HARRY A. ROBLEY is a representative of one of the most prominent and honored pioneer families of Greene county, and his own personal worth entitles him to a position in the foremost rank where his father and grandfather stood.
The latter, Captain Richard Robley, was born in Swansea, New Hampshire, May 12, 1791, and was a son of Matthew and Mary (Scott) Robley, who were natives of England and became the progenitors of the family in America.
Captain Robley remained a resident of New England until the spring of 1820, when he came to Illinois and selected lands in Bluffdale township, Greene county, on which he settled, erecting a residence and other buildings in 1821. The old log cabin which he built there was known as the Buckeye cabin. A bear had been killed upon that site just before he began building, and everything was wild and unimproved, indicating on the frontier conditions of the locality.
On the 11th of August, 1814, in Vergenes, Vermont, he had married Desire Griswold, and it was to this pioneer home that he brought his wife and little family, she nobly sharing with him in all the hardships and trials of the frontier. With characteristic energy, however, Captain Robley began the development of a farm and for half a century resided upon the old homestead, making it a valuable property by reason of the excellent improvements which he placed upon it.
He won his title by serving as captain of a militia company in the Black Hawk war in 1832. He died January 3, 1879, when more than eighty-seven years of age, his birth having occurred May 12, 1791. His wife passed away July 22, 1836.
They were the parents of the following children: Henry G. married Caroline Griswold, of Carlinville, Illinois; George B. wedded Mary Jordan, of this county; Eliza A. married Thomas J. Brown and died December 29, 1834; Charles was born November 6, 1822; Emily married J. Twitchell and died in 1872; Vilroy was the next of the family; Walter S. died November 6, 1836; and Mary became the wife of T. Bruce.
Vilroy Robley was born in Greene county, Illinois, August 26, 1827, and was reared upon the home farm, assisting in its cultivation up to the time of his marriage, which occurred April 27, 1854, Miss Katherine Spencer becoming his wife. She was the only daughter of Stephen and Katherine (Walker) Spencer, natives of Vermont.
Her father was born in Bennington and was of English parentage. He was educated in the schools of his native state and was there married to Miss Katherine Walker, a daughter of Johnson Walker, one of the early residents of the Green Mountain state.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Spencer were born five children. In 1833 Mr. Spencer started by wagon for Illinois, arriving at his destination October 28. He settled at Bluffdale and in 1834 he erected a brick house on a fine tract of land, this being one of the best of the early residences of the county. He was not only a progressive and prosperous agriculturist but also a public-spirited citizen and he encouraged public education and built a schoolhouse for the use of his own and his neighbors' children.
He, too, was a veteran of the war of 1812, and he took part in the battle of Plattsburg. He was well educated for his day and was a splendid type of the New England character, sturdy and upright, well fitted to cope with pioneer conditions and taking an active part in the early development of the county. He died November 26, 1846, and his wife died September 9, 1873.
After the marriage of Vilroy Robley and Katherine Spencer he devoted his energies to farming, which he successfully conducted until his death, and he became owner of fifteen hundred acres which were in his possession at the time of his death. He figured prominently in educational circles, and his life work was crowned by a high measure of prosperity. He died in 1886, at the age of fifty-eight years, and his wife passed away the same year, at the age of fifty-four.
They were the parents of seven children: Edward V., who lives on the old homestead; Charles A., who was killed in a runaway accident when twenty-four years of age; Mary E., who died at the age of one year; Cora M., the wife of F. Baldwin; Clara E., who married John Baldwin; Lettie A., who married A. C. Baldwin; and Harry A.
Harry A. Robley was born in 1875, on his father's old homestead southwest of his present place of residence, and his youth was passed in a manner similar to that of most lads of the period. Following the acquirement of a good education in the public schools he began farming on his own account and he now owns what is known as the old A. C. Baldwin farm of one hundred and sixty acres, the greater part of which he rents. He is a breeder of the white Plymouth Rock and red Leghorn poultry, as well as the Thin Rind hogs and his sales of poultry and stock bring to him a good annual income. He uses his fine farm to the best advantage without actively engaging in the tilling of the soil, and his business interests are well managed and prove profitable.
In January, 1897, he was married to Miss Bertha Barnes, a daughter of Robert and Nannie (Cotton) Barnes. She has a brother Rob Barnes, who resides in White Hall, and a brother David, who is living in California. The year prior to his marriage Mr. Robley took up his residence upon his present farm and has resided here continuously since with the exception of the year 1898. Unto him and his wife have been born two interesting children: Elon, born October 2, 1900; and Porter, born December 21, 1902.
The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and Mr. Robley is a democrat in his political views, interested in the growth and success of his party. He is an expert marksman and takes great delight in hunting, indulging his love of the sport on frequent occasions. He is a popular, genial, young man, of social nature, and has many friends in the county where he has always made his home and where the family name has figured through more than eight decades.