Illinois Genealogy Trails History Group

Clark County Illinois
Genealogy and History




Political Entity Part Of


Before Dec. 9, 1778 Illinois Co., VA  Part of land claimed by VA
Dec. 9, 1778 United States Ceded by VA
Mar. 1, 1784 Northwest Territory  
June 2, 1790 Knox Co., Northwest Territory  
Feb. 3, 1801 East:  Knox Co., Northwest Territory
West:  St. Clair Co., Northwest Territory
Divided along Indian Boundary Line
July 4, 1801 Indiana Territory (same divisions)
March 1, 1809 Illinois Territory (same divisions)
April 28, 1809 St. Clair Co., Illinois Territory Knox Co. abolished
Sept. 14, 1812 Madison Co., Illinois Territory  
Nov. 28, 1814 Edwards Co., Illinois Territory  
Dec. 31, 1816 Crawford Co., Illinois Territory  
Dec. 3, 1818 Crawford Co., IL Illinois admitted to Union
March 22, 1819 Clark Co., IL Formed out of Crawford.  At this time, the county limits were from the present south boundary of Clark Co. on the south to the WI state line on the north, and from the midline of IL on the west to the IN state line on the east.
Compiled by Kevin Ortman

County Description and Overview

Clark county lies in the southeastern border of the State, and has an area of 510 square miles. It is one of the older counties, having been organized in 1819. Among the pioneers of the region were John Bartlett, Abraham Washburn, James Whitlock, James B. Anderson, Stephen Archer and Uri Manly. The first death recorded is that of James Mathews. Marshall, the county seat, is located on a beautiful swell of land 127 foot higher than Terre Haute, Ind., 10 miles distant, and is the highest spot between that place and Vandalia. the site was, in 1833, purchased from the government by Gov. Joseph Duncan and Col. William B. Archer. The latter, two years later, secured the whole interest and laid out the town, the first log cabin being erected in the fall of that year. The location is the gateway of the far-famed valley of the Wabash, and has pure air and excellent water. In early days, large quantities of wheat, apples and peaches were wagoned through the town to the Chicago market. The original county seat was on the site of Darwin, Marshall being selected in 1849, after a vigorous contest. The latter place is on the Vandalia & Terre Haute Railroad, and had, in 1870, a population of 2,541. It has two grist mills, one large woolen factory, and a wagon-felloe factory. Darwin lies on the Wabash River, and Cumberland on the western border. Westfield, in the northwest portion of the county, is in the center of a rich agricultural district. It is noted for its University. the other towns of importance are Casey, Martinsville, Auburn and York. The county has a population of 18,719, of whom 9,723 are natives of the State, 2,800 of Ohio, 2,534 of Indiana, and 919 of foreign lands. Corn is the great staple of Clark County. There are also produced large quantities of oats, winter wheat, potatoes, butter, sorghum, honey, maple sugar, orchard products, wool and pork. The manufacturing interests are not large. Flouring, lumber and woolen-mills and carriage and furniture manufactories are carried on, but they are not numerous or extensive. The railroads recently completed through the county will tend to develop these and other manufacturing interests, and, in connection with the rich soil, should make Clark County one of the richest in the State. The principle church organizations are the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, United brethren, Romish, Christian, Congregational and Lutheran
[Source: Atlas of the State of Illinois, Warner & Beers, 1876]

The Old National Road
The construction of the Old National Road reached Clark County about 1827. This brought an influx of people looking for construction jobs. Towns such as Livingston, Marshall, Martinsville, Casey and many other settlements sprang up to house workers and pioneers.
The approximate route of the Old National Road through Clark County is that of the present Route 40 that runs just north of Marshall, Martinsville and Casey, and just south of Clark Center (Auburn). The original road (Old Route 40) ran through the towns and coincides with Archer Ave. in Marshall, Cumberland St. in Martinsville and Main St. in Casey.


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