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Marion County, Illinois
History Topics


In 1790, the land of Marion county was still a part of the Northwest Territory.
It was only 2 counties, St. Clair and St. Knox.
The land remained divided between the 2 counties until 1801. By 1813 the land was broken up into more counties and the land of Marion county was included in the new counties of Edwards, Jefferson, Crawford, and Fayette.

In 1818, Capt. Samuel Young and his nine year old son were among the first settlers in the area. By 1823, the same time as the BlackHawk War, Marion County was in its completness and named Marion for General Francis Marion, of the Revolutionary War. There were nearly 2000 people living in the county.

Marion County's rich soil was mainly used for farming. A large portion of the county was underlaid with a thin vein of coal and Sandstone was also abundant.

[sources: "History and Families of Marion County Illinois", Turner Publishing Co., Publishers of American History, Historical Encyclopedia of IL, 1901; Transcribed by Deanna Heneghan]

City of Centralia
Population 2000: 14,136
So named because of its being on the Illinois Central Railroad. It was a Rail town, platted by Central Railroad

The 65 bells of the Centralia Carillon ring daily

Received national attention for 1947 coal-mining disaster, in which 111 men died

City of Salem
Population 2000: 7,909
Capt. Samuel Young settled here after fleeing the devastation of the 1811 earthquake in New Madrid, MO
Boomed in the 1930s with the discovery of oil

City of Kinmundy
Population 2000: 892
Named after place in Scotland City of Sandoval
Population 2000: 1,434

Village of Patoka
Population 2000: 633
Named after an Indian chief City of Wamac
Population 2000: 1,378


Early Settlers and Residents

Mayors of Salem

Township Histories

Carrigan -- Iuka -- Foster -- Haines -- Kinmundy -- Meacham -- Odin
Omega -- Patoka -- Alma -- Romine -- Salem -- Sandoval -- Stevenson -- Tonti


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