Ira Ellsworth Robinson (1869-1951)

Source: Bench and Bar of West Virginia
edited by Geo. W. Atkinson, LL.B., LL.D., of the West Virginia Bar
Virginian Law Book Company, Charleston, W. Va., 1919
Pages 90-91

Judge Ira Ellsworth Robinson

Photograph - Ira Ellsworth RobinsonJudge Robinson descended from a family of pioneers who at an early period settled in the Tygart's Valley portion of Western Virginia, and opened up and developed that rich and attractive stretch of country. His parents were William and Mary (Sayre) Robinson, whose home was in Taylor County, West Virginia, not far from Grafton, its seat of justice. There the distinguished son first saw the light, September 16, 1869. In youth he rendered industrious service on the farm, which is greatly to his credit. His early years were spent in the common schools of that section. Later he entered the State Normal School at Fairmont, where he received a thorough academic training, and graduated with honors in the class of 1889. Having made up his mind to oecome a lawyer, he at once entered upon preparation for the profession, and spared no pains to make his training thorough. In 1890 he was a student under the eminent John B. Minor at the University of Virginia. Ho was admitted to the Bar in 1891 and promptly entered upon the practice, at Grafton, with that earnestness and vigor peculiar to his subsequent years of earnest, active service as a lawyer and a judge. From the very beginning he started in to win, and it cannot be questioned that he won out grandly. He was a student and an untiring worker, and never failed to go down to the bottom of all his important cases. These habits enabled him to forge to the front of the Bars in the counties where he engaged in the profession of a lawyer.

Although he was never, per se, a politician, he, as a Republican, for four years held the office of Prosecuting Attorney of Taylor County, and was a good one. There was no compromise or half-way business in his make up; every violator had to come into court and answer. Not even a drop or timid or swash-buckler blood ever coursed through his veins. This is one of the main reasons why he steadily reached towards the top of his profession with sure and steady steps.

Later on he was chosen as a candidate for State Senator, was elected, and served with distinguished ability, satisfying his associates in the Senate, and the people at large, that he was an able legislator. His footprints are noticable in the legislation of that period.

In October, 1907, one of the justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia having retired, Judge Robinson was appointed to fill the vacancy, because of his marked qualities in the law and his possession of a singular judicial turn of mind. At the general election in 1908 he was elected by the people of the State to continue in the place to which he had been appointed. Although only thirty-eight years of age when he assumed the Bench, he soon demonstrated the wisdom of the Governor in selecting him for that high honor. His first written opinion exemplified a correct conception of justice, as well as a fine literary style. His rhetoric has not been surpassed by any of our justices in the history of the court. He developed an unconscious judicial fitness, and possessed the judicial temperament in a high degree, and was just and conscientious in all his judicial acts. His every act showed him to be incorruptible. In all relations, in his family-life, at the Bar, and in his friendships, he has been loyal and true.

He is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has twice been elected to its General Conference, in which great deliberative body he wielded large influence. He married Miss Ada Sinsel, of Grafton, in 1892, and to her he has always given credit for inspiration leading him to success.

October 26, 1915, after eight years of devoted service on the Bench, Judge Robinson resigned his seat on the Supreme Court. In 1916 he was nominated by the Republican Party as its candidate for Governor of West Virginia, but in the November election of that year went down to defeat with the candidacy of another able man from the Bench, Mr. Justice Hughes. He immediately returned to his profession and has exhibited again his old time qualities as a lawyer, matured by judicial experience.

Judge Robinson is a real devotee of the law. He is a lecturer in the College of Law of the West Virginia University, lending great leadership to the young man in his preparation. He is widely known by his contributions to legal periodicals.

Additional Information

Find A Grave Memorial - Judge Ira Ellsworth Robinson

Full-name: Ira Ellsworth Robinson
Birth Date/Place: Sept. 16, 1869, WV
Death Date/Place: Oct 28, 1951, Philippi, Barbour County, WV
Usual-Occupation: Lawyer
Son-of: William Robinson & Mary Sayre
Informant: Mrs. Loretta Robinson
Cause-of-death: Coronary Occlusion with Myocardial Infarction
Burial-Place: Bluemont Cemetery


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