From the 1885 History of Steuben County, Indiana

pages 435-436


Elisha S. Robison, M. D., was born in Morrow County, Ohio, Feb. 12, 1838, a son of Isaac and Nancy (Kilborn) Robison, who were slaves.  His father was liberated by an act of the State in 1817.  He purchased his wife's liberty a year later, for $500.  To them were born three children -- two daughters, deceased, and Elisha S.  The mother died in 1848, and his father afterward married Alby Lennox, and to them was born one son -- Isaac, a clerk in a bank in California.  The father died in 1862, and his wife in 1871.  She was a daughter of her master, her mother being a house servant.  Our subject was reared in a Quaker family, and was educated in their schools, not being allowed, on account of color prejudice, to attend the common schools, which his father's money helped to build.  When twenty years of age, he went to Iberia, Ohio, and the latter part of 1859 to Massilon, Ohio, where he was in the office of Dr. J. B. Bowen a short time, and then went to Kent County, Mich., and engaged in farming.  Oct. 20, 1863, he enlisted in Company G, One Hundred and Second Michigan Infantry, and served two years.  After his return home he again studied medicine and subsequently attended two courses of lectures at the Montreal Medical College.  April 9, 1876, he moved to Branch County, Mich., and Feb. 16, 1882, to Fremont, Ind.  He has built up a good practice.  He is a hard student and has acquired a thorough knowledge of medicine and its effects on the human system, and is a successful practitioner.  Dr. Robison was married in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1862, to Julia A. Sloat, a daughter of Commodore Sloat, a prominent slaveholder of North Carolina, and one of his house servants, by whom he had two children.  He became involved and was obliged to sell some of the slaves, and among them was Mrs. Robison and her mother.  They were sent to the Red River country, at that time a dreaded point.  While on the boat a colored man, named Moses Cleveland, asked the mother if she would like her liberty.  Being answered in the affirmative, he assisted her to escape.  She was put into a hack at the wharf and taken to another part of the city.  There she donned male attire and thus made her way to the North.  Mrs. Robison died in 1865.  He afterward, April 19, married Maggie M. Barker, a native of Fulton County, Ky.  They have had two children -- Pearl and Floyd, the latter deceased.


Submitted by Kim Davoli