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Camargo, Illinois

Bold Pioneers

Surnames; Richman, Gill, Hammet,
Moss, Bragg, Murdock, Watson


Before Camargo was ever formed the area was a favorite Indian fall and winter hunting grounds with a mix of bountiful game. Deer were found in what was thought to be unlimited abundance. There were also 'prairie chickens,' partridges, wild geese and ducks to easily be obtained. The rivers provided good fishing for a true variety. The area itself was not considered by the Indians to be good for farming. In the spring they headed north to Ohio where they planted fields of corn.

Camargo is situated in the north central portion, section 34, of what is known today as Douglas County, Illinois. The county would not be formed until 1859, 30 years after our story begins and 23 years after the original town was "laid off" by Isaac Moss with the help of Joseph Fowler, a surveyor. New Salem was the first name Isaac associated with the area in 1836. When he made an addition in 1840 the name was changed to New Albany. The voting district was recorded simply as Albany. Upon the suggestion of Col. J. B. McCown, the name of the voting district was changed to Camargo. Named after a town in Mexico, Cabo San Lucas way, the settlers living near the township adopted this name and New Albany finally became Camargo Township.

Camargo is easily the oldest district, formed 17 years before Bourbon. Eight years before Isaac Moss laid out New Salem there was a visit by two hunters. One would return with his family, impressed with the abundance he witnessed and the land costs he could more easily afford. Later this skilled hunter would be remembered as the first white settler of Douglas County. The second cabin he built would become a historical landmark. His name was John A.Richman. He would be joined by the Gill, Hammet, Bragg, Watson, Moss and Murdock families. According to the "Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County, Illinois" (John Gresham, 1900), these were the first families to reside in Camargo.

The Township Proper

This plat map shows Camargo Township about 1900. John A. Richman built his two cabins just slightly above and right of the #33 between the streams.