Camron, John M.

Born: 1791-08-12 Elbert County, Georgia

Died: 1878-02-21 Sonoma County, California

Alternate name: Cameron

Camron married Mary (Polly) Orendorff on January 12, 1811, in Kentucky, and the couple had eleven daughters and one son. In 1815, Camron moved his family to the Illinois territory, settling in Sangamon County in 1818. Ordained as a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian church on April 20, 1827, Camron preached his first sermon in the home of Samuel Berry. In 1828, Camron was one of the founders of New Salem, Illinois, where he built a saw and grist mill. When Abraham Lincoln arrived in New Salem in 1831, he voted at Camron's house, which served as a polling place, and lived there for a brief time as well. When Camron and his wife Polly sold 120 acres of land in Sangamon County and a lot in New Salem in December 1831, Lincoln signed the deeds as a witness. In September 1832, Camron advertised the sale of the New Salem mill and in 1833 he moved to Fulton County, Illinois, where he built a grist and saw mill on Spoon River. The latter mill and several others in Fulton County drew many settlers and visitors. His mill was located near Bernadotte about twenty miles upriver from Havana, Illinois. Camron moved to Iowa in the early 1840s, and in 1849, he moved his family to California. In 1860, he was a farmer in Sonoma County, and he owned $5,000 in real property and $2,000 in personal property.

Benjamin P. Thomas, Lincoln's New Salem (1954; reprint, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988), 4-5, 13, 22, 34, 42-43; Deed of John M. Camron and Polly Camron to John McNamar; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 29 September 1832, 3:2; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Sonoma County, CA, 495; Gravestone, Sebastopol Memorial Lawn Cemetery, Sebastopol, CA.