Robert Alexander Pinn MOH

b. 01/03/1843 Massillon, Ohio. d. 01/01/1911 Massillon, Ohio.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 29/09/1864 Chapin’s Farm, Virginia.

Robert A Pinn MOH

Robert A. Pinn was born on March 1, 1843, in Perry Township, Stark County, Ohio, to Zilphia (née Broxon) and William Pinn. His father was from Fauquier County, Virginia, and was born a slave. His mother was of English ancestry and was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. His father worked as a farmer and blacksmith. Pinn grew up on the family farm and at the age of 11 started to learn the trade of broom manufacturer.

In 1861, Pinn joined the 19th Ohio Infantry Regiment as a civilian worker under Major Surgeon Hurxthal during the Civil War, but did not enlist since black troops were not allowed to enlist. He was at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. He then enlisted in June 1863 and joined Company I of the 5th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, also called the 127th Ohio. He was appointed sergeant on October 18, 1863, and later as first sergeant on February 29, 1864. He marched from Norfolk, Virginia, and fought guerilla forces in southern Virginia and North Carolina. He was also at the battles of Chapin’s Farm and New Market Heights and Fort Harrison. He was wounded on September 29, 1864, while leading his company against the enemy’s works in Richmond during the Battle of Chapin’s Farm. He was wounded three times: once in the left thigh, the left leg and the right shoulder. The wound to his shoulder left his arm disabled. He received the Medal of Honor for his service at the Battle of Chapin’s Farm. He was awarded the Medal of Honor six months later, on April 6, 1865. He was discharged from service on September 20, 1865, in Carolina City and returned to Stark County.

After returning to Ohio, Pinn worked in teaming and contracting until the spring of 1874. He then sold his business and studied at Oberlin Academy from 1874 to 1876 and Oberlin College from 1876 to 1877. He read law with Professor Thomas. He also attended law school in South Carolina. He served as principal of Cairo High School and taught school in Illinois and South Carolina. He finished studying law with R. H. Folger in Massillon. He was admitted to the bar in 1879 and started to practice law. He was a pensions and claims agent for the U.S. Pension Bureau. He was the first black attorney in Stark County.

Pinn was a Republican. He served as a delegate at the state convention that nominated William McKinley as governor. He ran for justice of the peace of Perry Township in 1901. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). He was elected as commander of the Hart Post No. 134 in 1886 and was elected as junior vice commander of the Ohio department of the G.A.R. in 1888. Pinn married Emily J. Manzilla of Mahoning County in 1867. They had a daughter, Grace R. (died 1938). His wife died in 1890. He owned eighty acres in Tuscarawas Township and had a home at 96 Akron Street in Massillon. He could speak German fluently.



Took command of his company after all the officers had been killed or wounded and gallantly led it in battle.