George W. Robinson

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For the article on the governor of Massachusetts born George Washington Robinson, see George D. Robinson.

George Washington Robinson (May 14, 1814 – February 10, 1878)[1] was the first secretary to the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was also a Danite leader and an official church recorder in the 1830s and was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Rigdonite church established in 1845.

Born in Pawlet, Vermont, Robinson was a son-in-law to prominent Latter Day Saint leader Sidney Rigdon, having married Athalia Rigdon in 1837. Robinson also became the recorder of the church in 1837.[2] On April 6, 1838, Robinson was appointed the first clerk or secretary to the church's First Presidency,[3] having previously served as the clerk and recorder of the Kirtland high council.[4] Robinson was imprisoned in Liberty Jail with Joseph Smith at Liberty, Missouri for a period of time.

In 1839, Robinson became the first postmaster in Commerce, Illinois, which was later renamed Nauvoo. Robinson was released from his recorder and secretarial duties in 1840 when he moved from Nauvoo across the Mississippi River to Iowa.

In 1842, Robinson became disaffected with the leadership of Joseph Smith. During the 1844 succession crisis, Robinson supported the leadership aspirations of his father-in-law Sidney Rigdon. In 1845, when Rigdon created a rival church to the church led by Brigham Young, Robinson was selected as a member of the Rigdonite Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In 1847, Robinson followed the advice of Rigdon and moved from Nauvoo to Friendship, New York, where in 1864 he founded the First National Bank.


  1. ^ Jessee, Dean C.; Ashurst-McGee, Mark; Jensen, Richard L., eds. (2008), "Biographical Directory", Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839, The Joseph Smith Papers, Salt Lake City: Church Historian's Press, p. 435  Also see the online version.
  2. ^ Joseph Smith (B.H. Roberts ed.) 1902. History of the Church 2:513.
  3. ^ Joseph Smith (B.H. Roberts ed.) 1902. History of the Church 3:13–14.
  4. ^ Biography of George W. Robinson, The Joseph Smith Papers (accessed January 19, 2012)