To see Mrs. Augusta Robinson walking over town from Castle Hill, which she does most everyday, where she makes her home with her daughter’s family, one would never believe she is old enough to join the Past 80 Club. But she was born May 10th, 1875 in Collierstown, the daughter of Mr. John and Mrs. Wilhelmina Robinson.
There were 6 children in her family, 3 boys and 3 girls, and she is the lone survivor. Mrs. Robinson says all of her education was received in the Maple Grove, one room, log school located in the Entsminger hollow near where the New Hope Baptist church now stands. Her first teacher was Mrs. John L. Pain and is remembered by Mrs. Robinson as a very kind person.
On one occasion there was a hole between the logs in the ante-room, which was used as a clothes closet, and some of the boys pushed a plank through which they were using as a seesaw. Mrs.Pain said “Children, what will people passing by think?” That was all that was necessary; the plank came out.
Her second and third teachers were Mr. Ed Harrington and Miss Margaret Ayers. Schoolmates she recalled were Miss Drewry Entsminger, Mrs. Emma Conner, Mrs. Rebecca Nicholson, Rucker, Oak, Carter, Minnie and Maude Entsminger and the John Entsminger family.
In those days children didn’t get to Sunday school until they were good size because most people had to walk. But Mrs. Robinson said the catechism was always taught in the home. Her early Sunday school days were at the Rough and Ready school House which was on the turnpike going over North Mountain. It was some walk from her home, but she thoroughly enjoyed it, with the crowd composed of: her family of 6, 4 boys and 4 girls from the John Entsminger family, 3 girls from the Clinton Entsminger family and Miss Emma Hayslett.
They traveled across the hill, over fences, across the creek, through a muddy lane. The one great occasion in Mrs. Robinson’s life was when she was converted. Rev. E. C. Root conducted a revival at the Rough and Ready school and she was one of the 18 converts, who were baptized in the creek in front of Mr. Bill Knick’s house, which is now owned by the Supervisor Herbert Chittum. Of this group there are only three living; Mrs. Drewery Entsminger, Mrs. Emma Conner, and Mrs. Robinson.
When the New Hope Baptist church was built Mrs. Robinson moved her membership there, where it has remained through the years, even though she attends the Baptist church here in town most of the time.
Mrs. Gussie says she can remember when her mother cooked on the fireplace and later when they bought their first cooking stove. Like every other girl of that day she learned to cook but much preferred working in the corn fields with her brothers. Of course there were not as many different means of entertainment as we have today but the youngsters got together on different occasions.
What she enjoyed most was the taffy pulling which always followed molasses making from the sugar cane her father raised. Laughing, Mrs. Robinson said, “the children of today raise cane—but of a different kind.”
Another annual affair was in the fall when the young people of the community gathered in the home of Mrs. P. I. Huffman to help her and her two daughters—May, who later became the wife of Dr. H. R. Coleman, Sr.—and Lucille, who married Ernest Armstrong. As a reward Mrs. Huffman always treated them to hot apple pie, honey, preserves and hot biscuits.
At the age of 14 Mrs. Robinson became interested in boys. Jordan Entsminger was her special friend, and she said they courted for 7 years, going places together with the crowd. But, finally they were married on November 20, 1894 by Rev. E. T. Mason, Sr., in her home. Their attendants were Cynthia and Eliza Entsminger and Sam and Emmett Robinson. Her wedding dress was of a tan worsted material, Basque waist, high collar, long sleeves, and the skirt touched the floor. Her matching felt hat was trimmed in darker tan ribbon.
They started housekeeping two weeks later at Long Dale mines, where they lived for 13 months. To this union there was one daughter, Mrs. Gilmore Reid. Mrs. Robinson now has 3 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
In spite of her 80 years she is planning ahead just like a young person. She says she expects to go dewberry picking this summer and wants to pick enough to can 8 quarts and some for jelly and preserves like she did last summer.
When asked what she attributed her long life to, Mrs. Robinson said she didn’t know, but she thanked God for giving her good health through the years. If you don’t know Mrs. Robinson it would be worth your while to meet her and learn how she lives—always in a good humor and ever ready with something worth while to talk about.
Lexington [VA] Gazette, June 1, 1955, “Past 80 Club”
online at http://files.usgwarchives.net/va/rockbridge/newspapers/pst80clb.txt