Gov. Moses Robinson was born 16 October 1743 in Hardwick, Worcester County, Massachusetts to Samuel Robinson (1707-1767) and Marcy Leonard (1714-1793) and died 12 February 1801 Bennington, Bennington County, Vermont of unspecified causes. He married Mary Fay (1743-1801) 1763 in Hardwick, Worcester County, Massachusetts.

Moses Robinson was a prominent Vermont political figure who served as governor during the Vermont Republic, and helped steward Vermont's transition to U.S. statehood.

Son of Samuel Robinson, Sr., one of Vermont’s first white settlers. Brother of Samuel Robinson, Jr., Revolutionary war officer and Vermont political leader. Brother of US Senator Jonathan Robinson. Grandfather of Vermont Governor John S. Robinson.


Early Childhood

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.

Move to Vermont

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.

Revolutionary War Colonel

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. Member, Vermont Council of Safety. Colonel, Militia, Revolutionary War. Led his regiment in evacuation of Mount Independence.

Vermont Republic

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. 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.

Member, Governor’s Council 1778-85. Vermont Chief Justice, 1778-81. Vermont Agent to Continental Congress, empowered to negotiate resolution to jurisdictional dispute with New York State, 1782. Vermont Chief Justice, 1782-89. Officiated at wedding of Ethan Allen and Frances Buchanan. Confidential advisor to Chittenden-Allen faction in Haldimand negotiations. Governor, 1789-90.

US Senator

Gravestone of Gov Moses Robinson

Upon admission of Vermont to Union was elected to US Senate, serving 1791-96. Opponent of Jay Treaty, supporter of French Revolution. Vermont House, 1802. Resumed law practice in Bennington.

Robinson died in Bennington, and is interred at the Old Bennington Cemetery, Bennington, Bennington County, Vermont.

Jefferson Letter

He is well known for receiving a letter from Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 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 (1756-1819), who was also prominent in Vermont's political history.

Marriage & Family

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. His second wife, after Mary's death, was Susanah Howe.

  1. Moses Robinson (1763-1825)
  2. Nathan Robinson (1766-1769) - died young
  3. Mary Robinson (1766-1769) - died young
  4. John Robinson (1768-) - died young
  5. Aaron Robinson (1767-)
  6. Samuel Robinson (1769-1820)
  7. Amos Robinson (1770-) - died young
  8. Nathan Robinson (1772-1812)
  9. Elijah Robinson (1774-1777)
  • Fay Robinson (1780-1815)


Offspring of Gov. Moses Robinson and Mary Fay (1743-1801)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Moses Robinson (1763-1825)
Nathan Robinson (1766-1769)
Mary Robinson (1766-1769)
John Robinson (1768-)
Aaron Robinson (1767-)
Samuel Robinson (1769-1820)
Amos Robinson (1770-)
Nathan Robinson (1772-1812)
Elijah Robinson (1774-1777)
Fay Robinson (1780-1815)



Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General