“An architecturally intact jewel of early Rock Hill history….”
City Directories and History: 1908 – E. M. Robbins, 1913 – Lizzie Robbins (Widow of E.M.), 1922 – Mrs. Lizzie Robbins, 1936 – Same, 1938 – Same, 1959 – Margaret E. Robbins and Doris Beyer – Nurse, 130A – Brayton A. Davis, 130B – Mrs. Margaret Camp, 130C – Minnie LeGrande, 130.5 – Leonard Daluy
“Next east to the Poag house was a house that was almost a copy of the Pink Poag house. This was the residence of Mr. Pink’s brother E. E. Poag, longtime postmaster of Rock Hill. This house, like its twin next door, was rolled around to Reid Street, up the street from the other house, in 1905. It was
built in 1889. The E. M. Robbins family lived there on Reid Street in later years. Reid Street was opened in 1904 by the owner of the property, Mrs. A. Hutch White. Major Hutch White had died in 1903.” [Robbins – White Historic Tour]
The Herald reported on April 25, 1889 – “Mr. W. G. Adams has the contract to build an eight room house for E. E. Poag on Main Street., adjoining the residence of R. E. Tompkins.”
The Herald reported on Jan. 11, 1896 – “That the nomination of Mr. E.E. Poag as Rock Hill’s postmaster by President Cleveland has been announced. He has been assistant Postmaster for three years, the present postmaster, Col. Pride is a Republication and was appointed four years ago by President Harrison.”
The RH Record reported on May 28, 1908 – “E. M. Robbins and E.C. Gross of this city will open up a grocery business in the store room formerly occupied by Giles Meat Market and Alexander’s Lunch Room. Mr. Robbins has been with S.R. McManus for sometimes past. Mr. Gross is one of the engineers in the Charleston Div., of the Southern Railway and will continue in his position.”
ROBBINS FAMILY OF 130 REID STREET – by Paul M. Gettys, 2017
The Robbins family lived at 130 Reid Street for almost 80 years. Edward Matthew Robbins (c. 1862 – 1909) and his wife Elizabeth (Lizzie) Martin Robbins (1868 – 1948) first appear as a married couple in the 1900 Census, when they are living in the Catawba Township of York County and Edward is working as a farmer. Their children were Margaret E. Robbins (c. 1893 – 1984) and Edward Keith Robbins (1896 – 1963).
Little is known about Edward. Elizabeth was born in Chester County near present-day Richburg, the daughter of Joseph Martin, a Civil War veteran, and Barbara Nunnery Martin. The Martin family had arrived from Northern Ireland in 1768, and by the middle 1800s were successful farmers with a large section of land at Wylie’s Mill on Fishing Creek. Elizabeth graduated in 1887 from the Women’s College of Due West, which later merged with Erskine College. The Martins were active members of Union Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Richburg.
By 1908, the Robbins family had moved to Rock Hill, and was living at 130 Reid Street. The house they owned was originally built on East Main Street in 1889 by contractor W. G. Adams for E. E. Poag, Rock Hill’s Postmaster. In 1904, Mrs. Hutchison White developed a new street, Reid Street, on part of the White family land behind the White Home. New houses were soon being built along this street, and at least two homes were moved from Main Street to Reid Street in 1905, including the Robbins home. It is not known when the Robbins family acquired the home. For several years, the house was numbered 363 Reid Street. It is believed that this was the street number the house had carried on East Main Street. Within a few years, the number had been corrected to fit into the numbering system on Reid Street, and it became 130 Reid. In the 1908 City Directory, the family is shown in this house, and Edward was reported as working as a clerk for S. H. McManus. Samuel H. McManus and his brother J. H. McManus operated a grocery at 110 North Trade Street (at that time named Railroad Avenue and the approximate location of today’s Dave Lyle Boulevard) from around 1907 until 1910. The 1910 Census reports Edward (misnamed Edwin) working as a merchant in groceries. It is not known when the census data was gathered, but Edward had died suddenly on December 31, 1909 at the age of about 48. The census reported Lizzie and both children, along with Maude Dunlap, aged 18, an African-American servant.
*** The Rock Hill Record reported on Jan. 10, 1908 – “That Mr. E.M. Robbins who for some time held a position with S.H. McManus as salesman, has resigned and will accept a position with the Steele’s Mineral Springs Bottling works. Mr. Woods M. Steele, who is proprietor of the plant has erected a building on Black Street near the Graded School building, and will bottle all kinds of soft drinks with the celebrated Steele’s Mineral water. He hopes to begin operation Feb. 1st, he will also bottle coco cola.” (This report seems to contradict the census which stated he was still working for McManus.)
The 1913 City Directory shows “Lizzie” Robbins, widow of E. M. Robbins living in the house along with daughter Margaret, a student, and son Keith. In 1920, Margaret had started working as a stenographer in the insurance department of First Trust and Savings Bank, and Keith was no longer listed. In subsequent City Directories, Lizzie and Margaret (known to family and friends as “Maggie”) are shown living in the home. The small family was able to support themselves with Maggie’s work and by building and renting small houses to the rear of the property.
Keith graduated from Rock Hill High School and the University of North Carolina. He became a pharmacist, working in Rockingham, North Carolina in the late 1940s and later operating a drug store in Lancaster. After retirement, he returned home and lived at 130 Reid Street with his sister Maggie. He died in September 1963 at the age of 67. He never married.
Lizzie died in June 1948 at the age of 79. She joined her husband, who had died 38 years earlier, in Laurelwood Cemetery. Maggie continued to live in the home and rented rooms in the house and in the small houses on the lot. She is reported in various City Directories as working as a stenographer, bookkeeper, and clerk. By the 1930s, she was working as a stenographer at the Industrial Mill, and eventually retired from that job. She never married. She was active in First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and was a charter member of the Saturday Afternoon Book Club. Maggie died in August 1984, ending the Robbins family residence at 130 Reid Street. (Written and contributed to R&R by Paul Getty – 5.22.17)
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