Sunday, April 16, 2017


Civil War Era and Where Was Abiathar Smith Robinson? Found in Wenona, Marshall, Illinois

Nadene Goldfoot                                          
GGrandfather Abiathar Smith Robinson with son Frank Hugh Robinson.
Frank is sitting on a haystack.  
Greatgrandfather Abiathar Smith Robinson b: December 1829 was found on the August 11, 1870 census in Wenona, Marshall, Illinois at age 41.  I note that an A. Robinson was on theWenona  1850 census in 1850 at age 23 living with the A. Hankinson family.  Was it he?    Was he there, possibly a wandering about teen exploring life before "returning" to Tunbridge to marry at age 23 in February 1852?  No, he was 23 in 1852 when he married Julia.  He was not on any census with even his 1st name of Abiathar.  I might add that usually the middle name reflects the surname of his mother.

To be a man of 23 in 1852 was to be an American under  our 13th president, Millard Fillmore of New York, a Whig.
We know that Abiathar lived in Tunbridge, Orange, Vermont in 1852 when he married Julia Ann Tuller February 29th there.  She was from Royalton Windsor, Vermont next door about 5 miles away. She was on the 1850 census at age 15 in Royalton living with her Tuller family.  Not Abiathar.  I couldn't find him listed.
Then, we have the Civil War starting on April 12, 1861 and lasting until May 9, 1865.  During this time, they seemed to disappear into Canada.  No record is found in the lower 48 of Abiathar and Julia Ann during the 1860s.
A grand home in little Wenona, Marshall, Illinois.  
"Wenona was established as a shipping point for the Illinois Central Railroad.  Before the railroad was built in 1852, the area was uninhabited.  The first house was a shack for the track men on the Illinois Central Railroad that was put on on the site in 1852 along the eastern edge of the township.
In 1853, after the railroad was completed to LaSalle, the passenger station and freight house were built on the site. The home of G.W. Goodell, the station agent and first postmaster was also built in 1853. The post office was also established the same year.  In June of 1854, the first church in the future Wenona, the Presbyterian church was organized.  The winter of 1854, William Brown opend the first store.
Wenona was laid off on the 15th of May 1855, by the Illinois Central Railroad company, on one of the altenate sections granted by congress for the construction of the road.  The site was on low, wet ground. When the town was laid out in May 1855 it had nine houses and a population of 50.   The land was drained and trees were planted and the town began to grow.
By 1856, there were twelve hundred people, three hundred homes, two churches, three schools, a hotel and a sawmill.

   The town was incorporated in 1859 by a vote of 28 to 3.  The first trustees were Solomon Wise, George Brockway, John B. Newburn, F.H. Bond and Emanuel Weltz.
Coal was discovered in 1865 and for many years a valuable community product. The mine employed an average of 200 men and a nearby zinc smelter employed 50 more.
In 1870, the Chicago and Alton Railroad was completed from Wenona to Lacon.  Wenona now had four grain elevators, a stockyard, a brickyard, flour mill, wagon manufacturing store, drygoods store, drug store, grocery store, hardware store, furniture store and implement store.  One of Wenona’s early showpieces was the Union Township Fair, organized in 1871, which for a decade rivaled the State Fair.            
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, was born in Royalton, Windsor, Vermont on December 23, 1805. Abiathar Smith Robinson was religious, but I believe his descendants have been Methodists.  I will say he was a severe follower, as nothing was allowed to be done on the Sabbath, causing my grandfather to leave home.  Was this the man he was named for as a middle name?  I don't think so as Smith was as common as Robinson.  It should be on his mother's side of the family.

 In Vermont, Westward migration continued in the 1850s.   The economy soared during the Civil War with people working in factories and farm girls working in the mills.  Women's suffrage grew during the Civil War.  Dairies were replacing sheep farming.  The first butter creamery was established in 1871.  The railroad had been expanding Vermont.  Woolens, munitions, machine tools and mining industry expanded with growing knowledge in the industrial revolution.
When my brother and I met our 2nd cousin in Wenona about 8 years ago in 2009, we found one restaurant open on a Sunday and it had the best food I had had, more like home-made.  We had hamburgers and soup.
Abiathar's great grandsons, one from son Frank Hugh on the left, and one
from Arthur Roy on the right.  Tom showed us around as we drove from Wisconsin.  
 We had been walking through the cemetery viewing Abiathar and Julia's sites plus any others that might be related.                                                
                                               Wenona's cemetery was the prettiest spot I've ever seen.  They
                                                        had a lovely view up there.
Frank Hugh Robinson, our grandfather, born in Wenona
on June 21, 1870 as the 8th child with unknown, possibly his younger brother, Arthur Roy,
number 10 and the last.  they were 9 years apart.   With that mustache, he looks like he's in his 20s at least. 
On May 18, 1870, the center block of the business district was destroyed by fire and 45 business establishments were lost. By 1873, new brick buildings were built to take their place.  The Wenona Fire Department was organized in 1884.  In 1890, the entire south block of Wenona's business district burned.  It was rebuilt with brick buildings and a fire wall was placed between every 2nd building."
Wenona's men liked to hunt. This was near the Canadian border in the 1880s.
Seated left to right:  Bayard Washington Wright, Mr Clark?, unknown, Edwin Wright

Great grandmother Julia Ann Robinson nee Tuller was born December 18,  1834.  Her 1st child, Edward Rix, was born in about November 1852 when she was 18.  Her 10th child was born May 1879, and then she died in 1887 when Arthur was only 8 years old.  Frank was 17.  He had run away from home at about age 16 or a little younger over an argument with his father over moving his horse out of a field where the bull had entered.  It was the Sabbath and his father wouldn't let him do it.  You see, teens had their problems in those days, too.  We're always butting heads with our elders.  

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