Robinson, John H. (1827–1909)

By: Matthew K. Hamilton

Type: Biography

Published: January 9, 2013

John H. Robinson, merchant, saloon owner, banker, and Confederate military officer, was born in Fort Edward, New York, in 1827. He was one of ten children born to James H. Robinson and Maria Linendoll. Sometime in the early 1850s, John and one of his brothers, George, moved to Texas, where in 1854 they purchased 320 acres near present-day Brownwood, then part of Travis County. The two brothers purchased additional property in Austin and opened Robinson’s Billiard Saloon on Congress Avenue. George sold his interest in the saloon to John in October 1855.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Robinson did not immediately enlist for service. On September 15, 1862, in Travis County, he enlisted as a captain of Company C of the Fourteenth Battalion Texas Cavalry (also called Duff’s Battalion Partisan Rangers). In Austin, on November 22, 1862, Robinson and his unit were mustered into service in the Confederate army. On May 2, 1863, the battalion was combined with other independent companies to produce a regiment and designated the Thirty-third Texas Cavalry Regiment. This unit was attached to Gano’s and Hardeman’s Brigade, Trans-Mississippi Department, and was engaged in operations along the lower Rio Grande. In early 1865 Robinson was promoted to the rank of major when one of the unit’s officers, John T. Brackenridge, retired from service. Robinson held this rank until the end of the war. The Thirty-third Cavalry Regiment was included in the surrender by Gen. E. Kirby Smith on May 26, 1865. Robinson was paroled on July 27, 1865, in Austin.

After the war, Robinson returned to Austin, and in 1866 he and partner Phillip W. Jobe opened a saloon on Congress Avenue, but this business venture proved short-lived when on February 4, 1866, the saloon caught on fire and the walls collapsed. Yet, Robinson remained in the spirits business. In the 1880s he operated a liquor, cigar, and wines business with partner John Houghton out of a building on the corner of Eighth and Congress streets in Austin. In addition to being a liquor dealer, he also was a banker and served as a director of the American National Bank in Austin. In 1906 he dissolved his business relationships and returned to his birthplace of New York where he died in Glen Falls on August 19, 1909. He was buried in Union Cemetery in Fort Edward, New York, alongside his parents and siblings.

Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, Virginia: Derwent, 1987). Ann Johnston Dolce, “John H. Robinson: A Pioneer Austin Family, 1815–2010” (, accessed December 11, 2012. Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995).


Time Periods:

  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Matthew K. Hamilton, “Robinson, John H.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 05, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 9, 2013

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