Robert P. Main

Robert P. MainRobert Palmer Main, born in Stonington, Conn., and Cordelia Dakin Main, born in Clinton County, Ohio, came to Wisconsin in 1845 in a covered wagon, settling on a farm three miles south of Oregon.  Both were schoolteachers, and their home became a meeting place for other pioneers.  Mr. Main, a justice of the peace, was also elected to the Assembly.

On his weekly trips to the legislature at Madison, he was always accompanied by his small son, Edwin Dakin, both on horseback.  At the outskirts of Madison, the little ten year old boy would turn back, leading his father’s horse through the dense woods over the trail to Oregon. Mr. And Mrs. Main owned a farm in Rutland and later came to Oregon, living where F.E. Madsen’s store was located.  Later they moved to the Main home, which still stands on Janesville Street near the village park.

Mrs. Main and four of her children all lived to be approximately 90 years old.

Well Known Men of the Community. IN Souvenir of Oregon Centennial, Supplement to the OREGON OBSERVER, June 26, 1941, p. 35.


Robert P. Main family
Photo provided by Shirley Erfurth
Robert P. Main family photo: (Back row) Edwin, Alice, Anna, Harriet;
(Front) Frances, Cordelia Ann, and Walter

HON. R.P. MAIN, Oregon; is of Connecticut ancestry, and was born May 13, 1816, in Stonington, Conn.; he attended the common schools, and for a short time the academy of Stonington; taught school in Charleston, R.I., and in 1836 in New Jersey, then attended a select school in Philadelphia for a time. He next visited “Ole Virginny,” thence to Washington, where he became familiar with the countenances of Webster, Calhoun, Crittenden, Robert P. MainBenton, etc. Journeying south through North Carolina, he strayed into Kentucky, and taught a term of summer school; next he went to Ohio, and taught school, and met his fate, i. e., he was married in 1838 to Miss Cordelia A. D. Dakin, daughter of Preserved and Elizabeth C. (Prosser) Dakin; Preserved Dakin was a Quaker, who left his native place in Dutchess County, N.Y. for Ohio in 1804; Mrs. Main was born, educated and married in Oakland, Clinton Co., Ohio; she began at fifteen and taught school until married.After six years of farming in Oakland, they removed to Wabash County, Ill. Finding the climate sickly, they came North, reaching Rome Corners July 28, 1845, Mr. Main entering a new farm on Sec. 13, were he built a 12×14 log house, “having not only a floor, but a carpet,” says Mrs. M.; provisions were brought from Milwaukee, and their furniture was scant, yet they took an occasional border. “The best and kindliest of feelings prevailed, as in all new settlements and the latch-string always hung out.” Nineteen years of steady work secured a good farm and home, Mr. Main then exchanging for his present 200-acre farm on Sec. 7 in Rutland.

In the fall of 1871, they settled in a roomy and well-appointed home in the village; this house burned with its entire contents in 1873, the pioneer couple having a narrow escape; since this they have occupied a smaller, yet most pleasant home, Mr. M, managing his farm. He was one of the leaders in the Republican organization in Wisconsin, and one of the members of the first Republican Assembly; is best known as Squire Main, having been Justice of the Peace for eight or ten years. Disgusted with the subserviency of the two “great” parties to the moneyed aristocracy, he has for some years been a member of the Greenback party; was nominated Sept. 9, 1880, as candidate from the Second District for Congress.

Mrs. Main is a member of the Presbyterian and he a member of the M.E. Church, in which he is Sabbath school Superintendent. The squire is a leading Mason, belonging to the Oregon Lodge and Evansville Chapter. Mr. and Mrs. Main have reared eight children-M. Francis, Louisa A., Harriet E., Martha E., E. Dakin, Anna M., Alice C. and R. Walter; of these, all except the eldest are married, and the combined company of grandchildren numbers twenty-one.

Ref. 1880 History of Dane County, Wisconsin, p. 1244. Source of photos: Shirley Erfurth’s MAIN family book.

Alice Cordelia Main
Alice Cordelia Main
Alice C. (Main) Ames
Alice C. (Main) Ames
(Married Francis M. Ames)

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