|Birth: ||Sep. 25, 1903|
|Death: ||Sep. 29, 1991|
Mary Bright Robinson was the daughter of Thomas Lillard Robinson and Dora McDaniel Robinson and grew up near Grandview on her parents' farm. Her siblings were Fannie Lillard, Eleanor, and younger brothers Frank and Jerry. She married William Harold "Harold" or "Hesh" Hamilton 26 Aug. 1926 in Grandview. Both had attended teachers' college. They went to live in Highland Park, New Jersey, where they both taught until Mary quit teaching to be at home. Harold taught math in high school and also at Rutgers. They had no children, but raised two boys, Ted and John Briner, who came to the US, courtesy of Johnson & Johnson, during the Blitz in England. These boys became sons to them, and their children were Harold and Mary's grandchildren. "They made our life," were the words of Mary. In later years they lived in Fort Collins, Colorado, to be near Eleanor, Mary's sister, and her husband Hubert. Both died in Fort Collins, but are buried, as they had planned, in Belton. They left behind fond nephews and nieces as well as the Briners, who lived in the East. They were members of the Baptist Church and attended the American Baptist congregation in Fort Collins.
Mary Bright Robinson Hamilton (1903-1991) – Interview with niece, betsy collins shafer in Fort Collins 11/27/82
I didn't want to go to school where my sisters went (teacher's college, Warrensburg, Missouri). I went to Emporia State Teacher's College in Kansas. We were all sent to college for two years by Grandpa Robinson in Kansas City. I had to send an account each month. Summers I worked at the lake [summer home of her grandfather from Kansas City]—cooked and so forth—for Grandma Clara [stepgrandmother] for clothes money ($7 per week). After Sunday dinner and cleaning up I had the rest of the day off for church in the evening (Baptist, Grandview, Missouri), and I went to Sunday school. We had fried chicken and maybe angel food cake made on Saturday. Also killed and dressed a chicken on Saturday and made custard, which on Sunday the hired hand froze in the ice cream freezer.
I met Uncle Harold (William Harold Hamilton, 1900-1982) the second year of school. We ate at the same boarding house. Harold had a girlfriend, but he was dating me and she lived elsewhere, and he eventually decided to give her up, although he was serious with her. He was from Geneseo (Kansas). His father bought him a suit when he graduated from high school and said, "That's it. You're on your own." He taught two years in a rural all-grades school: walk three miles, build fire, sweep, all that. Then he went to college for three years in Emporia and graduated in '24. I taught two years in Winfield, Kansas, and he taught two years in Climax, Kansas. We were engaged, and he sent $10 every month for sterling silver, the William and Mary pattern, chosen because of the name. After two years he had paid his college expenses and had saved enough to get married. (At least we did get married.)
We were married at home in the Grandview (Missouri) Baptist Church (Mary Truman played the "Wedding March"). The reception, wedding cake, was at home in the yard. I made my own dress, which was white satin. I dyed it black (actually had it dyed) and wore it in New York for an evening gown. It was short because everyone wore short dresses, and it was sleeveless. The first night we were in the new President Hotel and the next day we were on the train to Niagara Falls. I thought it was not so great (my grandfather had a spillway on his dam at the lake). I did like the train. In New York City we had an apartment with a living room, kitchen, and bedroom. There were two other apartments along a long hall, and we shared the bath. There was one place at the end of the hall to lock the door for all of us.
I substitute taught, and Harold went to Columbia. Before Christmas I got a job in the accounting department at Lord and Taylor, but Mother came on the train (probably Grandpa Robinson sent her), so I quit my job at Christmas. In spring I got a job at Jackson Heights Long Island Country Day School, which I got to by going on the subway every morning. In June I quit that job. Harold had a summer job helping a professor at Columbia and had finished his master's and had a job for the fall in Highland Park (N.J.). So when the first salary check came (two came before work began), he quit, and we went to Grandview and Kansas. We had no car, no furniture, no assets. We put what stuff we had in a trunk and left it in New York.
I taught in Highland Park too. I was trained for grades 1-3, and I taught third grade for several years, but I fell (perhaps because of epilepsy)and slipped a disk and had to wear a brace. By 1930 we had paid off our debts and saved enough to go to Europe for seven weeks. Our address was always 232 Wayne St (Highland Park, N.J.). We rented, and the lady who owned it lived in one room and cooked there. We shared the bath, and the furniture was her furniture until we bought a used reed three-piece set for $25. When she died, we bought the house, and the second-hand man offered the daughter $60 for her furniture—so we offered $65. That furniture has been refinished by Uncle Harold since then.
We went home every summer except during the war (WWII), when gas was rationed. One summer in the 30s we went out West. The boys, Ted about age 13 and John about age 11, came from England (taken away with other children to protect them from the Blitz) in 1940. J&J (Johnson & Johnson) paid their way over and paid for their clothes (I sent in the bills) while they lived with us. In 1941 they went with us to Grandview, but Ted didn't go with us again, and he returned to England in '45, before his 18th birthday, after his junior year. John stayed two more years and finished high school; he went back in '47 and stayed until '50. Ted returned in '49 and graduated with a different class, not the one he started with. He had a ball.
Both were in the US Army, Ted serving in Europe and John in Korea. John was also in the British Army for two years. Ted met Janie at Camp Pickett near Richmond before he went overseas. She was in school in Richmond and had a year to go, while he had one to go in the army. He married Janie in '51.
John graduated in business administration from Rutgers under the GI bill (that took three years). Ted had no college. When he came home from the army and got married, he and Janie lived in a tiny bungalow, and he got into mortgage banking. He took real estate courses and other courses.
Every summer after our trip to Kansas City and Kansas we would leave and I would wave until they couldn't see me, and as soon as we were out of the driveway, I would cry.
(Early marriage: She seemed to want to tell us everyone has troubles, that they had no money and that Sunday afternoons Harold would need to study, and she would pout, or sometimes take a nickel and ride the ferry.)
Thomas Lillard Robinson (1872 - 1943)
Dora McDaniel Robinson (1869 - 1954)
William Harold Hamilton (1900 - 1982)*
Fannie Lillard Robinson Botts (1898 - 1956)*
Eleanor Jane Robinson Collins (1902 - 1999)*
Mary Bright Robinson Hamilton (1903 - 1991)
Frank Gentry Robinson (1906 - 1976)*
Jerry Vardeman Robinson (1908 - 1969)*
Created by: BetsPix
Record added: Sep 19, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 42152037
you were much loved, Aunt Mary -|
Added: Sep. 19, 2009