|Frank and Annie Hufford before their marriage in 1874.
Photo courtesy of Richard Hufford, via findagrave.com.
|Above: The Hufford family, year unknown. Front row left to right:
Mary Hufford, Franklin Hufford, Annie Elizabeth (Derr) Hufford,
Charles A. Hufford. Back row left to right: Louis Henry Hufford,
Mabel Roberta Hufford, Edward Hufford, Cora A. Hufford, Harry
Leroy Hufford, Katherine Elizabeth Hufford, Robert J. Hufford.
Photo courtesy of Richard Hufford, via findagrave.com.
|Gravesite of Frank and Annie Hufford, Rock City Cemetery
(Photo taken December 2013).
|Above: 1913 plat map showing Frank Hufford as the owner of 74 acres where we now live. Across the road to the north, and
northwest, is land owned by Walter Lapp. His daughter Grace (Lapp) Mullican would later live in our house.
|Above: According to the August 16, 1892 edition of the Sterling (IL) Daily Gazette,
Frank Hufford may have had a reputation for frugality.
|Above: Two of Frank's sons are pictured in this photo from the 2002 Rock Run
Country Historical Society calendar. Harry would later move to Arcadia, California.
|Above: Frank and Annie Hufford's son Robert struggled
with posttraumatic stress disorder after his service in
World War I. This article appeared in the June 15, 1942
|Left: The November 24, 1942
edition of the Freeport
the sale of the Hufford Farm.
Ransom "Tim" Meier was the
Right: The Hufford family may
have been successful in having
Robert admitted to the Hines
veteran's hospital. The 80
acres he owned about a
half-mile west of the Hufford
home was auctioned in April
1947. Robert died in 1983.
Willard R. Thoren, the
conservator, was married to
Robert's sister, Mabel. Two
years later, Thoren would
become the president of Rock
|Left: The house Frank Hufford bought in 1907 from
James H. Babcock, at 203 N. Henderson Road in
Freeport (northeast corner of Henderson and
Crocker). This home was near the Stover
Manufacturing plant where Frank was employed. The
Huffords lived here prior to buying our house. In June
of 1956, Edward "Red" Hufford wrote a letter to the
Freeport Journal-Standard in which he mentioned
living in this house. At the time, Ed was living in
Marionville, Missouri, and recalled playing in "Goose
Pasture" in his youth. This grassy field bordered
Taylor Park on the west.
Frank Hufford may have owned this home for several
years after buying the 74-acre property. Real estate
records through 1913 showed no sale of this house.
When he bought the 74 acres, Frank borrowed
$2,744.60, or about half of the purchase price.
|Above: This railroad bridge over Rock Run Creek was finished the same year Frank
Hufford died. The concrete bridge replaced a wooden trestle bridge which was
constructed in 1884. In the June 5, 1884 edition of the Daily Journal and Republican
newspaper (Freeport), the wooden trestle was described as 300 feet long and made of
11 spans of 30 feet each. A footing for one of those spans can be seen under the iron
The railroad is now long gone, but the concrete bridge structure is still very visible
from Illinois Route 75. According to local historian Dan Buck, the iron span was still
attached to the concrete until the 1980s. This railroad was mostly likely the source of
the train which spooked Frank Hufford's horses in 1919.
Left: By the 1920s, automobiles were here to stay, and local communities advocated
for more paved roads. Illinois Route 75 was in the planning stages when this article
appeared in the Freeport Journal-Standard on December 6, 1927. Several news
articles appeared in advance of the planning meeting in Freeport, which was attended
by Illinois Governor Len Small.
We suspect the general path of the highway was probably already decided by this
time, as Route 75 had been identified as early as 1923 in a proposed $100 million
state bond issue for paved road construction. While the expense of paving would be
covered by the bonds, the cost of purchasing the right-of-way for the highway would
be borne by Stephenson County taxpayers. In September 1928, the Stephenson
County board of supervisors more than doubled the county highway tax levy to pay
for land purchases for the new highway.
To help gather support for higher taxes, the Governor was summoned, and the local
communities were invited to send representatives to advocate for their preferred
routes between Freeport and Rockton. The Davis contingent offered what is the most
interesting option to us, which was a route over a portion of what is now Farm School
Road. Although this was a secondary choice to the path where the highway runs
today, some Davis residents apparently thought it more fiscally responsible to run the
highway between Rock City and Davis on an already established road. However, the
diagonal path of the railroad provided a shorter distance between those towns, so
that's where the highway was constructed.
Had the frugal Davis representatives got their way, our house would now be a stone's
throw from a state highway. So we're glad the road planners kept Route 75 close to
On a side note, the Master of Ceremonies for the "Good Roads" meeting was David F.
Graham, president of Freeport's Second National Bank. David was the eldest son of
John Graham, who owned our property in the late-1800s.
|Above: In 1939, the United States Department of Agriculture contracted with Iowa
Aerial Surveys, Inc. to photograph Stephenson County from the air in 1939. Their
image of our property and the 74 acres that it used to be part of is shown at a time
when Robert Hufford was farming the land.