Local Newspaper SoldThe paragraphs for this article appear in "History of South Dakota" by Doane Robinson, Vol. II (1904). It is available as a free download on Google Books.
RUTHERFORD H. FULTON, late postmaster at Avon, Bon Homme county, was a native of the state of Illinois, having been born on a farm in Jo Daviess county on the 2d of May, 1877, and being a son of Peter and Caroline (Whitman) Fulton, the former of whom was born in Pennsylvania and the latter in Illinois. Of their twelve children six are living at the present time. Peter Fulton was reared on the homestead farm in the old Keystone state of the Union, where he remained until he had attained the age of eighteen years, when, in 1847, he came westward to Illinois, where he was employed on various farms for a number of years, carefully conserving his resources and thus being finally able to purchase a tract of land in Joe Daviess county, where he continued to be engaged in agricultural pursuits until the time of his death, which occurred in 1897, his devoted wife passing away in the same year. They were worthy church members, and the father was a stanch Republican in his political adherency.
Rutherford H. Fulton was reared on the homestead farm and acquired his educational discipline in the public schools of Jo Daviess County. In 1896 he went to Plymouth county, Iowa, where he secured employment in the office of the Akron Register, a weekly newspaper. In the following summer he returned to Illinois, where he remained about one year, at the expiration of which, in the summer of 1897, he returned to Akron, Iowa, and purchased a half interest in the publication in the office of which he had worked the preceding year, and there he continued to be actively engaged in the newspaper business until May, 1900, when he disposed of his interests and came to South Dakota, purchasing an interest in a newspaper at Alcester, Union county, and being identified with its publication about one year. He then came to Avon and here established the Avon Clarion, whose publication he continued until the 1st of February, 1903, when he sold the plant and business to W. J. Robinson, having been appointed postmaster of the town in December, 1902. In that office he did much to improve the service and his administration met with unqualified approval while he enjoyed marked personal popularity in the village and surrounding country, his death, on July 17, 1903, being deeply regretted by all who knew him. He was a stalwart and was chairman of the Republican in politics first board of trustees of the village after its incorporation, while he served one term as justice of the peace of the village, and in 1902 was elected to the same office as a county official, but did not qualify, on account of his appointment as postmaster. He was a member of the ancient-craft body of the Masonic fraternity; of Avon Camp, No. 8536, Modern Woodmen of America, and Avon Tent, No. 61, Knights of the Maccabees.
On the 28th of September, 1898, Mr. Fulton was united in marriage to Miss Alice Myers, of Akron, Iowa. Two children have been born, Leon Ernest, born March 6, 1901, died July 10, 1901, and Ruth Hazel, born July 7, 1903.
WILLIAM J. ROBINSON. - No better index of the material prosperity and general status of any community can be found than in its newspaper press, and in this respect South Dakota is favored in having ably conducted and progressive papers in its various cities and towns, the subject of this review being the editor and publisher of the Avon Clarion, at Avon, Bon Homme County, and having made his enterprise one of successful order as representative of the interests of the attractive town and its surrounding country. He is a thorough newspaper man and the Clarion maintains a high standard of excellence from both an editorial and mechanical standpoint, being a five-column quarto and being issued on Thursday of each week.
Mr. Robinson was born in Delaware county, Iowa, on the 14th of November, 1854, being a son of James and Mary A. (Gregg) Robinson, of whose twelve children he is the eldest of the nine surviving, a brief record concerning the others being here incorporated: Margaret is the wife of Christy Bleakly, of Galva, Iowa; Dr. Thomas is a practicing physician at Gallup, New Mexico; Robert R. is a prominent capitalist and promoter of Manchester. Iowa, and served for twelve years as auditor of Delaware county, that state; Eliza is the wife of Rev. James P. Perry, a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal church; Alexander has charge of the old homestead farm, in Delaware county, Iowa; John B. is a successful ranch-man near Oakdale, Nebraska; Henry E. is a member of the Hollister Lumber Company, of Manchester, Iowa, and is manager of its yards at Elkport, Illinois; and Gregg C. is likewise a member of that company and resides in Manchester, Iowa. The parents of the subject were both born in the north of Ireland, whence they came to the United States when young, their marriage having been solemnized in the city of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1853. Immediately afterward they removed to Delaware county, Iowa, becoming pioneer settlers of that state, and there he invested his available cash in land, being able to buy only forty acres. James Robinson was a man of ability and had received excellent educational advantages for his day, having attended school in Pittsburg after coming to the United States and having been there reared in the home of his uncle, who took much interest in the young man. He had the prescience to recognize the possibilities in store for Delaware county through its agricultural development, and upon locating in Iowa in the early days he was able to secure land for about one dollar and a quarter an acre, and after securing his original tract he bent every energy to developing his property, investing every dollar which he could spare in adding to the area of his landed property and finally becoming the owner of ten quarter-sections of the best land to be found in Delaware county, and how his faith has been justified needs no further voucher than to state that the land is now worth one hundred dollars or more per acre. He is now one of the substantial and successful citizens of the county, retaining possession of all the land which he has acquired, while he still resides on the old homestead farm, being about eighty-five years of age and being one of the honored pioneers of the state. He has done much to assist his friends in a financial way and has contributed in large measure to the development and progress of Delaware County, where he is held in the highest confidence and esteem. While he has never sought political preferment he has been called upon to serve in the various local offices of trust and responsibility. He is a man of strong individuality and pronounced views and wields a marked influence in his community, while his inflexible integrity has gained to him the respect of all who know him. He is a staunch Republican in his political proclivities, and both he and his wife are consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His ancestors were prominent in the early wars in which England was involved, representatives of the family having been with Cromwell in the battle of Waterloo, having been members of the Enniskillen Dragoons, one of the regiments held in reserve to combat Napoleon's life guards, whom they defeated in a fierce conflict.
William J. Robinson, the immediate subject of this sketch, was reared on the old homestead farm in Iowa, attending school during the winter months and assisting in the work of the farm during the summer seasons. In the autumn of 1869, when fifteen years of age, he was matriculated in the Upper Iowa University at Fayette, Iowa, where he continued his studies about five years, being there graduated as a member of the class of 1875, and having received from his alma mater the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts. The year prior to and that following his graduation he was employed as a teacher in the University, having full charge of the department of mathematics, in which science he excelled. After leaving the university he taught in the public schools of Iowa until 1889, when he took charge of a small college in Tennessee, but he was not pleased with the outlook and retained the incumbency only one year, at the expiration of which he came to Bon Homme county, South Dakota, and purchased a quarter section of land, in Albion precinct, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits and stock growing until 1901, when he sold his property and purchased a quarter section in Sanborn County. In the autumn of 1902, he left the ranch and took up his abode in Avon, where he purchased the plant and business of the Clarion, which newspaper he has since conducted with marked ability and discrimination, making it one of the best county papers in the state. While residing on his ranch he devoted special attention to the livestock industry, leasing large tracts of land from the Indians and utilizing the same for the grazing grounds for his cattle. He is a man of high intellectuality and much business acumen, and the town of Avon is fortunate in having secured his interposition as editor and publisher of its local paper. In politics Mr. Robinson gives his allegiance to the Republican Party, of whose interests his paper proves an effective exponent. In the autumn of 1894 he was elected superintendent of schools of Bon Homme County, and was returned to this office as his own successor in 1896, while in 1902 he was again a candidate for the position, but through a technicality several votes cast in his favor were thrown out, giving the victory to his opponent, who was elected by a majority of only two votes. Fraternally he is identified with Avon Tent, No. 66, Knights of the Maccabees.
On the 4th of August, 1875, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Robinson to Miss Emma E. Glasner, who was a fellow student at the University of Upper Iowa, her home being in Fayette, that state, and of this union have been born four sons - William L. and Robert R., who are editors and publishers of the Tyndall Tribune, at Tyndall, this county; and Leon A. and Earl V., to whom their father will transfer the control of the Avon Clarion in the near future. On August 18, 1903, Mr. Robinson was appointed postmaster at Avon, which position he still holds.