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North Salem 124 Years Ago: Here's to You Mrs. Robinson

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - On August 18, 1887, The New York Times , describing North Salem as “a strictly rural town,” reported a local scandal. A Mrs. Dearborn and her two children were left destitute when her husband, Oscar, a carriage-maker by profession, a temperance worker by choice, and also Superintendent of the Methodist Sunday School, absconded with Mrs. Robinson, wife of Nelson Robinson, who owned a small hotel in town.

The story actually began two years earlier, when the Dearborns arrived in North Salem and Mr. Dearborn and Mrs. Robinson, over the objections of Mrs. Dearborn and Mr. Robinson, “became very warm friends.”

Although Mrs. Robinson alleged that her husband was “intemperate and ill-treated her,” neighbors said her complaint was “injust.” Nevertheless, Mrs. Robinson packed up all her belongings and, despite pleas from her father and over the protests of Mrs. Deaborn, moved into the Dearborn cottage “as a boarder.”

Not very long afterwards, Mr. Dearborn’s and Mrs. Robinson’s trunks were conveyed by hired wagon to the Brewster Station of the New York City and Northern Railroad, bound for Washington.

Mrs. Robinson was described as “good looking and about 35 years of age.” Dearborn was “about five years her senior.”

There is no report of whatever became of the runaway couple or the deserted family, but Mr. Robinson did close his hotel and opened a butcher shop instead.

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