Oscar Azar Robinson was born on August 23, 1828, in Batavia, Genesee County, New York, possibly the son of Lewis (b. 1794).
Massachusetts native Lewis lived for a time in New York before eventually settling in western Michigan. In any case, Oscar (also known as “Azar”) left New York, possibly with his family, and also settled in western Michigan.
He was married to Michigan-born Lucinda Ramsdell (1838-1916), and they had at least four children: Frank (b. 1857), Lizzie (b. 1859), Mrs. Carrie Shaw (b. 1863) and Bertha (b. 1869).
By 1860 Oscar was working as a harness-maker and living with his wife and two daughters in Lowell, Kent County.
Oscar stood 5’8” with black eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was a 32-year-old saddler living in Lowell, Kent County when he enlisted as a Musician in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He was discharged for consumption on July 29, 1861, at Hunter’s Farm, Virginia.
He returned to Lowell where he reentered the service as a Drummer in Company B, Third Michigan Reorganized infantry, on August 31, 1864, for 3 years, crediting Lowell, and was mustered on September 1 at Grand Rapids. Oscar was promoted to Principal Musician on October 15, and participated in the battle of Nashville, Tennessee December 15-16, 1864. He had been promoted to Drum Major by the time he went home on sick leave about June 18, 1865, and he remained on furlough until July 20, 1865, when he was admitted to Harper hospital in Detroit, where he was discharged on August 30, 1865, presumably for disability.
After the war Oscar returned to Lowell where he probably lived the rest of his life, working for many years as a harness-maker. (He was living in Lowell in 1888, 1890 and 1894.)
He and his wife were keeping a boarding house in Lowell in 1870, and by 1880 he was back working as a harness-maker and living with his wife and children in Lowell; his son Frank was also working as a harness-maker. Living with them was Lucinda’s mother Eliza Ramsdell. Oscar was living in Lowell in 1884 when he attended the Sixth Annual Reunion of the Soldiers and Sailors, at Battle Creek, Calhoun County. He was living in Lowell in 1888, 1890 and 1894.
He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Wilson Post No. 87 in Lowell, and in 1885 he applied for and received a pension (no. 357128).
Oscar died of “chronic bladder trouble” at his home in Lowell on Saturday morning February 3, 1899, and the funeral was held at the residence at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. He was buried in Oakwood cemetery, Lowell.
That same year his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 478336).