Levi Robey

UNCLE LEVI IS NO MORE - Death has claimed Mr. Robey, of McConnell, after a long and severe illness
HE WAS A KING OF PIONEERS - His history was indelibly linked with that of Stephenson County
The Funeral. Uncle Levi Robey, of McConnell, died last evening at 9:15 o'clock, after a long and severe illness in the 87th year of his age. This news comes not unexpected, because for the last few weeks he has been hovering between life and death. Kind friends and able physicians combined love and skill to save him, but were unable to do so. No man in the county was so well known, nor more highly respected than he. His force of character was remarkable, his excellent disposition and kindness of heart were well known, his generosity and industry were frequently commented on. He was one of that race of pioneers who are fast sinking away. He came with others to a mighty wilderness and a great plain and helped build for posterity. Their work was well done. Great cities rose on the banks of the old Pecatnica , homes were established where the Sacs and Foxes once roamed and the forest fell under the woodmen's blows to make a place for smiling harvest fields. "Uncle" Levi Robey has marveled at these strange transformations and the rising generations have been glad of the opportunity to honor him. At the old settlers' meeting his face was a familiar one and many are there who have listened to his golden words of reminiscence. Stephenson county parts with Levi Robey regretfully. His name will ever be linked with her glorious history and all the coming generations will recall his memory and call it blessed. He lived the simple life of an American nobleman. The city had no charm for him. The quiet of his country home was music to his soul. All who called were entertained hospitably, as in the olden time when the settlements were few and far between. He was perhaps the oldest living settler in Stephenson county. He did more than any other man in the organization of the county and was ever active in promoting its progress. Mr. Robey was born in Washington township, Scioto Co., Ohio, October 22, 1807. His father, William Robey, was a native of Maryland, and his grandfather, also named William, served under Gen. Clark during the Revolutionary war, and assisted in driving the British from the soil of his native state. After this trouble had ended in the victory of the colonists, William Robey, Sr., in company with five or six others, repaired to Kentucky and made a claim, put up a log cabin and contemplated returning home for the winter, but before completing their preparations the entire party, with one exception, was murdered by the Indians, including William Robey. He had been married, but his wife had not accompanied him to Kentucky. She was afterward married to Philip Moore, of Maryland. After peace had been declared between England and the colonies the Moore family removed to the Northwestern Territory and located in that portion now included in the state of Ohio. The journey over the mountains was made with pack-horses, and the father of our subject located at the mouth of the Scioto river, which was then designated as the "Nile of America." The Robey family were among the earliest settlers of that region. Mr. Moore also cleared a farm and there spent the last years of his life. Grandmother Moore survived her husband several years, and also died in what is now Jo Daviess county in Illinois. William Robey, Jr., the father of our subject, was but four years old when his parents removed to the Northwestern territory, and in common with the others was conveyed on a pack horse across the Alleghany mountains. As soon as old enough he engaged in boating on the Scioto and Ohio rivers, and upon reaching manhood became the owner of several boats, by which means he transported produce from Portsmouth to other points. During one of his expeditions he purchased a pony, and riding across the country, visited his old friend, Daniel Boone, in Kentucky. He remained a resident of Scioto county, Ohio, until 1834, then disposing of his interests in that region, he started in the month of June for the praries of Illinois, whither his family had preceded him a few weeks. They joined him in Hennepin, where they spent the summer, and in the fall came to that part of Jo Daviess county which is now included in Stephenson. They first stopped at Brewster Ferry, which now lies in Winslow Township, and renting the Brewster farm, carried on agriculture and operated the ferry across the Pecatonica river until 1836. Afterward Mr. Robey made a claim in Buckeye Township, on the present site of the village of Cedarville. He secured his title as soon as the land came into market and lived there several years, then crossing the Mississippi, went down into Texas and located twelve or fourteen miles north of Austin and not far from Round Rock. There he improved the farm which he occupied until his death in 1877, after he had reached the advanced age of ninety-eight years. His wife, the mother of our subject, was Mary, the daughter of Judge John Collins, one of the earliest pioneers of Scioto county, Ohio. She also died in Texas. The parental family included twelve children, eight of whom grew to mature years. Levi Robey was educated in the subscription schools of his native county, which were conducted in a log cabin with puncheon floor, slabs for seats and desks, and greased paper for window panes. His studies were conducted mostly in the winter season, and as soon as large enough his services were utilized on the farm. In due time he developed into a pedagogue, following teaching, however, but a short time, and afterward traveled over the country selling clocks. He was married when twenty-six years of age, to Miss Almira Waite, the wedding taking place at the home of the bride in Washington Township, Ohio, Dec. 26, 1833. The following April, accompanied by his wife and his mother's family, he started for Illinois, proceeding via the Ohio, Illinois, and Mississippi rivers, and then by hired teams traveled sixteen miles further, where Mr. Robey rented a tract of land and remained until fall. He then started for Jo Daviess County, equipped with teams of oxen and horses. At Dixon they met a party of Indians who frightened one of the oxen so that he broke loose from the yoke, but was caught after much chasing. Soon after his arrival Mr. Robey entered a claim on section 1, of what is now Waddams Township, and on St. Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 1835, signalized himself as the first settler of the township. It had not yet been subdivided but afterward became a part of Stephenson county. Mr. Robey made it his first business to put up a log cabin, which was located on the northwest quarter of section 1, and which he occupied with his family twelve years. In 1847 he sold out and purchased his present homestead. The nearest market during these pioneer days was at Galena, forty-five miles away, and Chicago for several years was relatively unheard of. The postage on a letter was twenty-five cents which often proved a larger sum that a settler could raise. Had it not been for the people required to operate the lead mines the settlers would probably have been compelled to transport their produce even farther than Galena. Mr. Robey watched with intense satisfaction the gradual development of the rich resources of his state, and was no unimportant factor in the building up of Waddams township. He was uniformly successful in his labors, meeting with ample reward for his toil and sacrifices. He became identified with local matters at the beginning, and was one of the commissioners appointed to lay off the townships in this county. He represented the people of Waddams on the county board of supervisors seven years, and served as justice of the peace, receiving his appointment from Gov. Duncan. There were few enterprises connected with the public welfare in which he was not consulted and no man took a warmer interest in the prosperity of the country around him. He cast his first presidential vote for Andrew Jackson, and since that time has been a staunch supporter of democratic principles. The wife of our subject, who has been the cheerful and patient sharer of his fortunes for a period of more than sixty years is the daughter of Asa and Lydia (Kendal) Waite. Of her marriage with our subject there were born five children, of whom the record is as follows: William A. operates a farm in Nora, Ill., Louisa E. is the wife of Robert Young, a farmer of Rock City; Cyrus A. is a resident of California; Mary A. married James L. Hartsough and lives at Nora; Levi Woodbury occupies the homestead. Our subject and his wife are connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, Mrs. Robey being the oldest member of that church in this county. There are thirteen grandchildren left as follows: William W. Young of Freeport; Elmira V., McConnell; Della E., Margaret J., and Sadie Young, Rock City; Mrs. Jennie Marshall, Frank, Lulu, Anna and James Hartsough, Nora; Roy, Nellie and Eunice Robey, McConnell. There is but one great-grandchild, Willard Marshall. Although 81 years old, Mrs. Robey is in good health. Mr. and Mrs. Robey celebrated their sixtieth marriage anniversary December 26, 1893. The funeral will be held tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.
Freeport, Illinois newspaper 27 March, 1895. Submitted by: Randy Campbell on 17 Jan 2000

The funeral of the late Levi Robey was held at 11 o'clock this morning from the home. There was an immense concourse of people present. The funeral director4s were Robert Leamon of Lena and Cart Solace of McConnell. The pall bearers were S. Fair, S. Stiles, P. Klechner, E. Lephard, A. Stoll, and J. Stocet. Elder Moore of Polo officiated and paid a glowing tribute to the life and works of the deceased.
ibid, 29 March, 1895. Submitted by: Randy Campbell on 17 Jan 2000

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