The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Lakeview descendants gather near Carrier Mills

  • Over Memorial Day weekend, members of the families of the original settlers of the Lakeview Community gathered a Lakeview Cemetery to celebrate their annual reunion.
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  • Over Memorial Day weekend, members of the families of the original settlers of the Lakeview Community gathered a Lakeview Cemetery to celebrate their annual reunion.
    This event gathered from our area and all over the country members of the families who settled the community of Lakeview in 1818 to 1820. A group of free black men and women from North Carolina moved to Illinois and established their community at a location about one mile south of Carrier Mills.
    Census records indicate that the first settlers were the Allen, Blackwell, Taborn, Mitchell, Evans, Cofield, and Cole Families. These earliest Lakeview residents were most self-sufficient. These settlers subsisted through farming and hunting and owned large tracts of land in the area.
    At it's height, the settlement of farmsteads covered an area of some three square miles and had a school, several churches and a store, centered along what is now Taborn Road. The community dwindled after the school was closed in 1950 and most of the community moved to nearby Carrier Mill, though residents remaining near the Lakeview Cemetery are mostly African-American.
    Diane Taborn, one of the event volunteers said she had first started coming to the reunion with her husband.
    “After he passed on, I began coming every year,” Taborn said.
    Cecil Portee left the area in 1948 and now resides in Maywood.
    “I have been coming here for this reunion for a long time,” Portee stated.
    Mark Cole is one of the driving forces behind the reunion continuing, he feels it is very important for the younger generations to know where their families come from and the heritage they share.
    “My father was from one of the founding families,” Cole said. “I come to the reunion almost every year. I feel it helps promote greater family unity, the young people need to learn their family history, who they are and where they and their families come from and the background they share.”
    Lakeview Cemetery was established in 1838 and a walk through the cemetery is a trip back in American military history. The grave markers of Buffalo Soldiers and United States Colored Infantry Soldiers stand in the oldest section of the graveyard and Veterans from Korea through Vietnam lie in peace and honor on the grounds of the cemetery. The ghosts of the men who served their nation walk beside one, whispering in ones ear their feelings of patriotism and loyalty to the Republic.
    Larry Mullinix, an Army veteran who lives in our area feels very strongly about honoring these veterans.
    “I came out here on the first Memorial Day after I retired from the service. There were no flags on the grave of the veterans here. It was very upsetting to me,” Mullinix said.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I have taken it upon myself to see to it these men are honored as the deserve.” Mullinix’s voice choked with emotion when he added, “These my are my brothers, my brothers, I feel like I'm the guardian of the veterans at this cemetery.”
    Mullinix and a friend, Bret Hope Jennings completed a cemetery registry of Lakeview, locating first veterans graves, then, after further research in the records at the Saline County courthouse, matching those listed as buried in Lakeview to grave site as far as possible.
    “We found a lot of people are buried here with no markers or simply stones to mark the sites,” Mullinix said.
    Mullinix says that there are some 117 to 120 veterans buried in Lakeview Cemetery. Mullinix showed the Daily Register two markers, Levi Barrett believed to be the oldest veteran burial in the cemetery and Corporal William A. Broadey, CO. B 28th United States Colored Infantry another of the oldest burials in Lakeview.
    The members of this community were an integral element of the early history of Saline County, and the families that continue the Lakeview Cemetery Reunion are determined to continue and transmit this heritage from generation to generation.
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