Dr. James Robb

in Old Burying Ground, Section L, Volume IV

Robb

Lot #45 was jointly owned by the Robb and Ward families. Today there is no sign of the wooden fence which once enclosed the lot.

Sacred to the memory of James Robb, M.D., Professor of Natural Science in the University of New Brunswick, born at Stirling, Scotland, Feb. 2, 1815, died at Fredericton, N.B., April 2, 1861.

Erected by members of the Fredericton Society of St. Andrew as a token of respect for the memory of one who long and ably filled the office of their President and who was universally esteemed as a gentleman, a scholar and a benefactor to this Province.

A St. Andrew’s Cross marks this grave.

Dr. James Robb, who joined the staff of King’s College in 1837, was the first professor of Chemistry. He had studied medicine in Edinburgh University but was more interested in Natural Science. He came to New Brunswick to accept the position of lecturer in Chemistry and Natural History in King’s College. A loved and respected teacher, Robb devoted himself to the agricultural interests of the Province. He was appointed Secretary of the Provincial Board of Agriculture when it was established in 1858. His valuable collection of species is now in the New Brunswick Museum.

Dr. Robb was a surgeon, 3rd York County Militia. He was prominent in the formation, 23 April 1847, and continuance of the Fredericton Athenaeum, a scientific and literary society of which Archdeacon Coster was president. Robb was the secretary, and prepared the astronomical material for the almanac issued by the society. In 1849 he was a chosen a member of the first Council of Fredericton. It was he who designed the city’s coat-of-arms.

Dr. Jack, Dr. Robb, and Marshal d’Avray together weathered the stormy criticism of King’s College during the 1850s, until in 1859 the Act to establish the University of New Brunswick was passed. All three are buried in this graveyard, near the grave lot of John Gregory, a foremost critic. Although James Robb and John Gregory held different views as to the necessary curricula for New Brunswick youth, when James Robb was president of the St. Andrew’s Society in 1860, the first vice-president was John Gregory.

Dr. Robb’s wife, Ellen, was a daughter of the Venerable Archdeacon Coster, and she is buried here beside her husband in an unmarked grave. Their daughter Catherine E. married John Black, a barrister of Fredericton. In 1900 when Mrs. Clarke Murray of Montreal founded the Imperial Order, Daughters of the Empire, Mrs. John Black formed the first Chapter.

Leave a Comment