W.L. (William Lithgow) Robson [ 1848 - 1927 ]

William Robson, according to the 1904 Souvenir arrived in Fenelon Falls “40 years ago”, i.e. 18641. He set up shop selling groceries around 1873. William L.’s shop was among nine others that were destroyed by fire in March 1876 [CP 31 March 1876; 2], but he was back up in business the following month [CP 21 April 1876; 3]. William and Thomas Robson, his brother, appear to have entered into a partnership around this time as the firm was hereafter known as Robson & Robson, but the grocery store was again burned in March 1877 [CP 16 March 1877; 3].

Some sources suggest that the brothers were also doing foundry work as well as dealing in groceries, so it was not a surprise, after two fires within a year, that in June a decision was made to abandon groceries and purchase the Cameron Lake Foundry from William Hamilton [CP 15 June 1877; 3]. As its name states, the foundry was located “on Cameron Lake [west] of the Anglican parsonage [CP 22 May 1874; 1]. By 1879 the business was well established, and producing a “large number of really excellent machines”. The partnership of Robson & Robson was dissolved on February 24th, 1882, when William sold his share of the business to Robert Cecil Allan [FFG 4 March 1882; 2]; the firm was afterwards known at Robson & Allen. William appears to have been “engaged in the service” of McDougall1 & Brandon [FFG 11 Nov 1882; 2] for about two years. In December 1884 the papers announced that “Messrs. W.L. Robson and Johnston Brandon have bought the stock and good will of Mr. John A. Ellis’s grocery business. … They are both will known to the residents of Fenelon Falls, and have both been in business here…” [FFG 27 Dec 1884; 2]. They took possession on New Years Day [FFG 3 Jan 1885; 2] and became known as Brandon & Robson. The partnership was dissolved three years later; “Mr. Robson we believe, is taking the position of book-keeper for the firm of Thompson & Ellis [CP 11 Nov 1887; 1]. In 1891 William was listed in the Census as a book-keeper.

By 1894 W.L. was back in retail; “Mr. Wm. L. Robson will in a few days open a stock of groceries and boots and shoes in one of Mr. Wm. McArthur’s now empty stores…[FFG 30 March 1894; 4]. The store was listed in local directories until about 1910. According to Monty Robson the store continued in operation under the name “Robson & Son” until 1913 or thereabouts. W.L. Robson died November 28th, 1927 and was buried in the Fenelon Falls Cemetery in a McDougall family plot.

658 Variant initials: 1895 Ontario Directory listed as W.T.

659 “W.L. Robson came to Fenelon Falls 40 years ago and has been engaged in the grocery business here for some years. He is Town Treasurer, and has served on both Council and School Board.” [Souvenir [1904]).

660 W.L. Robson married Mary McDougall at some point.

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