They Left Their Mark In Oakford, 1872

Bobtown After Exodus To Oakford
Page 4

Shortly after the Miller's arrival the following families settled here: George Kirby, William Watkins, George Hudspeth, Elias Hohimer, Jacob Short and Reason Shipley. Many of these early pioneers were veterans of the War of 1812.

During 1826 in the Pecan Bottoms area. Absalam Mounts, a miller by trade and his two sons erected a crude grist mill just below the fork of Little Grove and Clary's Creeks. Mounts' mill was an influential center for a large area including the northern portion of Sangamon County and the adjoining Morgan County.

Three years later, Mounts sold his mill to James Watkins. He then moved north to the Crane Creek bottoms and built another mill.

By 1832, these families were settled to the East: Dowell, Cohee, Lounsberry, Watkins, McHenry, Colon, Young and White. Among the family names to the West were Lynn, Ishmael, Sutton, Morgan, Hickey, Holland, Dick, Thomas and Lucas.

Under Watkin's management, the grist mill prospered, probably because he was related to most of the area families. This is when the settlement began to take shape.

In 1836, the mill again changed hands. Ebenezer Robinson, an experienced miller from the East immediately overhauled the grist mill and added a saw mill. Within months, he was attracting trade halfway to Beardstown.

With transportation so slow and people coming so far. Robinson saw the need and soon began construction of a two story inn. The bricks were made on the construction site. By the time of its completion, other tradesmen were established there.

A. McGinnis, the blacksmith, operated into the 1850s. There was a store, a saloon and also a doctor.

By 1839, the settlement was know as Robinson Mills. Evidently, Robinson was a likeable, influential man. As he was the first Representative elected from the newly formed Menard County in 1839.

Robinson Mills did not grow during 1840-1860's but neither did the population dwindle. It is unknown exactly what year Robinson left the village. John Bonnett continued operating the inn during the 1850's. In fact, after the Robinson's Mill's residents exodus a few miles north in 1872 to the newly platted Oakford. Bonnett still kept the inn open.



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Illinois Ancestors