JOHN STANIFORD ROBINSON was born in Bennington, Vermont. He graduated from Williams College in 1824 and was admitted to the Vermont Bar three years later. He opened his own law office in Bennington and continued to practice law until his death. He served in both the state House and Senate and made two unsuccessful campaigns for governor before his final campaign. Because he failed to receive a majority of the popular vote against his Whig and Abolitionist opponents, the decision of who would become governor was left to the state legislature, which after twenty-six ballots chose Robinson in large part because abolitionists gave their votes to him. In 1860 Robinson was elected chairman of the Vermont delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina. While there, he died of a stroke. His remains were taken to Bennington.