William Robinson Cain



Family Tree


Born: April 1, 1821 in Howard County, Missouri

Passed: April 9, 1893 in Falls City, Nebraska


William Robinson Cain was the third son of Robert Cane and Jane Cain nee Burnett.  He is interred next to his wife in Steele Cemetery in Falls City, Nebraska.



William’s father Robert Cain (b. April 5, 1791 in Fauquier County, Virginia, and d. September 14, 1868 in Platte County, Missouri, just north of Kansas City, Missouri) was a soldier in the War of 1812.   He was the eldest son of Bailey Cain and Katherine Cain nee Rogers.  Bailey Cain (b. 1766 in Pennsylvania and d. April 4, 1807) was of Irish ancestry.  Katherine Cain nee Rogers (b. 1770 in Fauquier County, Virginia, and d. 1824) was of Scottish ancestry.  After Robert Cain’s first wife died, he married a second time to Bettie Ann May, who was the widow of Dr. W. S. May.  The second union produced four children, Burnett, Emit, Franklin, and Henry.



William’s mother Jane Cain nee Burnett (b. 1797 in Pitts County, Virginia and d. January 3, 1849 in Platte County, Missouri) was the daughter of James John Burnett (b. 1741 in Sugar Tree, Virginia, and d. 1810) and his third wife Margaret Cain nee Robinson (b. June 1, 1750 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia and d. 1810).   James and Margaret were married on July 8, 1813 in Shelby County, Kentucky.



James Bailey Cain                               (b. 1814 and d. 1819)

John Burnett Cain                               (b. December 31, 1816 in Shelby County, KY and d. December 14, 1880)

Sarah Cain                                           (b. 1819 and d. February 4, 1822)

[William Robinson Cain]

Isaac Newton Cain                              (b. August 27, 1823 in Clay County, MO, and d. August 26, 1901 in Colusa, CA)

Glen Owen Cain                                  (b. October 22, 1825 and d. 1833)

Elizabeth Ann McGrath nee Cain       (b. December 2, 1827 in Clay County, MO, and d. June 5, 1853 in Shelby County, KY)

Mary Henry Cain                                (b. February 14, 1830 in Clay County, MO, and d. 1845 in Platte County, MO)

Thomas W. Cain                                  (b. January 7, 1834 in Clay County, MO, and d. January 17, 1854 in Colusa County, CA)





William Robinson Cain



William married Mary Cain nee Loan about March 16, 1843 in Platte County, Missouri and lived near Platte City around where his father and wife’s family had settled.   His wife Mary was born March 24, 1824 in Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky and passed away on June 28, 1899 in Falls City, Nebraska.  They had nine children, several of whom died in infancy.


In 1849, William and his brother Isaac Newton Cain were part of the California Gold Rush travelling over the Santa Fe Trail.  The book “History of Colusa County, California" records their trip as narrated by his brother.  They started west on August 9, 1849, crossing the Missouri River on the Northern route.  For protection they joined a party of about 40 others in Jackson County, Kansas, and continued west on the Santa Fe Trail.  They reached Santa Fe, New Mexico, about the last of October where they remained there 2 weeks.  They then traded their wagons for more mules on which they packed their belongings and continued west.  Departing November 12, 1849, they reached Los Angeles, California on January 8, 1850 and the Mariposa Gold fields near Yuba, California on February 9, 1850.  In the 1850 Census, Isaac Newton Cain was listed as a gold miner and William Robinson Cain was listed as a trader.  After modest success, William returned to his family in Missouri while Isaac remained in California. 


By September of 1855, William had travelled by river to Richardson County, Nebraska with his family.  He opened a hotel in the northwestern part of the county known as “half-breed land” which shortly thereafter burned to the ground.   By 1856 he had built a log cabin near St. Stephens, Nebraska close to his brother-in-law Benjamin Loan.   Their farm was about 1.5 mile northeast of Old Arago where they lived for 24 years.


In the 1860 Census, William lived in Arago Township in Richardson County, Nebraska, which lies along the Missouri River and had the profession of farmer.


In 1860 William was appointed a Justice of the Peace and held that office for eight years.  In 1864 William was elected a County Commissioner and served a full three year term.  In 1866 he was a licensed minister in the Missouri Conference of the “Methodist-Episcopal Church South”, later the Nebraska Conference and rode a circuit conducting services at remote locations.  In 1874 he was ordained in that church as a “deacon” and in 1878 as an “elder”.  A local newspaper article quipped “Probably no man in Richardson County has a more extended acquaintance throughout the county... He has been every man's friend and adviser.”


In the 1870 Census, William lived in Township 2, Richardson County, Nebraska near Falls City, Nebraska and was recorded as being a farmer.  His children at home at that time included

            Susan J. Cain   age 22 b. 1848 in Missouri

            Fredrick Cain   age 16 b. 1854 in Missouri

            John B. Cain    age 11 b. 1859 in Missouri

            Thomas Cain   age 9   b. 1861 in Nebraska

            Laura Bettye Cain age 4   b. August 26, 1866 in Nebraska

            Richard Cain b. October 12, 1870 in Nebraska


In the 1880 Census, William was listed as being a Dry Goods Merchant.  In 1884, William and his wife Mary bought a home on the corner of Land and Sixth (now 16th) Streets in Falls City, Nebraska.


In 1884, the newspaper The Falls City Journal, Falls City, Nebraska records the couple’s Golden 50th Wedding Anniversary as being celebrated on March 16, 1893.




Issac Newton Cain, Brother to William Robertson Cain



One of William Robinson Cain’s children was James Robert “Bob” Cain Sr. (1843-1920).  He married twice

   1. First wife was Martha Kahaiha “Mattie” Cain nee Kirk. (1845-1882)

   2. Second wife was Lettie Jane Ingram (1863-1926)





Mr. Ingram holding his granddaughter baby Jean B. Cain [Father of Aunt Lettie]



The children of James Robert “Bob” Cain Sr.


The first family [whose mother was Mattie] are: Maime McCoy nee Cain standing at top, to her left her sister Sue Julian nee Cain, to her right Rob Cain.

The second family [whose mother was Lettie Ingram nee Newkirk] are from left of picture Nelle, nephew Harry Newkirk just below Maime, baby Jean B.,

and at extreme right of picture nephew Ingram.