Wayne County
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Hello and Welcome to Wayne County Illinois
My name is Simone Myers and it is my pleasure to be your volunteer county host!  My family's roots run deep in Wayne County history so taking on this project is a labor of love for me.  Although I don't currently live there, it is where I spent much of my childhood, today my great-great granny's farm land is still owned by members of my direct family and I visit as often as I am able to.

 A few of my family surnames include:  Farris, Trotter, Shelton, Holman, Orr, Walker, Hoffee, and Marvel.  Please note:  I am always happy to share what I have learned, but I am unable to take on any individual research projects.

My mission for this site is to provide the most complete as possible picture of all things that is Wayne County History and her people for us now and generations to come.  But, I NEED YOU to help make this a reality, your contributions no matter how big or small are wanted and appreciated.

The types of data we are looking for included obituaries, biographies, bible records, news articles, wills, birth & death records, cemetery listings, marriage & divorce records, census records, military records, even personal memories, letters, photos, historical accounts, basically anything and everything that is Wayne County Illinois.

If you are unable to transcribe something your self, no worries, send me a scan of it or even just snap a picture with your cell phone or digital camera and Email me that.

County Overview
Wayne County was formed out of Edwards County on March 16, 1819 only 3 months after the Illinois Territory entered the Union becoming the 21st State on December 3, 1818.  Wayne is one of fifteen counties in the United States to be named after General Anthony Wayne "Mad Anthony" an officer in the Revolutionary War and Northwest Indian War.

 The northern county boundary line shifted slightly until Wayne was reduced to its final size in 1824 of a 715 square mile area containing a portion of the Little Wabash River, which branches off from the Wabash River, a significant waterway feeding into the Ohio River.  Wayne County is located in the southeastern portion of the state and is part of an area known as "Little Egypt", which historically is defined as the southern portion of Illinois below State Route 50.

The 1820 federal census was the first to include, Wayne County with a population of 1,114.  The population at the 2010 federal census was 16,760.  The county is divided into 20 townships with several unincorporated communities, 9 villages, and 1 city - Fairfield that has been the county seat since its formation.

Wayne County Townships: Arrington - Barnhill - Bedford - Berry - Big Mound - Elm River - Four Mile - Garden Hill - Grover - Hickory Hill - Indian Prairie - Jasper - Keith - Lamard - Leech - Massilon - Mount Erie - Orchard - Orel - Zif

Villages: Cisne - Golden Gate - Geff (Jeffersonville) - Johnsonville - Keenes - Mill Shoals - Mount Erie - Sims - Wayne City

Predominantly a rural agricultural area, the county sits in the middle of the Illinois Basin - an area rich in coal, petroleum, and natural gas, as such, Wayne County among much of southern Illinois benefited from the "oil boom" of the 1930s to 1950s.  Today Wayne's landscape is still punctuated with oil tanks and pumps.

Wayne County is also the birthplace and home of the notorious Shelton Brothers Gang, bootleggers dubbed as "America's Bloodiest Gang" that operated from the 1920s to 1940s.

On November 3, 1886 the records of the county took a devastating blow when as reported in the November 8th issue of the Wayne County Press Newspaper "the brick building containing the county's offices was found to be on fire."  Today a book published in 1884 titled "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois" serves as an invaluable resource to fill in the gap left by that fire.  The book is no longer protected under copyright and a digital copy of the original is available via archive.org with transcribed excerpts provided here. Please visit the County History section for more.
[Sources: Personal Knowledge, Wayne County Press, U.S. Census, Wikipedia]


Online Data


Poor House Records

 School Records



Townships - Communities - Villages

  • ARRINGTON Township
  • Village of SIMS
  • BARNHILL Township
  • Village of MILL SHOALS
  • BEDFORD Township
  • Village of CISNE
  • BERRY Township
  • BIG MOUND Township
  • ELM RIVER Township
  • Community of ENTERPRISE
  • FOUR MILE Township
  • Village of KEENS
  • GARDEN HILL Township
  • GROVER Township
  • City of FAIRFIELD
  • HICKORY HILL Township
  • JASPER Township
  • KEITH Township
  • Community of RINARD
  • LAMARD Township
  • Village of GEFF (Jeffersonville)
  • LEECH Township
  • Village of GOLDEN GATE
  • MASSILON Township
  • ERIE Township
  • Village of MOUNT ERIE
  • ORCHARD Township
  • OREL Township
  • Village of WAYNE CITY
  • ZIF Township

~ MAPS ~


Local Resources

Fairfiled Public Library
300 SE Second Street
Fairfield, IL 62837
Phone: 618-842-4516
Email: fairfieldpubliclibrary@gmail.com
Website: fairfieldlibrary.org
Mon-Thu 10am - 6pm
Fir-Sat 10am - 2pm
Extensive Genealogy Collection
Local Newspapers dating from 1855



Website Updates
June 2015:
Added a Directories Index Page and transcribtion of the 1910 Standard Atlas of Wayne County Patrons Directory of about 250 Names with occupations, place & date of birth, residence, wife's maiden name, military service, and when arrived in Wayne County.
May 2015:
New County Host. County History Transcription
Jan 2015: 
Many new marriage announcements and obituaries from 1855-1875; Divorce notices
Dec 2014: Many new marriage announcements and obituaries from 1855-1875; Divorce notices
Nov 2014: Many new marriage announcements and obituaries from 1864-68.  Divorce notices for MCNEELY, HOPKINS, LYONS, FOREAKER, BENNETT, GREEN, THOMAS, MATHEWS, GRIFFIN, MCDOWELL, SURRETT, MCNEELY, MATHEWS from 1864-68.
Sept 2014: 1891 gossip news
Oct 2013: 1883 Pensioners

We would very much like to make you part of this project.  If you have information that you'd like to share about any town, family, county or subject,  please send it to us and we'll make sure it gets posted to the right county.  Email to I Have Data

If you are interested in becoming a host or offering your help in other ways.  More information can be found on the Volunteer Page.

We regret that we are unable to perform personal research for folks.
All data we come across will be added to this site.  We thank you for visiting and hope you'll come back again to view the updates we make to this site.


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Surrounding Counties

[Clay] ~ [Edwards]
Jefferson] ~ [Hamilton]
Richland] ~ [White]
Fayette] ~ [Marion]

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