Levi C. Robbins was born May 6, 1869 in Wayne County, Illinois, and was the son of Ephraim and Ida Clevenger Robbins. Levi married Abbie Mabel Witters on March 7, 1894 in Jefferson, Illinois, now known as Geff, Illinois.
Levi was living at Bushton, Kansas at the time of marriage but left soon after to take over a claim in the Cherokee Strip. He bought out a claim holder on a quarter section for a gold watch and $18.00 cash. This was near Manchester, Alfalfa, Oklahoma.
Five of their eight children were born on this farm in Oklahoma, they were Ephraim, Ralph, Flossie, Blanche, and Marie. Glenn was born in Comanche County, Kansas.
In March 1910, Levi and family came to Comanche County, Kansas after selling his farm for $8000.00. He bought a half-section from Harvey and Melvin Marley, a real estate brokerage type of service. This land was seven miles north of Coldwater. Levi paid $7000.00 for it and used the rest of the money for improvements.
The family stayed with Levi's sister, the J.B. Handys and the Jonas Swarners, while erecting a barn and granary combined, in which they lived in until the two story home was built that fall. Levi and the boys moved the family possessions overland by wagons. The trip from near Waldron, Kansas to Comanche County, Kansas, took four days. The woman folks came by train to Rago, and on down on the "doodle bug". The meals were prepared that first summer on a Topsy stove that was erected outside and burned cow chips. The sod was broken with a walking and sulky plow and horses.
In the winter of 1915, Levi purchased another quarter of land from Melvin Marley. Paying over four times what he had paid five years previous. All of this land was virgin sod. So it had to be broke out. Levi decided a walking plow required two horses to pull it. This was too slow, so he changed to a sulky plow with three horses. Eph broke out 80 acres when he was 14 or 15 years of age. In a day's time they averaged two acres.
Abbie was a wonderful mother, homemaker and a marvelous cook. Her only convenience was a pitcher pump in the kitchen. One of the wonderful things I seen her do was make taffy. She used a heavy iron hook on the back porch and when the syrup was cool enough to handle, she would begin pulling by throwing it over this hook and pull until it was white as snow. Her children all attended church and Sunday School.
Abbie died in the spring of 1928. Farming was always Levi's interest, even after moving to Wichita in 1930 with Marie, Ovral and Verne.
By the Family of Levi Robbins, Comanche County History, page 636, The Comanche County Historical Society, 1981.
Christine Willa (Berry) Heintz
Ralph Robbins, son of Levi & Abbie Robbins.
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