Boise & Garden City

She led Idaho’s suffrage movement. After 92 years, her Boise grave has a headstone.

Ninety-two years after pioneer Corilla Robbins was buried in Boise’s Pioneer Cemetery, a headstone was placed over her grave Tuesday.

“She finally has her marker,” lifetime Boisean and history buff Bob Austin Jr. said moments after workers from Boise Valley Monument placed the granite marker next to the grave of Robbins’ husband, Orlando “Rube” Robbins.

Austin raised $600 from a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the headstone in Pioneer Cemetery on Warm Springs Avenue. It features a prairie schooner pulled by a pair of oxen above the phrase “and so a new adventure begins.”

It’s a fitting monument for Robbins, who led an ox team across the Plains from Missouri in 1876, bringing her family to Idaho.

Robbins later led Idaho’s suffrage movement, which in 1896 won women the right to vote. Idaho was the fourth state to grant it.

Corilla Robbins Save a Grave.JPG
A screenshot taken from a Save A Grave page created by Bob Austin Jr. shows Corilla Robbins and provides biographical information on the Boise pioneer.

She also recorded a number of firsts.

Robbins rode to Idaho City in Boise’s first horse-drawn taxi. In 1903, when the first automobile hit town, she was the first woman to ride in the roadster. And when the first airplane, an open-air Curtiss, arrived in 1919, Robbins, then 73, was among the first to fly over Boise in the bi-plane.

“That was some ride,” Robbins told the Idaho Statesman after the flight. “Believe me, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”

A GoFundMe campaign by Boise history buff Bob Austin Jr. raised $600 to pay for the granite marker placed over the grave of Corilla Robbins in Boise’s Pioneer Cemetery. John Sowell

Austin said he was inspired to obtain a headstone for Robbins after hearing about Boise author Rick Just’s efforts to do the same for James Hogan, known as “Jimmy the Stiff.”

Hogan, a drunkard liked by many Boise residents, was buried without a marker at Morris Hill Cemetery in 1907. Just wrote about Hogan in his online blog “Speaking of Idaho” and collected money for his headstone.

Robbins died in 1927 at age 81. She was buried next to the 10-foot-high pedestal that marks the grave of her second husband, who served as territorial Ada County sheriff and as Boise’s police chief from 1895 to 1897.

Boise lore says Rube Robbins erected a large monument for himself and left nothing for his widow. Austin said that since he raised the money for Robbins’ headstone, he learned that friends of Rube Robbins from International Order of Odd Fellows took up a collection and paid for the pedestal.

Jake Meyer, an employee with Boise Valley Monument, pulls a hand truck with the headstone for Corilla Robbins through Boise’s Pioneer Cemetery on Tuesday, while company owner Phil Fouts measures the distance from the pedestal of Robbins’ husband, Orlando “Rube” Robbins. “We don’t often do something this old, datewise, so it’s cool to see this,” Meyer said. John Sowell

Looking at Corilla Robbins’ headstone in place on the ground, Austin said it made him feel good.

“It makes me feel like something is completed, especially for Corilla Robbins,” he said. “It looks really good.”

Boise historian Hugh Hartman, who attended the ceremony to lay the headstone with about eight other people, praised Austin for his efforts.

“I think it’s absolutely fantastic to see this, especially after the 92 years that she’s been here,” said Hartman, author of the 1989 book “The Founding Fathers of Boise, 1863-1875.”

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Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.