Lieut. James Stewart ROBINSON was born March 10, 1835, in Salem township, Luzerne Co., Pa., and was educated in the common schools and Pine Grove Seminary in Centre county, Pa., and followed farming. On June 13, 1861, he enlisted in Company F, Seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves (Thirty-Sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers) as private; promoted to sergeant July 26, 1861, to sergeant-major April 1, 1862, to second lieutenant March 1, 1863, to first lieutenant July 20, 1863, mustered out with company June 16, 1864. He was wounded in the battle at Charles City Cross Roads, June 30 1862, also at Fredericksburg December 13, 1862 and was taken prisoner in the battle of the Wilderness, May 5, 1864. On the evening of July 30, 1864, less than two months after his arrival home, he went with a deputy provost-marshal to assist in arresting deserters and drafted men who failed to report, in Benton township, Columbia Co., Pa. (a locality strongly tainted with secession doctrines, a majority of the citizens having been led to believe that the Government had no business to interfere with their liberties by compelling them to take up arms against their wishes), and was shot and mortally wounded by one of a party of armed men whom they attempted to arrest, dying from the wounds November 3, 1864.
Immediately after the occurrence a body of U. S. soldiers was sent into the locality, and a number of arrests were made, principally of persons who had aided and abetted the actual participants in the affair, and taken to Fort Mifflin, where they were confined for some time; but by reason of the near close of the war, and upon recommendation of loyal citizens, they were released without trial. Those who were suspected of doing the shooting left the country at once, and others who had been evading the draft immediately reported to the proper authorities, to escape arrest. At this time it seemed impossible to fix the crime upon the guilty ones, so no arrests were made by the civil authorities, and the matter was dropped for the time. On March 16, 1891, nearly twenty-seven years after the shooting, Elias YOUNG, of Jackson township, Columbia Co., Pa, was arrested for the crime and committed to the jail in Luzerne county without bail. He was indicted for murder April 7, 1891, and arraigned for trial September 16, 1891. The trial lasted three days, and the defendant admitted having been one of the party of three who did the shooting, but denied that his gun was loaded with the kind of bullets that made the fatal wound. The jury, probably taking into consideration the long time elapsed between the crime and the arrest, also the age of the accused as well as the fact that he had been urged on and encouraged by the people of the neighborhood brought in a verdict of “not guilty.”1