William Benjamin Robinson was born December 22, 1797 in Kingston, Upper Canada(Ontario). After his father died, his mother and older brother Peter raised him. In the 1820s Robinson looked after his stepfather's mills and stores, and joined the fur trade with Peter. In this capacity he was described as, "one of the chief Indian traders throughout northern Ontario."
In 1843 he signed what became known as the first of the Robinson Treaties setting aside 700 acres of land for the Lake Simcoe Chippewa. He was commissioned in 1850 to negotiate for Ojibewa lands in the vicinity of Lake Superior and Huron. Robinson negotiated two treaties in the area which included cash payments, annuities, setting aside of reserves, and retention of hunting and fishing rights.
Robinson died in 1873 known as an imperialist, a politician, and for his treaty negotiations.