Orlando "Rube" Robbins

Photo of Orlando Robbins from Idaho Statesman newspaper
Photo courtesy of The Idaho Statesman 08/24/1913 Page 3

Born August 30, 1836, Phillips, Maine
Died May 1, 1908, Boise, Idaho

"The Man most responsible for bringing law and order to the Idaho Territory," is the way many of his contemporaries described Rube Robbins. Perhaps best known for his 25 years as deputy U.S. Marshal under several different marshals, he also was Boise Chief of Police and Sheriff of Ada County.

Robbins served the Idaho State Penitentiary as warden, traveling guard and was work foreman at the time of his death at age 71.

Leaving his Maine home at age 17 after a quarrel with his father, Robbins spent several years in the California gold fields before moving to Idaho after the discovery of gold in the Salmon River area. From there he moved south to the Boise Basin, and was soon appointed deputy sheriff by Sheriff Sumner Pinkham. After Pinkham was defeated in the following election, Rube went to work on John Hailey's stage line, riding "shot gun," to prevent robberies.

He became so adept at discouraging would-be robbers, and capturing stage robbers, bandits and miscellaneous unsavory characters over his long career, that William McConnell wrote of him in his Early History of Idaho: "He was feared, yet respected by every bad man and 'gun-fighter' who ever sojourned in Idaho, and it is doubtful if any officer made more arrests of that class than he."

Robbins achieved the rank of colonel in the Idaho Militia while serving as a scout during the Native American Wars of the 1870s. He was twice a member of the Idaho Legislature from Ada County. He owned a ranch where he raised cattle and race horses.

Robbins married Corilla Brassfield, a widow with four young children in 1882. She and two of her grandsons are buried beside him.

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