This article was published in the Record-Courier, probably in the 1960s. The daughter of George F Robinson, Emily Robinson, married Henry W. Riddle I. Emily was the first woman to graduate from Ravenna High School. The picture of Emily's uncle, Henry, comes from the archives of Mary Fitzgerald Riddle.
Tom, Dick, Harry Gave Portage Hospital Gift
Loris C. Troyer
In Ravenna when they were youths they were known as Tom, Dick and Harry.
Never mind that Harry’s given name was Henry He apparently bore the Harry tag to complete the legendary Tom, Dick and Harry triumvirate.
More accurately they were Richard H. M. Robinson, Thomas L. Robinson and Henry M. Robinson, whose own fame may have been lost in the luster of their prominent father and grandfather. Plus the fact that their accomplishments, some of which achieved national and international notice, did not take place in their native city of Ravenna.
Their father was George F. Robinson, noted judge who served on the Portage County Common Pleas bench longer than any of his predecessors or successors. Born in Ravenna in 1844, Judge Robinson first served as Portage County prosecutor and from 1888 until his death in 1917 was common pleas judge.
As a memorial to their parents, George F. and Mary, the three sons in the early 1930s gave the Robinson family homestead on South Chestnut Street in Ravenna and $50,000 to the county for a new hospital. Opened in 1932, the hospital (although now at a different location), still bears the family name, Robinson Memorial.
Tom, Dick and Harry were proud of their Portage County heritage and held an obvious pride in their parents, hence their hospital gift as a memorial to them.
Their Portage County roots were deep. Their grandfather, George Robinson, born in 1801, was a civil engineer. He served as assistant engineer on the Ohio Canal beginning in 1830. When that thoroughfare was completed, he became chief engineer for the building of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal which traversed east-to-west through Portage County.
After the canal's demise, he turned to railroading, serving as the first superintendent of the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad which came through Ravenna in 1851. He served in a like capacity with the Cleveland and Mahoning Valley Railroad.
The elder George was one of the partners who established the Diamond Glass Works in Ravenna in 1868 and in 1864 he became the first president of the Second National Bank, now Society Bank.
Among his seven children were three sons, all of whom served in the Civil War. George F., who would become the renowned judge, was a captain as was another brother, A.K. The third, Henry, was the first Ravenna soldier to lose his life in the war.
Judge Robinson's sons won success in fields other than the law although one son, Thomas, did practice law for a time. However, his reputation was achieved in the banking and government fields.
He was president of banks in Youngstown and New York City and he also headed a Youngstown rubber company.
He gained an international reputation when he served with the Dawes Commission which established a bank to replace Germany's Reichbank following the end of World War I in which he was decorated by three governments. Under appointment by Gov. Alfred E. Smith, he headed a commission which raised $15 million for unemployment relief in the state of New York.
Thomas ended his career with the National Recovery Administration. Illness forced his retirement in 1934 and he died in Zurich, Switzerland in 1940.
Brother Dick, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, designed two battleships, the Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The later, launched in 1915, at that time was the largest American battleship, 600 feet long and with a beam of 98 feet.
He studied ship design at the University of Glasgow after achieving national honors in mathematics competitions. Following 22 years in the Navy, Dick resigned to follow personal business pursuits.
Henry (Harry) spent most of his adult life in California where he was prominent in the banking and philanthropic fields.
Like their father, a revered jurist, and their grandfather, a pioneer engineer, Tom, Dick and Harry achieved outstanding success. And, through their generous hospital gift nearly 60 years ago, the Robinson family name lives on in respect and admiration in Portage County.