John Robertson, 1861 - 1887
Mr. Robertson was born in Banffshire, Scotland, January 2, 1814, and educated at one of the best schools in that section of country. He preferred a military profession, and desired to enter the British army but was opposed in this by his uncle, the late Sir John Forbes, of' London, through whose influence he expected to obtain a commission.
In place of a position in the army, his uncle secured for him an appointment in the General Post Office in Edinburgh, and in 1829 he entered that Office. Disappointed at not getting into the army, and disliking the confinement of that office, he left it in 1833.
Making up his mind fully for a military, life, he concluded to immigrate to the United States and enter the army. Arriving at Montreal, he started on foot for the nearest American rendezvous, which he reached at Burlington, Vermont, where, on the 2nd of July, 1833, he entered as a private in the United States Army.
In the spring of 1834 he was sent to the 5th United States Infantry, stationed at Fort Howard, Green Bay, then in Wisconsin Territory. Soon after joining the regiment he was appointed a non-commissioned officer, and served the most part of six years as Quartermaster-Sergeant and Sergeant-Major of' the regiment. After his term of' service expired, he was engaged in the Quartermaster and Commissary Departments at Prairie du Chien, and went with the regiment from that post to Detroit in 1840.
Soon after arriving at Detroit he was employed by Brady & Trowbridge, merchants of' that city, and a few years afterwards went with one of' the partners to Mexico, and engaged in mercantile business connected with the United States army, and remained there about eighteen months. Returning to Detroit, be rejoined Mr. Trowbridge, and a few years later became his partner, the two doing business as commission merchants, under the firm of' C. A. Trowbridge & Co.
In March, 1861, he was appointed by Governor Blair, Adjutant-General of the State, serving in that capacity throughout the war of the Rebellion, and held the office until 1887. To his zeal and energy is due the history of the "Flags of Michigan," the "Roll of Honor," deposited in the state library, "Michigan in the War," and other works. To his efficiency and zeal the state of Michigan is greatly indebted, especially from 1861 to 1865.