Fred Robinson

Fred Robinson, date unknown.

Fred Robinson, date unknown.

Dates: b. Yorkshire, England, October 1852 d. Revelstoke, 27 November 1917

Cemetery Location: Block C, Row 8, Plot 33


Revelstoke lumber industry pioneer Fred Robinson was originally from Ontario’s Lake Simcoe County, his family immigrating to Canada from England in 1859. In 1871 Fred married Eliza C. Sheppard of Toronto, and they had three children (one child dying in infancy) before she died in 1876. In 1885, Fred married his second wife, Julia O. Moore, who gave birth to another three children.

After establishing a successful sawmill operation at Beavermouth, British Columbia in the 1880s, Fred sold his interest in the company and returned to Toronto in 1891. In December 1896, Fred moved to Revelstoke to take over the sawmill company owned by his brother, Dan, renaming the business “Fred Robinson Lumber Co.”

Fred expanded the operation with the purchase of Kootenay Lumber Company’s mill at Comaplix on the northeast arm of the upper Arrow Lakes. He obtained the timber rights between Comaplix and Camborne, and the company also owned two small steamers, the ‘Archer’ and the ‘Lardeau’. In November 1901, Fred Robinson Lumber Co. received an order for 2.5 million feet of logs for the Canadian Pacific Railway and the company could barely keep up with demand.  In July 1903, Fred sold the business to the Bowman Lumber Co. of Minneapolis.

When the mill in town burned down in 1910, it was probably one of the most spectacular fires in Revelstoke history, and threw a large number of men out of employment.  People as far away as Mackenzie Avenue spent the night soaking their roofs with water from garden hoses to extinguish the flying sparks.

Having contributed greatly to the development of Revelstoke, Fred died on 27 November 1917, at the age of 65. His obituary states:

"He was a man of wide friendship and genial mind, clever and progressive, ever ready to seize new opportunities offered in a new land”.
Robinson lumber mill, Revelstoke.

Robinson lumber mill, Revelstoke.