They Left Their Mark In Oakford, 1872

Trailing Lincoln....
Page 5

....Through Sandridge and Oakford precincts during the 1830s is possible through careful research of available documents. The following annals reflect Lincoln's great interest in this Sangamon wilderness.

APRIL 1831. Abe Lincoln first visited this area as a helper on a flatboat on the way from Sangamon town to New Orleans via the Samgamon, Illinois, and Mississippi Rivers. On April 19 the boat lodged on New Salem mill dam and probably made it to Miller's Ferry. Sandridge Precinct by the 20th or 21st. Since the river was low that year, it is doubtful they floated at night. Very likely, they tied up for the night at Miller's Landing.

MARCH 13, 1832 Lincoln and a group of interested friends walked to Beardstown to meet the "Talisman", a steamboat enroute to Springfield via the Sangamon River. On the trip back, they used their long handled axes to chop overhanging tree limbs obstructing the way.

1832 According to a Sutton family story the "Tailsman" tied up for the night at their mill at the mouth of Clary's Creek which then emptied into Swiss Slough. Lincoln was a crew member. This was their first acquaintance with Abraham Lincoln.

MARCH 15, 1832. Lincoln's House of Representative candidacy platform speech appeared in the Springfield paper. His detailed description of improvements necessary to make the Sangamon navigable is proof of his great interest in our area.

MARCH 25, 1832 The "Talisman" docked at Sangamontown near Springfield. Because of the declining water level, a week later Lincoln helped pilot the vessel on its hasty return to Beardstown. By now. Lincoln was well acquainted with the Sangamon channel.

JULY 17, 1832. Lincoln returned by boat from the Black Hawk to Havana, then walked to New Salem via Miller's Ferry. He and George Miller were now close friends.

1833-1834. Lincoln engaged in business at New Salem.

1834. Upon mastering surveying. Lincoln was appointed Deputy Surveyor of Sangamon County. His area in the northwest part of the county included Sandridge Precinct.

JANUARY 29, 1835. Representiative Abraham Lincoln introduced a bill for a road from Springfield to Miller's Ferry.

FEBRUARY 6, 1835. Lincoln made a motion to the House for an "act to improve the navigation of the Sangamon River" from Beardstown to Miller's Ferry.

DECEMBER 11, 1835, Lincoln chaired a House committee and was subsequently appointed to consider incorporating the Sangamon Valley Canal Company.

DECEMBER 12, 1835. He supported bill to incorporate the Beardstown Sangamon Canal Company.

FEBRUARY 13, 1836. Promoting the canal company. Lincoln addressed a large crowd at Petersburg, Illinois pleading to the people to buy subscriptions. Seventy-eight shares were sold with Lincoln purchasing one. At this time the proposed canal prospects seemed good.

MARCH 8, 1836. A petition written by Lincoln was circulated and presented by George Miller to the County Commissioners for a new road to be established from the Morgan County Line near Watkins's Mill northeast to Miller's Ferry. The road would pass from one end of the precinct to the other.

MARCH 16, 1836. Lincoln purchased a tract of 47 acres at $1.25 per acre on the Sangamon River a mile east of Miller's Ferry (N pt NW Sec 3 T 19-N-R 7 W) Old fishermen still refer to this long hair pin curve in the Sangamon River as "Lincoln's Bend"

MARCH 1836. Lincoln surveyed the town of Huron at Miller's Ferry for a group of Springfield speculators.

MAY 21, 1836. Lincoln certified survey of Huron at the eastern terminus of proposed Beardstown and Sangamon Canal at Miller's Ferry.

JUNE 1, 1836. Lincoln surveyed and located the Watkin's Mill-Huron road and then northeast towards Pekin. Oakford was founded on this road in 1872 OCTOBER 30, 1836. Lincoln stopped at Deer Lick Tavern overnight enroute to survey Bath, Illinois.

NOVEMBER 1, 1836. Lincoln again stayed at the Deer Lick Tavern as he returned from Bath via Purdy-McGinnus Ferry. The tavern was located a quarter mile southwest of the Royal Armstrong residence.

JANUARY 16, 1837. Lincoln presented the Beardstown and Sangamon Canal petition to the House of Representatives.

MAY 9, 1837. Apparently sensing the doom of the proposed canal. Lincoln sold his tract of land near Miller's Ferry for $30.

JULY 13, 1837. Lincoln presented a bill for a road from Beardstown to Petersburg through Robinson Mill on Clary's Creek. Robinson and Lincoln were good friends. Family stories tell of Lincoln boarding often with the Miller's while surveying in the area.

As these facts prove. Lincoln was deeply interested in our area. Undoubtedly, Lincoln was a friend to many of the early settlers---perhaps your ancestors.

In the 1870s the railroad crossed Lincoln's Walkin's Mill to Miller's Ferry road. At this crossing William Oakford and Colson had the town of Oakford surveyed in 1872.

Shortly afterwards, the exodus from Robinson Mills (Bobtown) began. Some moved their houses to this more promising site.