Alexander and Charity Robins


Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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Good evening, folks. For the last year or so, I have been doing part time research on Third Class passengers Alexander and Charity Robins, of Yonkers, lost with the Titanic. I've found some interesting stuff (like that their bodies were eventually returned to a daughter who lived in my former neighborhood) but have never found a picture of them, or of their relative, W.H. Nancarrow, who was also lost. Does anyone out there know if one was ever published either here or in England? I'm also pondering why a couple with so much cash on hand would choose to travel Third Class (check out their enties on the recovered bodies listing) when Second (or even First) was easily within their reach.....but that's the sort of question which remains unanswerable, in most cases. Thanks, in advance, for any tips on the photographs you might send my way.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Hi James,

I was glad to read that you've been researching Alexander and Charity Robins.

I began researching them back in the 1980s, and have accumulated a large pile of "stuff." If you have access to the Yonkers Herald-Statesman on microfilm, April 17, 1912, you will find photos of both Alexander and Charity. The newspaper continued to run their photos almost every day. Alexander was a round-faced man with short hair and a slight moustache. Charity was an attractive older woman who was smiling in the photo. The Yonkers newspaper published a photo of their funeral procession in Yonkers in May of 1912.

I visited their grave several years ago at the Oakland Cemetery in Yonkers. There is a stone marking their final resting place, along with a faded inscription that they were lost together on the Titanic. I sent this photo to Phil Hind to be included on the ET so you should be seeing it soon. The couple's daughter, Annie Robins Curtin, is buried beside them, along with Annie's husband and son.

According to their descendants, Alexander and Charity were fairly well off. The couple had been thinking of returning to live their final years in their native Cornwall, England. There is speculation that their return trip on the Titanic was merely to pack up their possessions and return shortly to England after making the necessary living arrangements. Other family members concur that there was no evidence that Alexander and Charity were going back to live in England - that they were just returning from an extended visit. It is probable that they were not going to live there permanently since they had children and grandchildren in New York, and their daughter Annie suffered from health problems and needed Charity's assistance with her young children. The Robins home at 24 Garfield Street in Yonkers is still standing.

It is reasonable to assume, and the family believes also, that Alexander and Charity Robins were being economical in their decision to travel third-class on the Titanic. They could have afforded a higher class but chose to travel in third class. We will never know for sure. Family members who believe that the couple was going back to live in England defend their belief that they were going to be returning shortly and therefore needed the extra money for their return passage back.

If you have any trouble locating their photos in the Yonkers Herald-Statesman, please let me know and I will be happy to send you their pictures. If I can be of any further help, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Mike Findlay
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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Mr. Findlay: Thanks for the answer, and for the information. I am familiar with the Robins' gravesite (my family plot is in Oakland) and with their former home on Garfield Street, but never made it to the Herald Statesman microfilm as (and I know this sounds stupid) I get sidetracked by other obsessive interests every time I set out to do that and end up studying something else. I've avoided contacting the descendents because, frankly, I'm an armchair researcher when it comes to the Titanic and have no intention of publishing anything on the topic SO my talking with family members would seem (to me) to be morbid prying at worst and intrusive at best. I haven't any idea what the family's feelings concerning the tragedy are, but since they maintained silence during the whole Titanic mania a few years back I have a pretty good hunch that they value their privacy. So, thanks again for answering, and the next time I'm in Yonkers (or White Plains, which I believe is where Gannett has their archives now) I'll dig those articles out.
 
R

Robert B Burke

Guest
Gentlemen, I was very pleased to find your discussion about Alexander and Charity Robins. They were my great-grandparents. While I have little information to contribute, I may be able to gather additional information from relatives living in New York. Additionally, my mother, Frances M. (Robins) Burke has a few bits of information. I will visit her tomorrow and contribute any bits I might gather there.

What I have been told in the past by my mother and her sisters:

My great-grandfather was Alexander T, not Alexander A. Can either of you tell me how the Yonkers newspaper listed his name, and what appears on the tombstone?

My great-grandmother wanted to return to the United States aboard the Olympic (or the Olympia, I am unsure) but Alexander wanted the prestige and safety of traveling aboard the Titanic. He obviously won that argument!

My aunts tell me that Alexander and Charity were bringing most of their household possessions back to the United States, and that the possessions were in fact aboard the Titanic. Any idea if this is true?

Just a little irony - my grandfather, Alexander T Robins Jr was born aboard a ship crossing from England to the United States. His birth certificate, I am told, indicates an American birth rather than British. I do not know the name of the ship.

My grandmother, Julia (Lee) Robins (wife of Alexander Jr), told my mother and other family members that my grandfather traveled to Halifax to identify the bodies of his parents. While there, or after returning to New York, he was given the few possessions found on their bodies. I only know of one item recovered from Alexander's pockets - a British coin. The reverse had been polished flat, then inscribed with Alexander's name, "Titanic" and the date of the disaster. One of my aunts in New York carries this coin with her constantly, but very rarely shows it to any body. I was in my 40s before I even learned of it. Rumor has it that there were more such coins, but that my grandfather, Alexander Jr, lost them in a card game!

One aunt in New York has a letter from Alexander Sr. to Alexander Jr. describing their travel plans and the above mentioned argument with Charity concerning which ship to travel on.

One last bit of information you may find useful: When searching records, use both Robins and Robbins. I am the descendent of both English Protestants and Irish Catholics. At one point in time, I don't know when, someone decided that Robbins was the preferred method of spelling, though by the time my mother and her siblings were born the name Robins was in use.

A favor to ask: If either of you have pictures of my great-grandparents or their tombstone, please e-mail them to me, or let me know and I will gladly pay for reproduction and mailing costs. Also, if you have prints of the newpaper accounts concerning my great-grandparents, I would greatly appreciate copies of those as well.

Over the years my mother's family has slowly drifted apart. I understand that many of them do not keep in touch with their relatives, but I will make an honest effort to track them down to see what information (and hopefully, artifacts) any of them have. If you have any information on my relatives, would you please be so kind as to forward my name and address to them? As I learn more, I will keep you posted. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions or additional information.

Thank you.
Robert Burke
1311 E. 83rd Terrace
Kansas City, MO 64131
(913) 488-8115
[email protected]
 
Apr 9, 2012
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USA
Hello!

I am new to this forum. I am Alexander and Charity's Great Great Granddaughter. I located this thread on the old forum and I would love to get in touch with anyone who posted in the thread.


A few years ago, I went to Oakland Cemetery and I was not able to locate the grave site. I will be returning this week and would love any guidance anyone could provide with locating this plot.

I would also love any information that anyone has been able to acquire over the years.

Thank you!
 

Gianni Yrois

Member
Aug 17, 2011
57
0
56
Munich
Hello!

I am new to this forum. I am Alexander and Charity's Great Great Granddaughter. I located this thread on the old forum and I would love to get in touch with anyone who posted in the thread.


A few years ago, I went to Oakland Cemetery and I was not able to locate the grave site. I will be returning this week and would love any guidance anyone could provide with locating this plot.

I would also love any information that anyone has been able to acquire over the years.

Thank you!

Yes this tread is of Jim Kalafus, he is on facebook. You can writte him. And the other poster is Michael Findlay but i have no idea how to contaced him. I know that he had photos of the Robins and some articles about them from year 1912. But i wasnt able to contaced him, its very sad because know one has the photos of them. Maybe you can go to the Cemetery office , they can sure say you where the grave is located. But i think it would be very easy to locate because its a big gravestone, maybe you can find when you look in wich part of the cemetery the older graves located are.

i hope that you find the grave of your great great grandparents
 
Apr 9, 2012
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USA
Thank you Gianni and Sergio!

I was able to locate their grave with a little help from the bits of information I was able to obtain about the surrounding graves from this website. So thank you Encyclopedia Titanica Community!

I also spent some time in the local library and I was able to find quite a few articles about them, as well as photographs that were published in the local paper. Can anyone explain (or send me a link to) the process/policy of adding information to their profiles.

Thank you!
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
Sorry for coming in late on this thread- I'm only here sporadically now. Did you get the chance to see the residence on Garfield Street? If you turn left out of the main gates, and drive up the hill, it is perhaps two minutes south of the cemetery.

When, if ever, you return to Yonkers, check out the May 1915 newspapers. There was a spate of articles about Mr and Mrs Robins, and the estate's case against the White Star Line, concurrent to the Lusitania coverage May 1-15.
 
May 7, 2012
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Hi, my name is Grahame ROBINS Naudé and I live in South Africa. Having found Alex's name on the internet, I am trying to find out who his grandfather was to see if he may fit into my Robins tree. So far no luck. Can you help?? Cheers, Grahame
 

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