Biography of B. Frank Robinson

B. Frank Robinson is a member of an old Rhode Island family, dating back to Revolutionary times. With the exception of a few years spent during his youth in New York City and in Providence, where he was engaged in laying the foundation for his knowledge of business, he has been a lifelong resident of his native town, Wakefield. As successor of his father as the head of one of the leading grocery establishments in Wakefield, established by Mr. Robinson’s grandfather more than a century ago, and as president of the most substantial financial institution of Wakefield, which for almost a century has been headed by a member of the Robinson family, Mr. Robinson occupies a position of great prominence in Wakefield.

B. Frank Robinson was born at Wakefield, February 22, 1858, a son of the late Benjamin F. and Caroline (Rodman) Robinson. Both his parents, now deceased, were natives of Wakefield. His father was for many years and until his death, in 1900, president of the Wakefield National Bank, now known as the Wakefield Trust Company, and was also owner and head of a grocery business bearing the family name. Mr. Robinson was educated in the public schools of his native town and then went to New York City, where he worked for three years in the Hanover National Bank. The next two years he spent in Providence, where he was connected with the wholesale grocery business of Henry L. Parsons. In 1882 he returned to Wakefield and became identified with the Robinson Grocery Store and with the Wakefield Trust Company, of which latter he became at that time a director. When his father died, in 1900, Mr. Robinson succeeded him both as head of the Robinson Grocery Store and as president of the Wakefield Trust Company, positions which he has continued to hold since then and which he has always filled with much ability and conscientiousness.

The Robinson Grocery Store, one of the oldest business establishments of Wakefield, was established there in 1821 by Mr. Robinson’s grandfather, Sylvester Robinson, and has been directed and owned since then by three successive generations of the family. Today it is the oldest grocery store in Rhode Island that has been controlled and operated continuously by one and the same family. Very similar in continuity is Mr. Robinson’s connection with the Wakefield Trust Company This bank, one of the most substantial and successful in this section of Rhode Island, was founded at Wakefield under the name of the Wakefield National Bank in 1834 and was organized by Mr. Robinson’s grandfather, Sylvester Robinson, and by several other leading business men of Wakefield. Sylvester Robinson was its first president, so that the presidency of this well-known financial institution has been held consecutively by grandfather, father, and son for a period of ninety-five years.

Mr. Robinson is also a member of the board of directors of the Narragansett Pier Railroad Company and of the Sons of the American Revolution. In politics he is a supporter of the Republican party, in the work of which he has taken an active part. For eight years he served as a member of the Rhode Island State Senate, for one year as chairman of the board of assessors of Wakefield, and since 1909 he has been a member of the Rhode Island State Board of public roads. His religious affiliation is with the Protestant Episcopal Church. He is fond of outdoor life and sports and especially of hunting and fishing.

Mr. Robinson is not married and makes his home in Wakefield.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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