Melugins Grove
Lee County
Ghost Town

The Second Lee County Settlement

Soon after the Blackhawk War ended, when settlers began to migrate toward Lee County, there came a man by the name of Zachariah Melugin. He was the son of Jonathan & Sarah (Mitchell) Melugin, born 29 August 1806. Most accounts I've seen show his birth occurred in Tennessee.

When the Blackhawk war broke out Zachariah Melugin found himself in Rock Island County IL. There he enlisted and traveled north to Dixon's Ferry with the volunteer troups. Zachariah Melugin was in the service along with Abraham Lincoln during this short battle with Blackhawk. They enlisted together on 3 occassions, were discharged on the same date. The enlistments during this war were for just one month periods. Another person who served with Zachariah was John Knapp Robison who would one day become his brother-in-law through his marriage to Zachariah's sister Mary.

        Photo contributed by Belinda McCormick

Zachariah was so struck by the beauty of the area around Dixon's Ferry that upon returning to Springfield, when the Indian hostilities were over, he settled his affairs quickley, to return to Dixon's Ferry.

Zachariah had become acquainted with John Dixon while stationed across the river during the Blackhawk War. He went to see John Dixon and their friendship was renewed. John Dixon then suggested that Zachariah might establish a mail station in the area. This he did, and in so doing established the second settlement in Lee County, about 20 miles from Dixon's Ferry.

The area, located in Brooklyn Township, Section 4, soon became known as Melugin's Grove. Zachariah built the first house in Lee County, outside of Dixon. Melugins Grove was to become a popular station on the stage line between Galena and Chicago, and the community quickly began to prosper, as people settled in to farm and raise their families.

Zachariah lived that first year in Melugins Grove by himself, in the crude cabin he had built, with little company outside of the Stage Coach passengers that passed through. The following year brought the arrival of his sister Mary in the spring of 1834.

Melugins Grove prospered and grew into a thriving and friendly community. Zachariah Melugin was the the first teacher in the community and the first justice of the peace. Melugins Grove had a Church, several homes, its own cemetery, a millinery, stores for every need, mills, and even its own Doctor.

The progress of Melugin's Grove continued on, even after the untimely death of its founder, Zachariah Melugin in 1842.

Melugin's Grove was officially established on the 8th of May 1841. The first Postmaster was Abram Christiance 8 May 1847, William T. Morgan 13 Nov. 1852, Thomas D. McClune 03 Sep 1857, William T. Morgan 12 Mar 1858, John C. Corbus 16 Feb 1860, Abel W. McFarland 25 Sep 1862, Mathias Holdren 16 Jan 1865, Jonathan N. Hyde 5 May 1865, Jason Young 14 Aug 1866, Francis N. Hyde 29 Apr 1868, Henry H. Carnahan 20 Jul 1869, Joseph F. Cole 10 Feb 1873. On July 16, 1873 Melugins Grove, became Compton.

The growth of Melugins' Grove ceased immediately when the Railroad came through and decided to bypass this community by going through Brooklyn Township at Compton, just a mile South. The town died a slow death and many dreams of the future perished with it. The homes and buildings disappeared, most were physically moved to their new locations in Compton. The Pioneer families left Melugins Grove to seek their fortunes elsewhere. From the ashes of Melugins Grove, emerged the booming town of Compton which virtually appeared overnight. The Kenyon Railroad, later to become the C B & Q (I belive this would be the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy) had brought about the demise of Melugins and the birth of Compton.

Today Melugin's Grove has returned to farm land and prairie. The only thing left are remnants of the old cemetery that protects its founders. Melugins Grove Cemetery suffers from years of neglect - it is reluctant to let go.

Some of the known family names buried at Melugins Grove Cemetery are: Atkinson/Bennett/Berry/Bowers/Carnahan/Christeance/Doctor/ Fairchild/Hills/Johnson/Hadden/Melugin/Moore/Sweet


Jonathan & Sarah (Mitchell) Melugin, the parents of Zachariah, also settled in Lee County with several of their children. Along with Zachariah there was Mary, John, Narcissa, Samuel, Eleanor, Jonathan Jefferson and Elizabeth.

1. Zachariah Melugin born 29 August 1806 TN, died 19 January 1842 in Melugins Grove, Lee Co IL. He married Mary Ross on October 21, 1834 in Ottawa, LaSalle Co IL. She was born 4 February 1814 to Joseph & Rhoda Ross, a native of DeKalb Co. IL. Mary died in Melugins Grove, Lee Co IL. 13 April 1880. Mary (Ross) Melugin married for the 2nd time to William Atkinson son of Charles Robison. Mary and William Atkinson had a daughter named Harriet E. Atkinson born 8 July 1845, died 28 October 1865. Harriet was the wife of Valentine Doctor who later moved to Wisconsin and married Mary Jane Lamport. I would suspect that Harriet might have died in childbirth since she was only 20 years old at her death. She is buried at Melugins Grove Cemetery.

The children of Zachariah & Mary (Ross) Melugin were:

A. John E. Melugin born 17 October 1835 died 13 November 1911 in Iowa. John was married to Adeline Schultz 22 March 1857 in Lee Co IL. Adeline was born 23 July 1836 in PA, daughter of Isaac & Margaret Schultz. They were the parents of 10 children; Laura J, Walter, Isaac, Mary, Theresa, Elizabeth Ann born 25 Nov 1864 married Samuel Sours 17 Sep 1883 in Iowa, Zachariah, William James born 21 May 1867, George and Clark. They moved to Floyd County Iowa around 1869.

B. George W. Melugin born 22 May 1837, died 20 September 1838. He is buried at Melugin's Cemetery.

C. Sarah Jane Melugin born 26 Jun 1838, died 10 May 1914 in Colorado. Sarah married Elijah Thomas 12 Jul 1857. Elijah was born 18 May 1835 in PA s/o Caleb & Priscella (Eves) Thomas. Sarah and Thomas had 11 children all together. They left Melugins Grove around 1869 to settle in Vernon Co Colorado where Elijah Thomas died, and is buried, in 1897. Sarah Jane spent her last years with their daughter Grace (Thomas) Thompson and is buried at Rose Lawn Cemetery in Pueblo Colorado.

D. Eliza Ann Melugin born 09 Feb 1840 - died 26 August 1921. Eliza Ann married Mathias Clarence Holdren on 24 Dec 1857 probably in Lee Co. They were the parents of the following children, all born in Compton, Lee County. Mary Abigail Holdren born 28 Oct 1858 died in 1943 Algona IA married to Charles Runchey, Charles Lewis born 24 May 1861 died in 1947 married to Katherine Larkin, Clara Luella born 24 July 1863 died 6 Jun 1945 married Zina Fairchild and both are buried in Melugins Cemetery, Lee Co IL., Emma Florence born 25 November 1865 died in Montana 1934 married to Joel McKinney, Lillie Jane born 21 March 1868 died 19 December 1944 married Edward Short & Nels Rasmussen, George Edward born 26 May 1870 died in 1942 Sioux Rapids Iowa married Mary Wolford, Zachariah Taylor born 29 September 1872 died in 1954 Spencer Iowa married Hallie Davis, Sarah Elizabeth born 21 October 1875 married several times - died in Rockford IL, Alice Josephine born 18 January 1880 married several times and also died in Rockford IL, and Cecelia Alvaretta born 30 April 1883 died in infancy.

E. Mary Elizabeth Melugin born 11 Mar 1841 died in 1909

F. Zachariah Melugin born 28 Apr 1842 died in the Civil War 19 Jun 1864

2. Mary was born 23 October 1810 in Montgomery Co TN., died 15 April 1879 in Mendota, LaSalle Co IL. She married John Knapp Robinson 10 September 1835 in LaSalle Co IL. John was born 2 October 1808 in Oneida Co NY, he died 27 January 1887 in Mendota, LaSalle Co IL the son of Charles & Jerusha (Kellog) Robison. They had the following children, all born in Melugins Grove, Lee Co IL. Jerusha Eliza Robison 10 January 1838, Martin R. Robison born 19 December 1839 - died 28 January 1841, Sarah E. Robison 19 December 1840, Amelia G. Robison born 6 April 1842 - died in Mason Co MI., Clarisa Marie Robison born 18 January 1844 - died in 1924 Kent Co MI., Mary Elizabeth Robison born 3 Jul 1846 - died 12 June 1874 in LaSalle Co IL, and Lewis Seth Robison 24 Jun 1849 died 23 May 1917 in Pleasant Grove Utah married to Mary Melissa Dreggs 1873 in Utah.

3. John was born around 1814 in TN, died in 1849 Colesburg, Delaware Iowa. I believe John probably married Matilda Lewis in Sangamon Co IL February 23, 1837.

4. Narcissa was born around 1817 in TN. died sometime after 1885 in Geneva, Kane Co IL. She was married to Johnson Whaley in Sangamon Co IL on the 2nd of August 1835.

5. Samuel was born about 1820, died 1870 in Brooklyn Twp., Lee Co IL. Sam married Aramenta McElyes 20 April 1843 in Lee Co IL.

6. Sarah Eleanor born 30 May 1823, died 28 May 1906 in Compton, Lee Co IL. Sarah was the wife of Ezra Berry born 9 July 1815 in Simonton ME, died 11 Jun 1903. Sarah Eleanor is buried at Melugins Cemetery and I believe Ezra is probably there also. They were the parents of Wilson, Ulyers, Mary, Nella, Ezra, Francis and Elizabeth all born in Melugins Grove.

7. Jonathan Jefferson was born 06 October 1825, died 7 Aug 1901 in Parkers Prairie, Otter Trail Co MN. Jonathan was married to Margaret E. Madden 18 March 1847, daughter of Joseph & Elizabeth (Carnahan) Madden. She was born 16 August 1828, died 22 January 1855 in Melugins Grove, Lee Co IL. They had a son John N. Melugin born 13 May 1849, but died a few days later on 18 May 1849, he is buried at Melugins' Grove Cemetery. Another son was William James Melugin born 9 March 1852 died 17 July 1902 in Eagle Bend MN. married to Amelia Draper. Their daughter Margaret Melugin was born 15 January 1855 and died 28 October 1855, also buried at Melugins Grove Cemetery. Margaret died just a few days after thei daughter Margaret was born. There is a Susan Melugin born 31 October 1833, died 14 January 1864. The headstone says she is the wife of J.J. Melugin. Apparently Jonathan married again after the death of his wife Margaret. Strangely enough there is another headstone that says Nancy E. Melugin 24 January 1849 -14 January 1864 - daughter of Jonathan & Susan Melugin. I believe it says Susan because she was the wife of Jonathan at the time of the young girls death. I belive Nancy would really have been the daughter of his first wife Margaret. Jonathan married a 3rd time to Katurah Caroline Lamb 15 Jan 1865. She was born 11 Sep 1840 died 24 Feb 1937 d/o David Smith Lamb & Nancy Eliza Dalton. Their children were: Eliza Jane Melugin b 20 Oct 1867 d 27 Jun 1962 married William H. Smith 12 Oct 1890. He was born 6 Oct 1868 died 27 Jul 1928, Merton Melugin b 5 Apr 1871 m Grace Desire Taylor. She was b 8 May 1876. He also married Marie Smith 14 Mar 1913, she wsa born 20 Feb 1879, Delilah Agnes Melugin b 2 Oct 1873 married John Wilhelm Smith 2 Feb 1892. He was born 6 Jul 1866 d 14 Apr 1918, Bertha Mae Melugin b 25 Nov 1874 d 29 Jan 1954 married Frank Prescott Hutchinson 11 May 1907. He was born 8 May 1870 and died 8 Feb 1954

8. Elizabeth was born around 10 February 1828, married William Abbott Judd 03 December 1844 in Lee Co Il. Elizabeth died 1 October 1912 in Iowa and is buried at West Side Cemetery, Union, Floyd Co Iowa. Children of Elizabeth and Wm Abbot were: Alice Adelaide 22 November 1848, Eliza A 27 April 1850, William Martin, George W and Mary Therese 17 August 1860. The family moved to Floyd Co IA in the 1860's.