Gilbert Robertson, Jr.
Gilbert Robertson, Jr.

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

GILBERT ROBERTSON, JR. was born in the town of Argyle, Washington Co., N. Y., in the year 1815. His grandfather, William Robertson, was born in Scotland in 1752, emigrated to this country in 1772, married Mary Livingston, of Greenwich, in 1775; purchased a large tract of land in Washington County, and died there in 1823. His father was Gilbert Robertson of the preceding, and his mother was Elisabeth Dow, who was born in Scotland, and came to this country in 1802.

Judge Robertson, after attending the common schools, prepared for college at the Cambridge Academy, of Cambridge, Washington Co., N. Y., and at the academy in Herkimer, in the county of Herkimer, in charge of Dr. Chanel, then a celebrated teacher. He entered Union College in 1833 and was graduated in 1837. After leaving college he taught school in Columbia County two years. In 1839 he entered the law-office of Messrs. Cady & Fairchild in Salem, and continued with them until November, 1840, when he came to Troy and entered the law-office of Messrs. Hayner & Gould. He was admitted in the bar in 1843, commenced the practice of the law with the late Judge McConihe, and has continued the practice ever since. In 1843 he was elected a trustee of the public schools, and continued on the board three years. While in the schooI board, before the present public-school system was adopted, Judge Robertson took great interest in the schools, originated many important reforms in the system, and mainly through his influence the amount of public money's appropriated to schools was doubled. This greatly stimulated the interest in the schools of the city, and paved the way for the adoption of the present system. Judge Robertson also took great interest in the Troy Young Men's Association, and held the important offices of president and corresponding secretary therein. He was appointed by the Governor of the State a justice of the Justices' Court of Troyin 1847. In 1848, the office having become elective, he was elected to the same office, which he held for five years, and for four years of that time was also police justice. By virtue of this office he was a member of the common council of Troy, and took an active part in all important matters brought before that body.

In 1859 he was elected county judge of Rensselaer County, and was re-elected in 1863. While holding the office of judge he was distinguished for his ability and his strict impartiality. Although an active party man, he never was known to allow his party feeling to influence his judicial conduct.

On the 29th of December, 1869, he was appointed United Slates assessor of internal revenue, for the Fifteenth District of New York, by President Grant.

In 1873, he was appointed postmaster of Troy by President Grant, and was reappointed in 1877, which office he still holds.

During his incumbency he has spared no pains to make the post-office acceptable to the people of Troy, introducing many improvements therein, and giving greatly-increased facilities to its patrons. Of a truth almost every business firm and prominent citizen of Troy, irrespective of party, signed the petition for his reappointment, so great was the public confidence in him.

Judge Robertson was originally a Whig, and on the formation of the Republican party ardently espoused its cause. On the organization of the party, in 1856, he was elected chairman of the Republican county committee of Rensselaer County, and was continued in that position, with the exception of one year, for twenty years continuously. He was also a member of the State committee, and a member of its executive committee for three years.

In politics Judge Robertson was born to rule. His influence in his own party in Rensselaer County, it is not too much to say, has from the beginning of his political career been paramount. This commanding influence is also strongly felt in State political circles.

Of Judge Robertson it can be said more emphatically than of most men that he has discharged the duties of every office and station he has held to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. In the year 1852, Judge Robertson married Miss Angeline, daughter of Dr. Joseph Daggett, of Troy. They have three children, Gilbert Daggett, Mary Elizabeth, and John Livingston.

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