Thursday, November 05, 2009
Wenona, Illinois-Final Home for Abiathar and Julia
Wenona started as a railroad shipping point. It lies 65 miles north and east of Peoria, Ill. A railroad was built in 1852. Before that time the land was uninhabited. In 1854 the first Presbyterian church was built. The first store was also built. The town was laid out in May of 1855. They had nine houses and 50 people. By 1856 they had 1200 people. It was incorporated in 1859. Coal was discovered in 1865, providing jobs for many.
With the expansion of the railroads people were more able to expand their horizons. The first section of the Baltimore and Ohio opened in 1830. By 1848, nearly 6,000 miles of track made it possible to travel along the Atlantic seaboard. New tracks headed west, and the Mississippi Valley towns were within reach.
Abiatha's son Frank mentioned coming from Quincy. However, there is a Quincy in Illinois, too, which he could have meant. It is the county seat of Adams County in Illinois. Quincy, Illinois was named after John Quincy Adams. Quincy is about 50 miles away from Chicago, Illinois. It is also near the Mississippi River which is west of it. In the book "Slaughterhouse" the author tells about the horrible living conditions in 1906 in Chicago. The story is about an immigrant working in the Chicago slaughterhouse. The hero was lucky enough to wander into the countryside and work for a farmer one time. The book helped to change conditions in the area.
On May 18, 1870, the town had a big fire. They had another big fire in 1876. The newspaper of that day was called the Henry Republican. The Illinois Volunteer Infantry from Montgomery County, close by, was created.
In the 1900 census page for Abiather/Mary Jane Robinson (he remarried in about 1896) it gives his birthdate as Dec. 1829 instead of the 1834. It also says he and his parents were born in New York! At one point in history, before Vermont was a state, both NY and NH claimed land in VT. This information is from cousin, another great grandson. He owned his farm. He said he could not write but could read.
N.Y. is divided by Lake Champlain and bordered by Quebec and Ontario, Conn. Mass. and Vermont. The lower tip of Manhatten, called New Amsterdam was populated first. Fort Orange in Albany was also popular, in Westchester County. At the end of the 1776 Revolution, many Tories (sided with British) fled to Canada. The war of 1812 was fought along N.Y. frontier and Canada. By 1820, 1/2 people in N.Y. were New Englanders. Quebec probably was where the Robinsons lived during the Civil War. La Salle in Canada was also possible, or the St. Lawrence Colony. At the end of the revolution people were called United Empire Loyalists who lived in lower Canada. Quebec became known as Canada East.
Abiather's obit says he was buried there. In fact the obit was written after he was buried because it says "he was laid to rest in Wenona Cemetery." This is from Tom Mead 3-1-02.Marge sent a list of Robinsons buried in Wenona: Arthur R., Bert, Calvin M., Charles M., Charles T., Christina, Della O., Donald M., Donna, Edgar C., Edward G., Fred E., H.W., John C., Josephine V., Julia Ann, Lulu M., Manzel, Manzel P., Milton J., Myra L, Nikke, Oscar L., She also listed McCulloms.
His funeral service was at the M.E. Church in Wenona. It is no longer there. The family names can be found on Pg. 340 of the 1880 census in Wenona as the 188th household to be counted. His son Rix Robinson (first born) is close by in the 197th household.