Maria Murray Robinson

Name: Maria Murray Robinson (Murray)
Birth Date: 1840's
Birth Place: Maryland or Virginia
Death Date: May 16, 1900
Death Location: Evanston Illinois, USA
Burial Place: said to be with the Vane family in Rosehill Cemetery


Maria Murray Robinson (1840s-1900) was the first African-American woman known to have lived in Evanston. She was born into slavery in the late 1830s or early 1840s. She came to Evanston as a free woman with the Allen Vane family in 1855, for whom she worked as a domestic. She was listed as a member of First Methodist Church of Evanston in 1859. She married George Robinson in 1868 and some years later they moved into a home at 325 Dempster Street. In 1882, Maria and George Robinson were among the founders of Second Baptist Church and later helped found Mount Zion Baptist Church. Maria Murray Robinson died in 1900 and was buried with the Vane family in Rosehill Cemetery.

Maria’s story is an important one for Evanston. The details of her life are hard to discover and she attained something of a legendary status in early Evanston. See this post by 2021 EWHP intern Sophia Weglarz for further exploration –

More about her story can also be found in educational materials on the Evanston History Center website –


Children: unknown, 1900 census lists 2
Years in Evanston: 1855-1900

Sources: Archives and Collections: "Robi." Biographical Files. Evanston History Center. Newspapers: Evanston Index - Obituary 19 May 1900 Other Primary Sources: Robinson, Morris Jr. A Place We Can Call Our Home. Evanston: Robinson Communication Services, 1997. Robinson, Morris Jr. Through the Eyes of Us. Robinson Group, Ltd., 1998.

Associated Addresses: