30th October 1743

Entrepreneur Charles Robin is born

By the age of 20, St Brelade-born Charles Robin was captain of a fishing ship and trading cod off Newfoundland. Two years later, he set up his own business with his brothers, Philip and John, bringing cod back to the Iberian Peninsula, and both salmon and fur to mainland Britain. On return trips, he carried French workers who were keen to emigrate to Canada.

The brothers suffered during the American Civil War, when forces fighting for an independent United States damaged their vessels.

Civil War losses

In 1886 – sixty years after his death – the Jersey Independent and Daily Telegraph reproduced a report from Canada explaining how Robins had established himself in the country, and what had befallen him during the war: “Charles Robin, the original founder of the firm, landed in Paspebiac in the year 1766; twelve years later his establishment was destroyed by two American privateers who burnt his fishing stations and captured his boats. Although the destroyers and their booty were subsequently recaptured by British war ships, the heavy salvage demanded, no less than one-eighth of the value, was too much for Robin’s resources, and he was compelled to fail.”

Nonetheless, Robin wasn’t going to stay broke for long. By the end of the century, he had diversified into shipbuilding while still having such a strong hold over the fishing industry in that part of the world that he could set his own prices.

For four years from 1788 he acted as a justice of the peace and a judge in the Court of Common Please for the Province of Quebec. Thus, it wasn’t until 1802 that he returned to Jersey to live out the remainder of his days in retirement. He died in St Aubin, a single man who had never married, in June 1824. He was 81 years old.


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Other events that occured in October

  • Footballer Greame Le Saux is born
  • Jersey-born Le Saux’s first professional signing was for London club Chelsea, for whom he played his first match aged 21. He stayed for four seasons, during which he made 90 appearances, scoring eight league goals.
  • Read more…