Moses Robinson

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Moses Robinson
2nd Governor of Vermont Republic
In office
Lieutenant Joseph Marsh
Preceded by Thomas Chittenden
Succeeded by Thomas Chittenden
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Isaac Tichenor
Personal details
Born (1741-03-22)March 22, 1741
Hardwick, Massachusetts
Died May 26, 1813(1813-05-26) (aged 72)
Bennington, Vermont
Citizenship  United States
Political party Anti-Administration
Spouse(s) Mary Fay (1st)
Susannah Howe (2nd)
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Profession Politician, Lawyer

Moses Robinson (March 22, 1741 – May 26, 1813) was a prominent Vermont political figure who served as governor during the Vermont Republic, and helped steward Vermont's transition to U.S. statehood.


Robinson was born in Hardwick, Massachusetts where he spent his childhood. As a young man he attended Dartmouth College[1] in New Hampshire and pursued classical studies. In 1761 he moved with his family to Bennington, in what would later become Vermont. He soon became an important citizen of Bennington, serving as town clerk from 1762 to 1781. Meanwhile, he studied law and became active in the American independence movement, serving as a colonel in the Vermont militia during the early parts of the American Revolutionary War.[2] He married Mary Fay, daughter of Stephen Fay, a leader of Green Mountain Boys. They had six sons, Moses, Aaron, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, and Fay.[3] His second wife, after Mary's death, was Susanah Howe.


In 1778, when the government of Vermont was erected after Vermont had become an independent republic in 1777, Robinson became a member of the governor's council and the chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court.[4] In 1782 he was sent to the Continental Congress as a state agent to solve a boundary dispute with New York.[5] He served on the government council until 1785 and as chief justice until 1789, when he became governor of Vermont, replacing Thomas Chittenden. Robinson served as governor until 1790 shortly before Vermont was admitted as a state to the United States.

Robinson was then elected by the Vermont General Assembly to one of Vermont's two United States Senate seats. He served in the Senate for one term, from October 17, 1791 to October 15, 1796, when he resigned.[6][citation needed] He became associated with the anti-administration faction and, later in his term, with the beginnings of the Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson. After his retirement from the Senate, Robinson moved back to Bennington and practiced law. He served in the Vermont House of Representatives in 1802.


Robinson died in Bennington, and is interred at the Old Bennington Cemetery, Bennington, Bennington County, Vermont.[7] He is well known for receiving a letter from Thomas Jefferson in 1801 in which Jefferson said that if Christianity were simplified, it would be a religion friendly to liberty. Robinson was the older brother of Jonathan Robinson, who was also prominent in Vermont's political history.[8]


  1. ^ "Vermont Governor Moses Robinson". National Governors Association. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Moses Robinson". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Moses Robinson". Find A Grave. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Robinson, Moses (1741–1813)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Moses Robinson". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sen. Moses Robinson". Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Moses Robinson". Find A Grave. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Robinson, Jonathan (1756–1819)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Allen, Ira (1969) [1798]. The natural and political history of the State of Vermont, one of the United States of America. Charles E. Tuttle Company. ISBN 0-8048-0419-2. 
  • Doyle, William T. "The Vermont Political Tradition and Those Who Helped Make It." Doyle Publisher: 1987. ISBN 0-9615486-1-4.
  • Duffy, John J., et al. Vermont: An Illustrated History. American Historical Press: 2000. ISBN 1-892724-08-1.
  • Potash, P. Jeffrey, et al. Freedom and Unity: A History of Vermont. Vermont Historical Society: 2004. ISBN 0-934720-49-5.
  • Van de Water, Frederic Franklyn (1974). The Reluctant Republic: Vermont 1724–1791. The Countryman Press. ISBN 0-914378-02-3. 

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
none – first in line
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Vermont
Succeeded by
Isaac Tichenor
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Chittenden
Governor of Vermont Republic
Succeeded by
Thomas Chittenden