This biography is from "Memorial and biographical record; an illustrated compendium of biography, containing a compendium of local biography, including biographical sketches of prominent old settlers and representative citizens of South Dakota..." Published by G. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1899. Pages 373-374
ROBERT ALLISON, one of the most substantial and successful
agriculturist of Cavour township, Beadle county, is a forcible illustration of the self-made man
thrown upon his own resources when but a boy, he has steadily overcome the
difficulties in the path to success by his untiring industry, perseverance and good management, and
is now the possessor of a comfortable competence.
Mr. Allison was born on the 14th of March, 1846, near Summit
Centre, Waukesha county, Wisconsin, and is the sixth child of William and
Margaret (Crawford) Allison, both natives of Glasgow, Scotland. The father, who was a machinist by trade, died in January, 1862, but the
aged mother is still living and now finds a pleasant home with our subject. At an early age Robert Allison began the battle of life for
himself by sawing wood for neighbors and doing chores for war widows, and in this way aided in the support of the family after the father's
death. In 1865, he commenced sailing on the Great Lakes, first as a common sailor, later filling subordinate positions for six years, and
then as master or captain had command of vessels for seventeen years. During the last years he spent upon the water, he assisted his
brothers, Andrew and Maxwell H., in obtaining free homes in Dakota. In 1881 the northwest quarter of section 15, Cavour township, Beadle
county, was entered by Andrew, who died in April, 1896, but later was turned into a pre-emption and deeded to their mother. On this quarter-section buildings were erected and there our subject now resides. He
owns in all eleven hundred and twenty acres and rents nine hundred and sixty more, on which he carries on farming and stock raising quite
successfully on a large scale.
Mr. Allison married Mrs. Bertha Orness, who was born in Freeborn
county, Minnesota, December 15, 1871, a daughter of Erick and Bertha (Esse) Jerdie. As a result of her first marriage to Andrew Orness she
has -one son, Arthur J. C., and by her union with our subject also has a son, Andrew M. Although an ardent Republican in politics, Mr. Allison
cares nothing for the honors or emoluments of public office, preferring to give his entire time and attention to his extensive business
interests. He was a member of the Masonic lodge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but since coming to Dakota has not kept up his connection
with the order.