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This is information sent to from Ann Maxwell and am in the process of getting it together for online.   Thank you, Ann, and Ann Thanks you,. too.  Have a great day.

Descendants of Daniel & Alexander Robertson

To begin am placing here an excerpt from a biography of James Champion McMurtry. In this biography is the mention of the first settler's of Henderson Twp, Knox Co., IL. I found this out myself while doing research for another gentleman on the Robertson/Robinson/Robeson and another spelling of this surname that it was often misspelled in the early history of Knox Co., IL.


            James Champion McMurtry, son of William and Ruth (Champion) McMurtry, was born in Crawford County, Indiana, February 3, 1829.  He belongs to a noted family, whose descent is from the French Huguenots.  His great-grandfather, John McMurtry, had a large family of children, five of whom were killed in the Revolution, at the battle of Cowpens.

            The McMurtry family came to Knox County, November 1, 1829, and settled in Henderson Township.  The family consisted of the grandfather, James McMurtry, his two sons, William and James, their wives, and the children of William—Mary and James C.  The following families, whose names will always be associated with Knox County, were already settled in the neighborhood (Daniel and Alexander Robinson  (Should be Robertson) correction sent in by Ann Maxwell), and Riggs Pennington, of whom William and James McMurtry bought their farm of one hundred and sixty acres, on which was a small log cabin.  On this farm, the people of the whole neighborhood assisted ...........


The Biographical Record of Henry County, Illinois, published in 1901

 Prominent among the citizens of Henry County who have witnessed the marvelous development of this section of the state in the past sixty-five years, and who have, by honest toil and industry, succeeded in acquiring a competence, and are now able to spend the sunset of life in quiet and retirement, is the gentleman whose name introduces this sketch.  For many years he was one of the leading agriculturists of the county, but is now removed November 1, 1988, and where he owns a desirable home.

 Mr. Robertson was born a few miles north of Galesburg, in Henderson Township, Knox County, Illinois, May 2, 1835, and is a worthy representative of one of the most prominent pioneer families of this section of the state, his parents being Daniel and Mary (Maxwell) Robertson.  The father’s birth occurred in Perth, Scotland, but he was only six months old when brought by his parents to America.  From New York the family removed to Morgan County, Illinois in 1817.  They constructed a flatboat in Pennsylvania, on which they loaded their household goods, horses and cattle, and they floated down the Ohio River to Lewiston, near St. Louis.  Going to the land office at Dixon, Daniel Robertson entered a tract of government land at Henderson Grove, which was said to be the nicest grove in the state at that time.  He secured the deed to a quarter-section of land on Section 11, Henderson Township, Knox County, and his brother Alexander, who died in 1848, also obtained at that time one hundred and sixty acres and later entered a quarter-section more.  The father of our subject lived at what is now Hendersonville, which was a thriving village before the railroad was laid out, but as the company saw fit to lay their line through Galesburg and skip Hendersonville, the latter was virtually killed.  He and his brother were the first white men to settle in Knox County.

During the Black Hawk War, the latter entered the army, leaving Daniel to care for the home and family.  He was well acquainted with the Shabbons, the friendly Indians of those troublesome times.  Mr. Robertson was reared in the Scotch Presbyterian faith, but never united with any church.  While a resident of Schuyler County, Illinois, he was appointed justice of the peace by Governor Edwards and held the office for some years.  He died at his home in Knox County, April 6, 1890, at the ripe old age of eighty-six years, honored and respected by all who knew him.  The mother of our subject, who was a most excellent woman, had died in 1840, at the early age of twenty-seven years.  She was a daughter of Thomas and Clarkia (Williamson) Maxwell.  Her mother's people came from Indiana to Illinois at a very early day and first located in Sangamon County.  By his first marriage Mr. Robertson had five children, namely:  Elizabeth, the first female white child born in Knox County, married Isaac Reed, and is now living in this county at the age of sixty-nine years; Alexander R. died from the effects of an accident October 11, 1891, at the age of fifty-eight years; Thomas M., our subject, is next in order of birth; Malissa, deceased, was the wife of James Smelser; Mary is the widow of Robert Adcock and a resident of Warren County, Illinois.  For his second wife the father of these children married Miss Jane Riddle, who died in Galesburg, in 1895, at the age of seventy-five years.  By that union were born six children, five of whom are now living:  John T., a resident of Galesburg; James G., who died November, 1900, at Marysville, California; Amanda, now Mrs. Briggs, of Oklahoma; and Harlen, of Indian Territory, and Harbin C., twins, living near Galesburg, Illinois.

 The boyhood and youth of Thomas M. Robertson were passed upon the home farm in Knox County, and he received a good common-school education.  At the age of seventeen he and his brother Alexander began breaking prairie, with three plows and five yoke of oxen to each plow.  They broke much of the sod between Wataga and Little York, Mercer County, their largest day's work being ten and a quarter acres near Wataga, getting two dollars and twenty-five cents per acre.  The brother retired from the business before our subject, who continued to follow it for about nine years.  He became the owner of seventy-seven acres of land in Knox Township which he sold on coming to Henry County in 1867, and bought one hundred and sixty acres in Weller Township, to which he subsequently added tracts of sixty-two, eighty and one hundred and forty acres, but has since sold a portion of this land, though he still retains one handed and seventy-six acres of well-improved and valuable land on section 7, and one hundred and thirty-seven and a half acres on Section 8, Weller Township.  Upon these farms he has erected good and substantial buildings, has placed the land under a high state of cultivation and otherwise improved them, until they are now among the most desirable of their size in that section of the county.  He has also owned land in Nebraska.

 On the 28th of October, 1858, Mr. Robertson was united in marriage with Miss Mary J. Bick, who was born in Ohio, May 17, 1840, a daughter of Elias and Catherine (Stein) Bick; natives of Pennsylvania, who in 1852 removed to Knox County, Illinois.  Her father was a successful merchant tailor, who did a large business and employed many workmen.  He was born August 15, 1813 and died February 24, 1864, while his wife was born December 1, 1815, and died February 12, 1852.  Both were devout members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and were held in high regard by all who knew them.  Mrs. Robertson was the eldest of their four daughters, the others being as follows: (2) Alsetta is the wife of William Collins, a railroad employee of Atchison, Kansas, and they have five children, Frederick, William Forest, Harry and May.  (3)  Susie is the wife of Albert Thompson, a farmer of Norton, Kansas, and they have seven children, Frederick, Charles, Howard, Florence, Cora, John and Maude.  (4)  Louisa is the wife of John Maxwell, a farmer of Grinnell, Iowa, and their children are Catherine, Jennie, Atha, Cora and Charles.

 Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Robertson, but Cora died at the age of three years, and three of the number died in infancy.  Those living are Arthur, on the home farm; Fannie, wife of V.J. Poppy, a farmer of Weller Township, this county, by whom she has one child, Jessie; Harry B., a grain buyer of Bishop Hill who married Hattie Hunt and has one child, Mildred; and Carrie, wife of C.W. Nelson, who lives on the home farm.

 For many years Mr. Robertson has been identified with the financial interests of Cambridge, serving as one of the directors of the Farmers National Bank since its organization, in 1882, and as vice-president during that entire time with the exception of two years, He is now one of the oldest bank officials in this part of the county.  He has also been interested in the mercantile business for some ten or twelve years. His political support is always given the given the men and measures of the Democratic party, and while living in the county he served his fellow citizens as road commissioner sometime, and is a member of the school board for nine years.  At the age of twenty-one years he was made a Mason in Hiram Lodge, Henderson, Illinois.  Being demitted from that lodge, he became one of the charter members of the Oxford Lodge, and later assisted in the organization of the lodge at Woodhull, Henry County.  He and his estimable wife are members of the Baptist Church.  They are widely and favorably known through-out the county, and it is safe to say that no couple within its borders are more honored or highly esteemed, or more justly deserve the high regard in which they are held by all who know them.

Obituary Section


An old settler killed by a passenger train 

An event that will fill the hearts of the people of Rio Township with sadness occurred about 9:25, Thursday morning, and that was the killing of Mr. Thomas Maxwell, Sr., one of the oldest residents of the county.  Complete particulars are not at hand.  From what is known, it is learned that he was on his way from his home in Rio Township to his timber land after a load of wood.  The Rio passenger train coming south, James Kiogan, engineer, and Wm. Fox, conductor, was behind hand.  It whistled for the Junk crossing just before the engine reached this crossing.  Mr. Maxwell started to drive across it.  He is somewhat deaf, and as the wind was in the south, he did not hear the warning whistle, the next instant the locomotive was upon him.  It struck the wagon with terrible force, driving it sixty feet from the track and setting the horses free without injuring them.  The train was at once stopped and all hurried to the shattered remains of the wagon.  Near it was lying Mr. Maxwell in the stillness of death.  Aside from the wounds about the head, there were no other injuries.  It was apparent that he had died without a struggle.

 Mr. Maxwell, whose sad death is thus briefly chronicled, came to this county in a1829, and has since claimed it as his home.  He was about 75 years old.  It is said that, prior to coming to this state, he lived in Indiana.  He was a member of Captain Wm. McMurtry’s company of Mounted Rangers, and did service in the brief Black Hawk war.  He joined with Major McKee and others from Henderson and Rio Townships.  He leaves a wife, four sons and four daughters.  Three brothers—Henry Maxwell; James Maxwell, of Rock Island, and Jacob Maxwell, of Waller County, TX—survive him.[Galesburg Republican Register, Saturday, May 10, 1890], From Ellen Smith’s collection

 Notes:  1.  This obituary sheds some light on some of the Maxwell controversies:

a.      This obituary indicates Thomas and Rhoda (Hodges) were living in Rio Township when he died.  Joyce Cornelius has them living in Henderson Township from 1867 at least, where their home was on Section 25—according to his Probate Records.

b.      We call this man Thomas, Jr., (because his father was Thomas. Sr.--when he was alive.

c.      But this obituary calls him Thomas, Sr., therefore: the military gravestone, next to this Thomas’ large granite stone is for him—the Thomas who died in 1890.  The military stone, for the Black Hawk War Service, is the type and time period and has been personally seen by Joyce Cornelius.  Although several think, because of the “Sr.” designation, this Black Hawk War stone was for Thomas Maxwell (Sr.) who died in 1851—Joyce Cornelius and Ann Maxwell do not.  Both the Thomas who died in 1851 and this Thomas who died in 1890, served together in the Black Hawk War.  Joyce Cornelius thinks the military stone was put up first, and before his wife, Rhoda, died in 1900.  The family put up the granite one. This is a large gray granite stone, beautifully carved.  It is located in the northern, older section.  A military stone, for the Black Hawk War service is immediately south of this.  Immediately next to it on the south, is a large stone for his brother-in-law, Daniel Robertson.  The stone has no markings on it for Rhoda being buried here—but it most likely she was. 


 Another Pioneer Gone

T.M. Robertson of Weller, attended the funeral last Saturday of Thomas Maxwell at Henderson Grove, Knox, County.  Mr. Maxwell will be remembered by all of the old pioneers of Henry County.  He settled on the farm now occupied by Mr. Robertson, in 1852 and moved to Knox County in 1865.  On Thursday the 8th of the present month, Mr. Maxwell was driving his team across the C B & Q road [railroad] at Henderson during a violent wind.  Not hearing the whistle of the locomotive which was nearing it, if was blown at all, the wagon was struck and demolished, and Mr. Maxwell was killed, his body being badly mutilated.  The funeral was attended by an immense concourse of people.  [Cambridge Chronicle 15 May 1890]  

Note:  Thomas Maxwell Robertson was the deceased’s nephew.  He was the son of  Mary “Polly” (Maxwell) and Daniel Robertson.


James Maxwell

 James Maxwell was born in Indiana,  April 9, 1810, and died at the home of his son, Richard Maxwell, in Hampton, IL, September 29, 1895, age 85 years, 5 months and 26 days.  Mr. Maxwell moved with his parents to KY in 1819, and from KY to Sangamon Co., IL in 1822, and to Knox County in 1837. For the past twenty years he has been making his home among his children.  He married Miss Elizabeth Lonemore in about 1830 to which union was born sixteen children, nine of whom with the wife passed on before. The surviving children are:  Mrs. Mary Bryant of Henry Co., Mo., Henry Maxwell of Jasper Co., IA, Richard Maxwell of Hampton, IL, James F.  Maxwell of San Jose, CA,  Mrs. Christina Clinton of Henry Co., MO and Benjamin Maxwell of IL. Mr. Maxwell has a large circle of grandchildren and great grandchildren.  He served in the Black Hawk War under Captain McMurtry and has been a member of the Baptist church since 1878.  Funeral services were held in Hampton on Tuesday, Rev. J.A. Alford officiating.  Interment will take place in Knox County at North Henderson. –From notes of Jim Sanderlin. [OBITUARY FROM PORT BYRON GLOBE, October 2, 1895]

Notes: James was born in Kentucky and moved to Indiana with his parents in 1810 and then to Sangamon in 1822.

He was married to Elizabeth Larimore. Have copy of Black Hawk Military Records from the National Archives and IL Archives. – From  notes of Ann Maxwell.


 Obit from Knox County Newspaper at the time of her death, April 20, 1915

 Elizabeth, eldest child of Daniel and Mary Maxwell Robertson, was born September 12, 1831.  Her father was born in Scotland, June 12, 1804; his family coming to America in the same year.  They remained in New York State until 1821, when they came to Illinois, settling in Morgan County, where they remained until February 1828, when they established a home in Knox County; his father and two brothers remaining in Morgan County.  Thus, Daniel became the first settler of the county, also the first man to procure a marriage license in the county, (after its organization), November 24, 1830.  Her mother was of Scotch Irish descent, born in Indiana in 1813.  To this union were born five children:  Elizabeth, Alexander, Melissa, Thomas and Mary, the last name being Mrs. Mary Adcock of McCredie, MO, the only surviving member of this family.  After the death of his wife in 1840, Mr. Robertson in a few years married Miss Jane Riddle, a native of Kentucky, to whom were born five children:  John, Guinn, Amanda, and two boys, Harlin and Harbin; the latter now of Galesburg, IL, and Mrs. Amanda Briggs of Kansas, being the only survivors of this wife.  Elizabeth, the subject of this sketch, dated her earliest recollections back to the time when her uncle Alex held her in his arms, while other members of the family offered friendly greetings to the Indians, who came to the infant settlement, decked in the emblems of war.  This feeling of safety, which she experienced in the arms of her uncle, seemed to increase as she grew and waxed strong until it developed beautifully into spiritual and religious life very early.  Being the eldest of the family, she assumed a leading part in the cares and responsibilities of the home, learning much about converting wool and flax into cloth for home use, as all the settlers were wont to do in those pioneer days.  Her educational advantages were very limited, but she possessed a desire to help others to attain the blessings that she enjoyed, so when about seventeen years of age, she organized a Sabbath school, furnising Bibles for the poor; and the little ones she taught in their primers.  It was at this time that her zeal for doing good prompted her to persuade the poor little children of the settlement, who had no shoes to attend Sabbath school, by telling them that if they would come with bare feet, she would also, which she did.  Pride never held sway over her, for it, was one of her last prayers that she be saved from vanity and kept in the ways of purity and right.  As she was a student of the catechism, her first church home was among the Presbyterians, later she affiliated with the Methodists and finally the great desire to be baptized,  "Just as Jesus was," led her to a home in the Primitive Baptist Church, and she received full approval, for as she came straight-way up out of the water, to her, everything animate and inanimate seemed to praise the Lord; and since her soul was never rebuked for this baptism, she remained a faithful member for fifty-five years.  She was married to Isaac D. Reed, May 25, 1984.  He was born in Sangamon county, IL, in 1828.  The pair resided for three years with the husband's family four miles north of Galesburg; then removed to their new home a half mile north and east of Hendersonville, where the husband and father died September 28, 1871, leaving the wife and six children, the oldest son Daniel, having preceded the father to the better land in the fourth year of his life, November 30, 1860.  In the spring of 1874, the family sold this home and removed to Weller township, Henry County, near her two brothers, where she resided until the fall of 1883; she was prompted by her great love and sympathy for her deceased sister's children and husband to accept an offer of marriage which was consumated at her home. Therefore she rented her home and took up her abode with Mr. James Smelser three miles south of Woodhull.  However, after three years of painstaking domestic activity, she decided to return to the state of widowhood, returning with her youngest son to her own home, where mother and son reside for thirteen years, at this time the son married and moved himself, the elder son, J. F., occupying the homestead for five years, since which time almost eleven years she lived alone in her comfortable little home, enjoying the trees and flowers planted by her  children, the good-will and friendship of neighbors and friends who held her in highest esteem.  Of the six children that were left, Alexander, a noble son, died March 27, 1881, in the nineteenth year of his age.  The living children are: Mrs. F. M. Jordan of Winterset, Iowa, George T. of Sumner, Nebraska and J. F. and I. R. of Cambridge, Illinois. A second daughter, Mrs. Walter  Price of Earlham, Iowa, with whom she spent the last three months of her life, will ever bear witness of this life so completely hidden with Christ in God. The most beautiful emblem of pure love and union of souls is the marriage and marriage feast - yet richer is perfect death.  Seeking to remove all that was offensive in the sight of God she entered triumphantly the courts of her Redeemer, April 20, 1915, aged 83 years, 7months, and 8 days.  Funeral services were conducted at the Price home by Rev. Stibling of the Friends Church Wednesday afternoon, after which the remains were taken to Rio, Knox County, Illinois, where a service was held Thursday afternoon, April 22, by Elder Humphrey of Galesburg, burial being made in the Baptist cemetery beside her husband.  Thus is gone from us, the earthen vessel whose beauty will linger in the memory of her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and a host of friends who can only thank God for such a life.


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