Sarah A. Boorem was born in Nazareth, Northampton County, Pa., on August 4, 1825. She was still a baby when the Boorem family moved from Nazareth to Paradise Valley in neighboring Monroe County. Sarah grew up in Paradise Township, and she and her sister Lydia (who was 19 years younger than Sarah) eventually married brothers Samuel and Sanford Robbins, and settled in the Scranton area of Lackawanna County, Pa.
Samuel and Sanford Robbins were one of at least nine children of Caleb Robbins and his wife Jemima. Caleb and family make an appearance in the 1850 census for Providence Township in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The returns show that James Robbins was the head of a 15-member extended household that included his father, brothers and sisters and their spouses and children. The children of Caleb Robbins present in the returns include, James, Samuel, George, Clarissa, Peter, Maria, Sarah, Harriet, and Sanford. Included among the children are Samuel's wife Sarah Boorem, (age 25) the first census in which she appears by name. Samuel Robbins (age 25) is listed as "mason" while Sanford Robbins was just 6 years old at the time of the returns. Apparently by 1850 none of Samuel and Sarah Boorem's four children had been born.
In the 1860 census we again find the family of Samuel and Sarah Boorem Robbins living in Providence Township in Luzerne County. By this time their first three children had born, Joseph, Uriah, and Edward. Samuel's occupation is given as "mason" and he is shown owning land valued at $100.00. Like his brother-in-law John Boorem, family member Harry Robbins tell us that Sanford Robbins served in the army during the Civil War. Sanford enlisted in the Battery H 1st Light Artillery Regiment Pennsylvania, while his brother Peter served in Co. F, 203rd Pennsylvania Infantry. I have not been able to locate Sanford in the 1860 census.
We fast forward to 1870. Old Caleb Robbins died in 1867, and by then Lydia Boorem had married Caleb's son Sanford. The census shows that the families of Samuel and Sarah Robbins and Sanford and Lydia Robbins were living together in Blakely Township in Luzerne County. By then Samuel and Sarah's last child William had been born, while Sanford and Lydia Robbins are shown as the parents of 2-year-old Clara. Samuel Robbins is listed as the head of the household, owning his home which was valued at $1,000.00. This was quite an improvement from 1860, and might be partially explained by Samuel inheriting some of his father's estate. Both Samuel and Sanford are listed as plasterers.
Samuel and Sarah's son Uriah died in 1874 and was buried in the "Stevens burial ground" in Dickson Borough. Information form the cemetery lists his cause of death as "run over by railroad cars," in what must have been a tragic and gruesome death. He was 18 years old at the time. It is assumed that youngest son William also died before reaching maturity, however sons Joseph and Edward reached maturity and went on to raise their own families. Unfortunately, I have little information about their descendants.
In 1880 Sarah died of pneumonia at age 54 and was buried next to her son Uriah in the Stevens burial ground. In 1883 the Robbins graves were moved to nearby Forest Hill Cemetery, where they rest today in lot number 356. Family members in the large plot include:
Jemima Robbins, wife of Caleb Robbins, died April 20, 1848, from childbirth. Uriah Robbins, son of Samuel & Sarah Boorem Robbins, died Feb 4, 1874. Elizabeth Robbins, died Oct 11, 1874, aged 3 years (possibly a daughter of Samuel & Sarah, or Samuel's brother Joseph Robbins.) Frank Robbins, died Jan 1875, aged 1 year, 6 mos. (possibly a daughter of Samuel & Sarah, or Samuel's brother Joseph Robbins.) Sarah Boorem Robbins, died May 6, 1880 Ella Robbins, wife of Joseph Robbins, (Samuel's brother), died June 11, 1886, age 34 years.
Sarah's inscription at Forest Hill reads as follows:
In Memory of
Sarah A. Boorem
Wife of Samuel
Aug 4, 1825
Mar 6, 1880
In the 1880 census we see the widowed Samuel Robbins living with the family of Thomas Eley in Dickson. Samuel reportedly remarried a woman Mary Eley circa 1884, and in 1900 the census shows that Samuel and Mary were living in Scranton.
Until recently little was known about Sarah Boorem and her family, but thanks to research provided by family member Harry Robbins, details of her life are once again emerging so that she can take her rightful place alongside her better-known siblings.
Below: grave marker of Sarah Boorem Robbins, Forest Hill Cemetery, Dunmore, Pa.
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Text and photographs copyright © 2003 by Jeffrey L. Thomas, with all rights reserved