Robeson’s Hills, at the foot of which flows the crystal lake, and where the clubhouse is located, presents a beautiful and inviting appearance at this season of the year, were originally known as Dubois Hills. There is much history, romance and sadness associated with them. Touissaint Dubois, whose life’s history it would require too much space to recount was their first owner. He was a close friend of Gen. Harrison and played an important part in the Battle of Tippecanoe. Through his untiring energy, Mr. Dubois, as a merchant in Vincennes, and as a fur trader whose operations extended all through the Wabash country, amassed quite a fortune, and his landed estates were among the most valuable possessions for scenic beauty of which Fort Knox was one to be found in this part of the country. It was in the old Dubois Homestead on Robeson (Dubois) Hills that Jesse K Dubois was born. He was the infant son of Touissaint, and while playing near his home, was kidnapped by a band of roving Indians, who held him for a long time as hostage. Jesse K later fell heir to this lovely country seat and became quite prominent in Illinois politics having served as auditor of the state and was repeatedly sent to the legislature.
Dubois was a man of commanding presence, tall and portly, with a Grecian cast of countenance and frequently visited Vincennes. He lived well, and always had a retinue of servants, having inherited from his father a couple of black slaves, man and wife, who at one time, on the preserves of the Old Post Country Club, lived in a shack built high above the ground among the branches of an immense cotton wood tree. His estate subsequently passed into the hands of Mr. Shufer, and lately in Joseph G Bowman, one of the ablest lawyers in the state and an imminent jurist. Bowman disposed of the property to John Jackson and removed to this city taking up his residence in a large frame house, still standing at the northwest corner of Second and Seminary street. He was afflicted with chronic rheumatism that caused him the most intense suffering, and unable to withstand the disease any longer, he ended his life by driving to the blade of a large butcher knife into his bosom, accomplishing the deed by placing the butt of the handle to the wall and pushing the full weight of his emaciated body against the blade, the act being committed while he was abed.
Mr. Jackson, fifth owner of the Hills, was a Hoosier by birth and came here from Richmond at the outbreak of the Civil War. He was a giant in stature and intellect, of jovial manner, and made friends rapidly with the more prominent people, coming across the river every morning to exchange compliments with acquaintances and to incidentally talk politics. In 1864 he married Miss Nannie Chapman, oldest daughter of Dr. Chapman, president of Vincennes University from 1855 to 1866; and two or three years after her death, which occurred the same year as her wedding, he married the younger daughter, Miss Lillian Chapman. Both weddings were notable social events, and the elegant Jackson home, where Robert L Roberson now lives, famed then as it is now for the generous and unaffected hospitality of its host and hostess, were graced with presence of the creme de la creme of Vincennes society. Among the more noted guests at the last wedding feast was Lord Cavendish and bride, the beautiful and accomplished American actress, Emily Thorne. Cavendish was a crony of the Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward and often visited the Jackson’s, especially during the hunting season, as he was a sportsman of the old English school and found plenty of big game to pursue in those days in this region. Mr. Jackson, who had become a widower for the second time returned to Richmond in 1875 and in 1880 disposed of the Hills to William R Roberson, deceased, father of William M and Robert L, these sons having inherited the property from the father.