Who was Warner Robins and why was the city named after him?

Who was Warner Robins?

That was the question posed to us by a reader of The Telegraph through Macon Me Curious, a project of the Center for Collaborative Journalism in partnership with The Telegraph and GPB Macon. Macon Me Curious takes questions from the community and assigns reporters to find the answers.

The city of Warner Robins was named after Brigadier General Augustine Warner Robins from Virginia. A 1907 graduate of The United States Military Academy at West Point, he was considered the best logistics officer of what was then known as the United States Army Air Corps.

Muriel Jackson, head of genealogy and archives at Washington Memorial Library said that the city was not always named Warner Robins.

“I think it’s around 1930 something that he gets more interested in the Army Air Corps that has been formed,” Jackson said.

Robins himself did not have close ties to the area, but he was well-known for his management abilities.

“His logistics skills were put to the test and worked very well in the development of Robins,” Jackson said.

While Robins was highly regarded, there were some obstacles to getting the city and base named after him.

“The general put in charge of the base, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas had served under him and when they wanted a name for the base, he suggested Warner Robins,” Jackson said.

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms said the base had to be named after the nearest city and at the time, that was Wellston.

“The city actually under its leadership then, changed the name of the city from Wellston to Warner Robins, and that’s how Warner Robins came about as being the name of the city and Robins Air Force Base,” Toms said.

Robins died in Texas in 1940. The establishment of the city and Warner Robins Air Depot happened after his death.

“The general that was here at the time was interested in honoring the man that had taught him so much in his career,” Toms said. “He mentored someone and that person wanted to honor him.”

Toms said Robins was never stationed here at Warner Robins and it’s unclear whether he ever visited Georgia or the area itself.

“It’s a different time now because warfare is so different now. He managed to rise up through the ranks and being the son of a former Confederate general is interesting. That wasn’t held against him,” Jackson said.

According to Toms, the city makes efforts to honor the legacy of a man who had an impact on many.

“A couple of years ago for the first time we actually had General Robins’ family come here. We presented them with a key to the city. We took them over and showed them the Museum of Aviation,” Toms said. “That was a real big honor to meet his family and show them how their grandfather is still being honored today.”

Other efforts to honor the legacy of Robins are underway at the Warner Robins Municipal Center.

“We don’t have it up now, but we have a plaque with who he was, and probably some of his accomplishments need to be added along the way, but we’re renovating a new building next to our city hall here to continue to honor the life,” Toms said.

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