THOMAS MAXWELL ROBERTSON
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.
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