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History of John Miller Camron Family


John M. Camron, Nephew and partner of James Rutledge in the mill and town of New Salem, was born in 1790 in the state of Georgia. He was the son of Thomas and Nancy (Miller) Camron, his mother being the sister of James Rutledges wife. Camron was a millwright by trade and a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher by ordination. His parents were born in Scotland and came to this country with their parents when they were children. They married in Georgia and had ten children: four sons John, Thomas Jr., James M., and William, and six daughters - Susanna (1792-1883), who married William Rutledge (1790-1864) a brother of Anne Rutledge; Nancy, Flora, Annie, Polly (1804-1880) who married 1824 Absalom Maxwell and who lived in Fulton County, Ill. (55years), where she died, and Jane Camron. 

Thomas Camron Sr. was first cousin with Simon Camron, United States Senator from Pennsylvania and Secretary of War under President Lincoln. John Camron married Polly Orndorff (spelling varies) in the state of Kentucky. She was of Russian descent. He followed the fortunes of the Rutledge Families from Georgia to Tennessee, from there to Kentucky, then White County, and from there to the southern part of Sangamon County, and in 1825 settled with them in Concord neighborhood, about seven miles north of New Salem. He entered in 1828 the land on which New Salem was located, and he and James Rutledge built a dam across the Sangamon River and erected a grist and sawmill combined, which they operated by water power. The settlers from all around brought their teams and wagons and, without charge, hauled rock to fill the log pens, side by side in the river to make the dam. Camron built his home at New Salem some time in 1828, erecting it on the south slope of the ridge running east and west protecting it from the cold. He and his wife raised one son and eleven daughters. In 1829 to 1833 he was very prominent in business affairs, conveying many tracts of property. After 1833 no deed or transfer of property to which he was a party is to be found until 1841, when he conveyed the balance of his land at New Salem, including the mill, to Jacob Bale. This deed was acknowledged a magistrate in Jefferson County, Iowa. Evidently he left New Salem in the fall of 1833 or spring of 1834 and settled in Iowa. From Iowa he later moved to California and died there. 

(Copied from Reep's "Lincoln at New Salem," by John W. Gellerman, Postmaster,  Lincoln's New Salem, Illinois.)

Other information regarding the family follows: John Miller Camron was born in Elbert County, Georgia, August 12, 1790, 1790, died near Sebastopol, California, February 21, 1878, and was buried in the Sabastopol Cemetery. He was married January 12, 1811, when about twenty-one years old, in Henderson County, Kentucky, by the Rev. James McGready, to Mary (Polly) Orendoff, who was born in Georgia, January 13, 1794, and died near Sebastopol. March 25, 1875, She is buried in the family plot in the Sebastopol Cemetery. Mr. Camron married a second time, August 12, 1876, Mrs Sarah Ann Rogers, born in Alexandria, Virginia, April 11,1811, who died in Oakland, California, of cancer of the breast, May 6 1887,and was buried beside her late husband in the Sebastopol Cemetery.

Among the families moving into Illinois south of the Sangamon River were a couple of Cumberland Presbyterian Church families. Rev Green P Rice, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, preached in that neighborhood. John M Camron, who at the age of nineteen under the guidance and evangelism of theRev. James McGready had made public profession of religion, now opened his log cabin to the Rev. Mr Rice and soon united with the Cumberland Presbyterians toa form a congregation in the community and was elected Ruling Elder. In the spring of 1827 he was received into the care of the Illinois Presbytery as a candideat for the ministery, subsequently included and licensed by the Sangamon Presbytery, His first sermon was preached in the home of Samuel Berry, father of Baxter Bel Berry, a future son-in-law of Mr. Camron Moving into Iowa, Mr. Camron labored diligently "for the Lord" until 1849, when he led an emigrant train to the Sacramento Valley, California, where again he resumed his ardent and fervent preaching in the Sacramento and Martinez communities. Finally settling in Green Valley, near Sebastopol, He continued his ministry in Sonoma and Santa Clara Counties until his death. He attended a state meeting in Sonoma, Snonoma County as late as October 1872 and had the reputation of letting nothing but a clear providential hindrance ever prevent his attendance upon a meeting of his profession or church organization.

John M Camron wrote his name without the letter "e". In the inscriptions on the tombstones of himself and his wife, Mary, in the Sebostopol Cemetery, the surname is without an "e". Also on the tombstone of his only son, Thomas Porter Camron, who is buried in Cypress Hill Cemetery, Petaluma, Sonoma County,1854, the "e" is omitted. Annie Naomi Camron Hammill, a granddaughter of Thomas Porter Camron and daughter of Alva Orendorff Camron, said her father also spelled his name without the "e", but since the plot of Alva O. Camron and his wife Elizabeth Ann Stanley, in Cypress Hill has been given cemetery care the name has been "Cameron". When John Camron second wife, Mrs. Sara Ann Rogers, was buried in the Sebastopol plot in 1887 the name on her tombstone was inscribed "Cameron". It has been said "Camron" is the Scottish form and "Cameron" the English. In later years the children and grandchildren of Thomas Porter Camron used the "Cameron" form. Whether the name became changed through ignorance of funeral directors and cemetery official or through lack of instruction by the family is not known.

The Rev. Mr. Camron and his wife, Mary, had twelve children: Elizabeth (Besty) Preston, 1813-1896; Thomas Porter Camron, 1814-1854; Vienna (Vian) Mitchell, 1815-1906; Nancy Miller, 1818-1890; Mary Jane, 1820-1898; Martha (Marthy) M, 1822-1905; Sara, 1824-1854; Sorena (twin), 1827-1915; Solena (twin), 1827-before 1849; Eliza Arminda, 1832-1916; Caroline Thela, 1834-1922; and Margaret Angeline, 1836-1928.


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