Alfred Parker was born in Maine, in 1824, the son of a Methodist clergyman He served in the Mexican War, and went to California in the gold rush of ’49. After returning east, he came to Galena, Illinois, by rail, then up the river to St.Paul. He came to what is now Robbinsdale in 1854 and homesteaded a farm, which included the site of the former depot, just south of 42nd Avenue. His home stood near the former Howard Lumber Company office.The next year he married Elizabeth Malbon, daughter of Jonathan Malbon. During the early days the Indians often made raids on the Parker farms taking cattle, corn and other provisions. His new house, formerly at 4109 Lakeland was built by his father-in-law, J. S. Malbon, who turned it over to the Parkers. Then Mr. Malbon built the one north of it, 4115 Lakeland, for his own use. The Parker place was used as a stop over by travelers and teamsters hauling on the Bottineau road, now West Broadway. Both houses were torn down in the 1970’s as they were then in the center of the “commercial” area of the city.
Horatio R. Stillman was born in 1832 in Ohio, and when he was 21, his father gave him $200 (to make his fortune). By making oars for boats, he was able to double it in the same year. In the fall he set out for Minnesota with his brother. To help pay the expenses of the journey, the party transported live stock with them, and after crossing the state of Illinois, were able to complete the trip by water. Upon arrival here, Mr. Stillman secured a span of horses and engaged in teaming, selling wood, and so on. He homesteaded (in 1854) the tract of land where the house (once the Stillman home, now the Faith Lilac Way Church) had stood for over 50 years. He erected a shanty and put in a wheat crop. After the spring of ’56 he devoted his entire attention to farming, clearing, and breaking land. After the fertility of the soil was exhausted for wheat, he found that it would produce a fine quality of hay. He equipped the farm for the dairy business, finding a ready market. for butter and cheese in nearby Minneapolis. In 1864, he served with the Eleventh Regiment. He was willing to take his part in civic affairs, serving at various times as Township Supervisor, Justice of the Peace, and School Board member. He died in 1920. He had one daughter, Maude Stillman Huston, who lived at 4155 Quail Avenue until 1963. A table from the Stillman farm was donated in 1982 to the Robbinsdale Historical Society by the William Driver, ]r. family. The table is on dispaly at the Robbinsdale History Museum. Look for it to the left of the door when you walk in.
This post is the third in a series based on the book Robbinsdale Then and Now by Helen Blodgett