John Roberts left his home in Maryland in 1812 and went to Wilson County, Tennessee. John Roberts, with his sons, George, William, Augustus and William’s son Thomas, came from Wilson County, Tennessee to Franklin County, Illinois in 1818 and settled two miles south of Jordan’s Fort. It was in section 21, of what is now Corinth Township of Williamson County. With him came Zodack Mitchell and Sion Hunt Mitchell and their families.
The Roberts family joined the Methodist Class that met in the home of Richard Ratcliff led by a local preacher named William Burns. Soon Zion Church was organized.
John Sutton Roberts, third son of John Roberts, followed the family and built a horse powered tread grist mill in 1823. William Ruff Roberts and John Wesley Yost built a carding mill near the grist mill. The Golconda to Marion Post Road was built in 1841. It passed by the carding mill. Then Thomas Stewart opened a general store in the community was self-supporting by the beginning of the Civil War.
During the war the Roberts Community supplied much or the personnel of the 29th Illinois Infantry. Among them were Captain John Page Mitchell, Lieutenant John Leander Roberts, Sergeant Virgil A. Stewart and Sergeant James Chadwell.
News from the battlefields was too precious to be delayed, so the people of Roberts Community petitioned for a post office. It was opened in Stewart’s Store and named Corinth for the village in Tennessee from which the Stewarts came. The petition was granted and Corinth Post Office opened August 16, 1864, with Thomas Rice Stewart as postmaster. The post office was closed June 15, 1911.
Corinth has its own post of G.A.R. (number 434). It was organized in 1868, two years after order was founded. Andrew Jackson Lodge 487 of the Masonic Order was organized October 3, 1866. The Odd Fellows lodge was organized in 1873.
Doctor Samuel Minton Mitchell was the first physician in Corinth. He was succeeded by his son Dr. Harry C. Mitchell. Dr. Samuel’s wife taught school from 1860 to 1885 in Corinth. She was a graduate of the New York Conference Seminary, class of 1854. She was a native of New Hampshire and Williamson County’s first writer.
The blacksmith shop was opened by a man named Peterson. Toward the close of the nineteenth century it was sold to A.W. Ray, who worked in it until his death. A. W. Ray’s son, Fred, continued to forge there until it closed for lack of business. A.W. and Fred Ray are buried in the Zion Cemetery.
After the Civil War, Francis M. Roberts and his brother H.L. Roberts opened a dry goods store and casket shop. They also built and ran a flour mill, a saw mill and they built a stock pen and bought cattle and hogs. The livestock was driven to Thompsonville seven miles away and shipped from there to the city markets by rail. A grocery store and a farm implement agency was run by Larkin Roberts. The post office was moved to his store. Each of these buildings were two story. Above one was the Modern Woodmen of America and Royal Neighbor Lodges. Above the other was the Odd Fellows and Rebekah Lodges. H.L. and Francis Roberts are buried in Zion churchyard.
The Zion United Methodist Church is still standing and much alive. It has a full-time pastor with about 25 members. The Sunday school attendance averages 15. The building is a frame structure painted white, with a full basement, a steeple with bell, stained glass windows and it is beautifully furnished.
In the churchyard rests the bodies or the leaders and founders of the community, including Sion Hunt Mitchell, who came here in 1818.
Today the church stands, the two store buildings are gone. So are the blacksmith shop, the flour mill, sawmill, and all other businesses and industries. Eleven houses remain. E.E. Roberts lives across the street from the house in which he was born and reared. Some of the houses in Corinth are quite old. The busy days are gone. Corinth is now a quiet rural residential community.
(Ghost Towns of Southern Illinois, by Glenn J. Sneed, published 1977)