Mary Corbin
(1812 or 1821 - 1874)  Head-strong, temperamental, and yet a "good woman," Mary is at the center of this story.  It was her fit of temper that sparked the Bryants search for aid and caused her lover and future husband, Robert Matson, to lose six of his slaves. The first we know of her, Mary Ann Ladore married Isaac Corbin in Shelbyville, Illinois in 1842. She apparently left him in November 1844 and ended up with Robert Matson on his Black Grove farm serving as his housekeeper and mistress.  She bore his child, Mildred, in 1846. Matson split his time between Kentucky and Illinois, leaving Mary in charge.  She got angry with the slaves in the summer of 1847 and threatened to sell the children south.  The Bryants wouldn't tolerate this, so they put into motion their route to freedom.  Mary's divorce from Isaac was finalized in May 1847 and she married her fifty-two year old, bachelor lover in November 1848 in Gallatin County, Illinois.  The moved to Fulton County shortly thereafter, raising a family of six children.  She died and is buried on the family farm.