Robert Crouch Kinney (July 4, 1813 – March 2, 1875) was an American businessman and politician in what became the state of Oregon. A native of Illinois, he helped found Muscatine, Iowa, before crossing the Oregon Trail and settling in what became Oregon. In Oregon he was a prominent businessman in the milling business and served in the Oregon Territorial Legislature before being a member of the Oregon Constitutional Convention.
Robert Kinney was born on July 4, 1813, in the town of Belleville in St. Clair County, Illinois, near St. Louis, Missouri. His parents were Samuel and Polly (née Gibbons) Kinney, both from Kentucky. Robert’s uncle was William Kinney, who served as Lieutenant Governor of Illinois from 1826 to 1830. Robert Kinney was raised in Illinois where he received an education in the common schools of Springfield.
In 1833, he married Eliza Bigelow, and the couple had eleven children, with eight living to adulthood. The eight children were Mary Jane, Albert William (married daughter of William T. Newby), Augustus Crouch, Marshall Johnson, Eliza Lee, Alfred Coleman, Josephine Elarena, and William Sylvester. The year they were married the couple moved to what became Iowa, where they helped found the town of Bloomington (now Muscatine) along the Mississippi River. Kinney built a hotel along with a wharf, and operated a boat from the town downriver to St. Louis. Later he entered the milling business, running a sawmill and flourmill, while also reading law under judge Serranus Clinton Hastings, though he never practiced law.