George Avery Robinson1

#627, (1878 - 1965)
FatherCharles Bonnycastle Robinson1 (1853 - 1928)
MotherHelen Blasdell Avery1 (1855 - 1943)
Relationship2nd great-grandson of John Bonnycastle
Charts5 Generations of Descendants of Charles Bonnycastle (1796-1840)


Mary Grace Chess (1878 - 1964)

Life Events

CalledGeorge Avery Robinson went by the name of Avery.2 
BirthHe was born on 21 Jan 1878 in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.
He was noted to be the son of Charles Bonnycastle Robinson & Helena Avery.2,1 
BaptismHe was baptized on 9 Jun 1878 in St Paul's Episcopal Church, Louisville, Kentucky.1 
(with Parents) 1880 CensusGeo A Robinson appeared on the 1880 Federal Census of 309 Broadway South Side, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, with his parents. He was 3 years old and born in Kentucky.3 
EducationHe was educated at Flexner's School in Louisville, then attended Harvard, leaving in his Sophomore year.2 
(with Parents) 1900 CensusAvery G Robinson appeared on the 1900 Federal Census of Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky with his parents. He was 22, born in June 1878 in Kentucky, and was a Woolen Mills account manager.4 
MarriageHe married Mary Grace Chess, daughter of William Edward Chess and Amelia Carley, on 18 Mar 1907 in Louisville.
According to his obituary, Mary's father was the founder of the Chess-Wyman Company, the largest cooperage manufacturers in the world.
Mr & Mrs Robinson spent four months in France, Italy, Switzerland, and England on their wedding trip.2 
1910 CensusAvery and Grace Robinson appeared on the 1910 Federal Census of Harrod's Creek Precinct, Jefferson County, Kentucky, at River Road. Avery Robinson was 32, married for 3 years, born in Kentucky, parents born Kentucky, and works for a cotton mill. Grace was 31, has had one child, still living, was born in Kentucky, father born Indiana, mother Ohio. They had one daughter, Grace Carley, age 11 months. They were all in the household of Grace's father William E Chess, a cooper. There were also three maids and a chauffeur.5 
BiographyIn a biography submitted in 1910 for the secretary's report of the class of 1900 Avery wrote, "After leaving college I entered the office of John Bacon Hutchings, architect, and was with him for eighteen months, when I became general manager of the Bluegrass Woolen Mills in this city. I left them in 1904 and formed a partnership with Charles T. Wolfe for the sale of steel products and cordage under the firm name of the Louisville Selling Company. On March 23, 1909, we incorporated the Puritan Cordage Mills, which has been in operation since August, 1909."2 
MilitaryGeorge Avery Robinson was a captain, F.A., A.E.F., in the World War.6 
Note.In 1917, the Robinsons took over William E Chess' home, Boxhill, in Glenview, Kentucky. They sold it in 1923. The Georgian Revival house is on the National Register of Historic Places.7 
1920 CensusAvery and Grace C Robinson appeared on the 1920 Federal Census of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, California, at 216 East Mission Street, enumerated 16 Jan 1920. Avery was 41, born in Kentucky, and was an employer at a Cooperage Manufactury. Grace was 41, born in Kentucky, father born in Indiana and mother in Ohio. Their daughter Grace Carley was living with them, along with Grace's widowed father William E Chess. They rented their home and had a German cook with them.8 
Item. Avery Robinson was a composer who worked with singers such as Roland Hayes and Paul Robeson. This sheet music cover of a jazz version of Water Boy was found on his Wikipedia entry.
Avery Robinson
Sheet music 1922
Passenger List In the 1920s, there are numerous sightings of Avery, Grace, and their daughter Carley traveling between England and Montreal or New York. During this period, they gave their residence as England. Grace's elderly father and their maid Annie Plamp traveled with them. Avery's occupation on various lists was musical composer (1921, 22), director (1925), retired (1929).
In 1933 Richard & Carley Hawkins of Heath Farm, Walton Heath, Surrey visited the US. Richard was an author.9 
(Mentioned) ObituaryHe was mentioned in Charles Bonnycastle Robinson's 1928 obituary as son Avery.10 
1940 CensusAvery and Grace Chess Robinson appeared on the 1940 Federal Census of Manhattan, New York, at East 80th Street. They rented their home for $175 and had lived in New York in 1935 as well. They had a housekeeper from Kentucky who worked 68 hours the previous week and earned $840 annually. Avery was 62, had 3 years of college education, and was born in Kentucky. Grace was 61, had 4 years of high school, and was born in Kentucky. They were both executives in the Cosmetics industry - Grace an employer and Avery an employee. Each earned $5000 and had income from other sources.
The next household enumerated was that of their divorced daughter Carley Hawkins and her son Stephen.11 
DeathGeorge died in May 1965.12
ObituaryHis obituary was published on 12 May 1965.

Avery Robinson
Composer, Formerly Lived in Area
New Lebanon, NY -- Avery Robinson, composer of "Water Boy" and other songs and a former resident here, died yesterday in Pittsfield, Mass.
He was born in Louisville, Ky., Jan 21, 1877. During World War I he served in the field artillery as aide de camp to Gen H P Bishop in 1917 and 1918. In the 1920s he lived with his family in London, England. He served as treasurer for the Royal Philharmonic Society, the only American to be invited to join the Philharmonic board of directors. He was presented to King George V and Queen Mary in recognition of his services.
During the 1930s he was associated with A Iselin and Co of New York City and served as an officer and a director of Mary Chess, Inc., a firm founded by his wife. he was a member of the Savage Club of London, of the St Anthony Club of New York and of the Society of the Cincinnati.
He leaves a daughter, Mrs Carley Dawson of Washington, DC, and a grandson, Stephen Hawkins of Wallingford, Conn.13
Last Edited6 May 2014


  1. Records of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Louisville, Kentucky, 1834-1978. Extracted information viewed at FamilySearch. George Avery Robinson, birth & christening, 1878.
  2. Harvard College. Class of 1900 ed. Secretary's Third Report, Rockwell & Churchill Press (1910), digitized copy viewed on Google Books, June 2009.
  3. 1880 Federal Census for United States, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, Roll T9_423, ED 128, Page 487C. Digital image viewed at
  4. 1900 Federal Census for United States, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville Ward 7, Roll T623_530, ED 66, Page 18A. Digital image viewed at
  5. Online image of the 1910 Federal Census for United States (Heritage Quest,, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Harrods Creek, Series T625, Roll 483, page 58.
  6. Frederick A. Virkus, The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy (n.p.:, 1925; reprint 1987), p.802, Robinson history.
  7. Website Wikipedia (, Boxhill (Louisville), accessed 13 April 2014.
  8. 1920 Federal Census for United States, California, Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara, Roll T625_146, ED 99, Page 16B. Digital image viewed at
  9. UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 (images viewed at Original data: The National Archives of the UK (TNA). Series BT26.
  10. databases, Historical Newspaper Database. Image from New York Times, 9 Oct 1928.
  11. 1940 Federal Census for United States, New York, New York, ED 31-1341, Page 9A. Image viewed at
  12. United States Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, viewed at "Avery Robinson, born 21 Jan 1878, last res NY, issued NY."
  13. Obituary of Avery Robinson in Berkshire Eagle [Pittsfield Massachusetts], 12 May 1965. Image viewed online at