John Robinson (1754 - 1826):
John Robinson was born in County Armagh, and as an orphan of little education he was indentured as a weaver's apprentice before emigrating to Virginia. He fought in the American War of Independence (he also appears to have participated in the Boston Tea Party) before settling in Lexington, working as a weaver, and a very successful one. He also was involved in horse trading (he was nicknamed "Jockey" Robinson), farming and whiskey distilling.
He had a long devotion to Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) and in 1803 made a gift of land to the College and in 1821, John "Jockey John" Robinson pledged his entire estate to Washington College. Thanks to him, the trustees were finally able to build the Center Building, which opened in 1824. The building was concevied and built in the form of a Roman temple, though with some differences such as a tall portico and a balcony on the second floor. Nonetheless, it was still considered an attractive addition to campus. Robinson was made an honorary alumnus of the College.
A monument to him in Lexington described him as "native of Ireland, a soldier of Washington and munificent benefactor of Washington College."
Henry Boley: Lexington in Old Virginia (biographical archive, Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, County Tyrone); www.wlu.edu/x51542.xml; www.bostonteapartyship.com/interactive-exhibits
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