Born in New Jersey, Robert, known as R.B. was a large man with a muscular physique, a strong intellect and intense will power. He spent his early adulthood trying out different careers, learning the cooper’s trade and also spending some time as a boatman. During the time when he was raising a large family in New York he was also amassing valuable farm and timber land in New York, Illinois and Iowa.              

In 1859, after his wife's death and with his children all established with their own families, R.B. came to Hillsdale County. Although his wealth was substantial, R.B. wasn't ready for retirement. Energetic, enterprising and ambitious, within a year he began to invest in real estate in the rapidly growing county and married Anna Wragg, who was 47 years his junior. They had one son, Robert. 

R.B.'s purchases in Hillsdale included the land that was later known as Mrs. Stock’s Park, plus 78 acres that included Cold Springs Park. He even managed to pump water from Cold Springs Park to his residence to supply a fountain in his yard. R.B. contributed to the growth of HIllsdale by building commercial buildings, which included the first public hall in the city on South Howell Street. R.B. owned the area between Bacon and Waldron Streets and also built his house there, on what became known as the Sutton Block.  

 

JoAnne P. Miller