How Illinois Counties Got Their Names
We've had a rather Illinois-centric week in this space. We've learned how much we didn't know about our state, in addition to taking a look at Illinois' unusually-named mascots.
Today, let's wrap up the week with the state itself, in particular the counties that make up Illinois. In case you didn't know, there are 102 counties in the Land of Lincoln, although not one of them is named after Lincoln himself. Go figure.
Who are the counties named after? Why, that's a fine question. Let's find out:
According to Wikipedia:
While it does have a city, Illinois does not have a Lincoln County named after its favorite son, Abraham Lincoln; it does, however, have a Douglas County (founded 1859) named after his political rival Stephen A. Douglas. It also has Calhoun County (founded 1825), named after John C. Calhoun, outspoken for his southern views in the years preceding the American Civil War. Several of the counties are named after Southerners, reflecting the fact that Illinois was for a short time part of Virginia, and settled in its early years by many Southerners. No counties are named after Northern heroes of the Civil War, mainly because the counties were all named before that war. The state does have a Lee County named after the family of Robert E. Lee, who at one time served in Illinois. Illinois also has a singular distinction of having two counties named after the same person, New York governor, DeWitt Clinton.
So, two counties named for a New York governor, but none for Honest Abe? Really? Let's see who else got their name slapped on a county:
Winnebago County- Named for Native Americans.
Boone County- Named for Daniel Boone, trailblazer of the Wilderness Road. In Kentucky.
Ogle County- Named for Joseph Ogle, early settler in southwest Illinois, who helped found the first Methodist church in Illinois.
Lee County- Named for "Light Horse" Henry Lee III, American Revolutionary War officer and 9th governor of Virginia.
McHenry County- Named for Major William McHenry, an officer in several campaigns against Native Americans and member of the Illinois legislature.
Jo Daviess County- Named for Joseph Hamilton Daviess, commander of the Indiana Dragoons at the Battle of Tippecanoe.
Stephenson County- Named for Benjamin Stephenson, representative of Illinois Territory in the United States Congress.
Carroll County- Named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who signed the Declaration of Independence on behalf of Maryland.
Dekalb County- Named for Johann de Kalb, a German solider who fought with the Continental Army.
The full list can be found here.
If you'd like to learn a bit more about Illinois, and all the cool things here, check this out: