Mary Corbin: The White Woman
(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. Mary and Robert Matson had an on-again-off-again relationship.  He couldn't live with her and he couldn't live without her for about twelve years.  In 1845 she settled on his Black Grove farm serving as his housekeeper and mistress.  She bore his child, Mildred, in 1846, their third child together. 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 married her fifty-two year old, bachelor lover in November 1848 in Gallatin County, Illinois.  They moved to Fulton County shortly thereafter, raising a family of six children.  She died and is buried on the family farm