I just found this message board this morning. I'm Looking for information on the parents and early life of my great grandfather Willie/William Lee "Bill" Robinson. Robinson is his adopted surname.
The family lore as I heard it goes something like this: All he knew was that his name was "Willie Lee" (Lee, any spelling, might be a middle name or his original surname?). His sister was named Mamie. His father came over from England to presumably to New York or thereabouts find a job and home for the family, later sent for wife, son and daughter to come join him. At the time the wife and kids came over he was about age 3-5. His mother supposedly died on the ship on the way over and his father could not take care of the children on his own, so they were put on an orphan train. Willie Lee ended up getting adopted by an unknown Robinson family in Alabama while his sister Mamie got adopted by an unknown family in Kansas. All I know about the Robinson family that adopted him was that they had only daughters and treated him as a servant rather than as a family member. Whenver the family went to parties, he was made to drive the buggy and then sit outside waiting to take them home again. Willie Lee and Mamie supposedly found each other at some point, but no other details about her made it down to me.
Now for the facts that do I know about Willie Lee:
WWI Draft Registration Card - Martha, Jackson, OK as Willie Lee Robinson, b. Mar. 5, 1890, Lancashire, England; occ. farming for self in Martha, OK; married; short; med. build; blue eyes; dark hair
1920 Census - Martha Twp., Jackson, OK as W. L. Roberson, age 28, b. England, England, England; [cotton] gin engineer; rents; immigration year unknown; can R/W
1930 Census - Martha Town, Jackson, OK as Willie L. Robinson, age 39, b. England, parents b. England; cotton gin engineer; owns [should be rents?] home ($15/mo.); has radio set; can R/W; immigrated 1893; m. age 24
1940 Census - Martha Town, Jackson, OK as Will L. Robinson, age 50, b. England; cotton gin engineer; residence same in 1935; 4th grade education; owns home ($1200 value); married
Death Certificate #38869 as William Lee Robinson, b. Mar. 5, 1890, England; d. May 27, 1968, M & S Hospital Annex, Vernon, Wilbarger, Texas; usual residence: 2019 Indian St., Vernon, Wilbarger Co., TX (6 years, inside city limits, not a farm); parents names unknown; farmer; cause of death: cardiac arrest due to G-I hermorrhage shock & arteriosclerotic heart disease; removal May 29, 1968 to Martha, Jackson, OK; informant was his widow Leta Robinson [maiden name Leta Vonceil Rorex]
He was buried at Martha Cemetery in Martha, Jackson, OK.
Attached is a photo of him Sept. 2, 1951, holding my aunt Jonnie.