Writings of Thomas Jesse Robinson

Thomas Jesse Robinson was my grandfather. Many of my siblings and cousins have wonderful memories of sitting in Papaw’s lap and learning to read using the phonics-based reader he developed in a small-format loose-leaf notebook. Perhaps because I was younger or less disciplined or too strong-willed or just unlucky, I do not; I learned to read from Dick and Jane. My main memories of Papaw are of the ingenious popguns he made from pipe, dowels, and rubber handles. Papaw’s popguns wouldn’t last five minutes on the US consumer market today; they could put an eye out at 40 feet. But I remember spending hours in fierce popgun battles with my cousins, battles that inevitably resulted in a pattern of bruises on our skin that we proudly displayed to our friends and family.

I also remember Papaw’s sitting in a big pink chair in the corner of the living room at the house on Park Place in Montgomery where he and Mamaw lived (you’ll find Jackson Surgery Center there now). Papaw loved detective magazines and could read them for hours while a cacophony of children and grandchildren swirled about him.

Our cousin Marvin and his wife Karla recently bumped into the musty notebooks containing these Christian essays in his attic. Our best guess is that Papaw wrote them in the 1950s and early 60s. We suspect Marvin’s mother Elsie Mae (Mamaw’s and Papaw’s firstborn child) proudly saved them and then forgot she had them.

As you read these you’ll discover a well-read man of letters. I’m proud to become reacquainted with him after so many decades. I list these essays not in page-number order nor in chronological order (they’re undated, and no one remembers the chronology). Rather, I’ve tried to preserve the order Papaw himself used, thinking he must have had his reasons. That’s why “Simple Bible Essays,” styled as a preface or introduction to what Papaw may have intended to be a book, appears well down in the list rather than at the beginning. I’ve also retained his spelling of “sacrements” and “pentacost” even though we would spell them differently today. The term “Volume” is mine, not Papaw’s. His notebooks are unlabeled.

Volume 1

Volume 2

These are in a separate binder and appear along with some of Papaw’s homework assignments and typing exercises. I have elected not to scan the homework or typing exercises.

Volume 3

These are in a third notebook. Both the notebook and the paper appear to be newer and in better condition than Volumes 1 and 2.