 1471 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Jennings, Isaac (1869). Memorials of a Century. Boston, MA: Gould and Lincoln. p. 247 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ Memorials of a Century, p. 317.
  13. ^ a b Leonard, Ermina Newton (1915). Newton Genealogy: Genealogical, Biographical, Historical. De Pere, WI: Bernard Ammidown Leonard. p. 42 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ a b U.S. Senate Photo Historian. "Senators Not Represented in Senate Historical Office Photo Collection". Washington, DC: U.S. Senate. Retrieved October 6, 2022.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic-Republican nominee for Governor of Vermont
1803, 1804, 1805,
Succeeded by
Israel Smith
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 1) from Vermont
Served alongside: Stephen R. Bradley, Dudley Chase
Succeeded by