Corinth History

Corinth is a village and former post office in section 21, Corinth Township. The neighborhood was first known as Roberts’ settlement, and that family with their connections has dominated its entire development. John Roberts (1748-1823), his sons George and William Augustus, with the latter’s son, Thomas Roberts, left their home in Maryland about 1812 and journeyed to Wilson county, Tennessee. Most of the family stayed there, but the four named came on to Illinois and settled two miles south of Frank Jordan’s fort. The Tennessee relations came to Illinois in the spring of 1818, with them Zadock Mitchell, Sion Hunt Mitchell, and their families. That year Illinois became a state, Thomas Roberts was active as a member of the constitutional convention and as a state senator.

Corinth Google viewThe Roberts families joined a Methodist class that met in the home of Richard Ratcliff under the guidance of William Burns, a local preacher. By the time there were fifteen or twenty families in the settlement, they built Zion church.

John Sutton Roberts, third son of John Roberts, built a horse mill in 1823, one of the first in the county. The mill owner’s son and nephew, William Rufus Roberts and John Wesley Yost, built a carding machine. A state road from Galatia to Marion past this carding machine was provided by the legislature in 1841. With a general store on Thomas Rice Stewart’s farm, the community was prosperous and self-sustaining by the time of the Civil war.

Many of the men volunteered, chiefly in Company E of the 29th Illinois infantry. Among them were Captain Jehu Page Mitchell, a veteran of ’49; Lieutenant John Leander Roberts, Sergeant Virgil A. Stewart, and Sergeant James Chadwell, who was detailed as regimental color-bearer. News from the men in the held was too precious to be delayed, so the residents of Roberts’ community petitioned for a post office of their own. The 29th regiment was constantly engaged at the siege of Corinth, and the home folks sought to honor their soldiers by choosing that name.

Corinth post office was established August 16, 1864 with Thomas Rice Stewart as first postmaster.

1908 Corinth PO Plat Map

1908 Corinth PO Plat Map

His wife, Elizabeth (Mitchell) Stewart, eagerly awaited letters from their son, Lieutenant William Augustus Stewart. Postmaster Stewart had another interest in the name Corinth, for before his parents lived near Bank Lick Creek, they lived near Corinth, Tennessee. So the office in his general store recalled many family memories by its name.

John Leander Roberts, veteran of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, and Mobile, served as quartermaster of his regiment during the last months of his enlistment. When he returned to civilian life, he bought Postmaster Stewart’s stock of goods and secured the appointment as postmaster February 3, 1871. John L. Roberts was the son and heir of the carding machine owner, William Rufus Roberts who made his home on Roberts prairie; and he moved the store and post office to a more convenient location, nearer Zion church and Roberts mill. Charles Chadwell, his step-father, was his first partner. During forty years of merchandising and milling, John L. Roberts built fine new buildings, a store in 1873 and a mill in 1876. He first married Hannah Mitchell, daughter of his Civil war captain. After her death, he married Mallie E. Hearne, whose father was one of Marion’s early teachers, William Hearne. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts’ daughters were Mrs. T. R. Malone of Boone, Colorado, and Mrs. W. F. Tidwell of Pittsburg.

James Chadwell bought out his partner and step-brother when John L. Roberts retired in 1909. The appointment as postmaster came to Mr. Chadwell April 26, 1909 but the office was closed June 15, 1911. James Chadwell passed the store on to his son-in-law, but both Mr. and Mrs. E. Oscar Roberts are now gone.

Corinth had its own Grand Army of the Republic Post, number 434, organized in 1868 less than two years after the order was founded at Decatur. Andrew Jackson lodge 487 of the Masons was organized there October 3, 1866. The Masons erected their own building across the road from Roberts’ store. Odd Fellows lodge, number 502, organized in 1873 and had their hall above the Roberts’ store.

The children of Corinth went to school many years in Zion church house, or the church services were held in a log school house. Then Center School was built.

Dr. Samuel Minton Mitchell was Corinth’s devoted physician, and his son. Dr. Henry C. Mitchell, succeeded him. The former was a member of the legislature. The Mitchell country home, Cedarhurst, was a center from which the religious and educational life of Corinth was molded. May Maria Moulton became Dr. Samuel M. Mitchell’s wife in 1860 and taught Corinth children each year until her death in 1885. She was a graduate of New York Conference seminary, class of 1854, and a native of New Hampshire. Mrs. Mitchell was Williamson County’s first woman writer, and she influenced the citizens of Corinth to provide superior educational advantages for their children.

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939, on sale at the Williamson County Museum)