Young, Robert C.

Robert C. Young was the longest serving employee of Dickinson College during the nineteenth century.  From the 1860s to the 1910s, he worked as a servant in the president's household, a janitor, and a campus policeman.  For decades, he was also a renowned figure in Carlisle, a pious church leader and defiant civil rights activist.  Perhaps most important, the Young family helped to integrate several educational institutions in the area, including Dickinson itself. In 1886, Young fought successfully to get his eldest son (Robert G. Young) admitted to the Dickinson prepatory school.  Young began appearing in the federal census records in Carlisle in 1870 and he and members of his growing family kept appearing there together until the 1920s.  The federal census takers usually recorded Young as  a "mulatto" or mixed race resident originally from Virginia, but sometimes they defined him simply as black.  Recollections by Dickinson students identified Young as a former slave from  the William Smith plantation in Charlestown (now Wellsburg) in Brooke County, VA (now WV).  Matilda Young was the wife and mother in the Young household, with children, Robert G. Young (b. 1871), George (b. 1872), Henry (b. 1874), Annie (b. 1877), William (b. 1878), James (b. 1882), Emma (b. 1885), and Joseph (b. 1887).  Beginning in the 1880s, local Carlisle newspapers always referred to Young as a leader of the black community in town.  The case involving his efforts in 1886 to get his eldest son into Dickinson made national headlines. Young died in 1922, as a noted and revered figure in his adopted hometown.  (By Matthew Pinsker)


Life Span
Dickinson Connection
Longest serving Dickinson employee of 19th century
    Full name
    Robert C. Young
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Mixed (Mulatto)
    Sectional choice
    Slave State
    No. of Spouses
    Other Occupation
    Janitor, Policeman
    Relation to Slavery
    Slave or Former Slave
    Church or Religious Denomination
    How to Cite This Page: "Young, Robert C.," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,