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William John (Bill) Robinson
and Vera Vivia Watson Robinson

Water Works Wonders
A History of the White, Wilson, McMahon,
River Junction School Districts Page 413
Bill Robinson was born in Ireland in 1893. After the family emigrated to Canada in 1906, they lived for a year near Kincardine in Ontario, and then came west to Nanton, Alberta. While in Ontario, Bill helped Herb Watson in his brick laying business. Later, Bill married Herb's youngest daughter Vera in Etzikom in 1917.

The Watson and Robinson families decided to come west and homestead. Both families stayed in Nanton for two years, before venturing south to Etzikom, the homestead country.

In 1923 Bill, his wife Vera and their three children moved to a farm owned by Mart McMahon south of Wilson Siding. Crops had been very poor around Etzikom for many years and this had prompted the move. For many years Bill did not get enough returns from his homestead to pay the taxes. Rather than lose it, he paid them with money made on his farm at Wilson.

Two of the children started school at the Wilson School. This meant a ride of several miles on horseback each day. In the spring of 1927 a daughter was badly hurt while riding to school. McMahon School opened in the fall of 1927, so that meant a change of schools.

In 1928 the family moved to a farm two miles north of Wilson Siding. It was while living on this farm that the family grew up. The children now included seven children.

Bill and Vera were active members of the community. He was a member of the local school board, the U.F.A., the Lethbridge Fair Board, and the Kiwanis Club in Lethbridge. He also was a director of the Lethbridge Coaldale Beef Calf Club, and a founding member of the Alberta Wheat Pool. in 1951 Bill was awarded the Leadership Award from the Canadian Council on Boys and Girls Clubs, for fourteen years of leadership in the Lethbridge district.

For a few years after World War II he worked on the committee administering the funds for the Veterans Land Act. He was a farmer, a rancher, an involved member of his community and a family man proud of his children.

Vera was a farmer's wife raising her seven children. She too was involved in the community. She was a founding member of Wilson-White Community Club, a member of Women's Institute, U.F.W.A., Quota Club, I.O.D.E. and the Ladies of the Kiwanis. She helped with the Kiwanis Musical Festival in any position she was needed.

Bill and Vera were members of Southminster Church, and the Pemmican Club of Lethbridge. In 1945 they left the farm and moved into Lethbridge. When a son returned from the war, he took over the farm at Wilson.

We, their children can be proud of the fact that we were all given the opportunity to get a good education.

For several years after moving to Lethbridge, Bill and Vera travelled extensively. They visited Bill's old home in Ireland and relatives in Australia. They also made many trips across Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan, and Hong Kong. In 1969 Vera died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Bill died in 1981.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup