Saline County, Illinois

The Saline County Historical Society was organized less than two years ago. It is unfortunate that it was not organized many years before. Many of the early records of the county have been lost or destroyed. The stories and traditions coming from the pioneering times have grown in some instances far beyond the original substance. Undoubtedly much of this would have been avoided by the formation of a county historical society in earlier years.

Little thought was given a century ago by the early residents of Saline County to the remote possibility that the end of the century would find present day citizens desiring to reconstruct the lives and events of early times. As a consequence, little remains for us but fragmentary records, a few short biographical sketches, references here and there in other historical works, and unrelated stories and anecdotes handed down from generation to generation. Out of this confusing maze, the Saline County Historical Society has gathered the facts presented in this book.

Saline County is the youngest county in Southern Illinois that part of Illinois that has been known since 1821 as "Egypt," and which comprises the southern- most twenty-eight counties of Illinois at the present time.

St. Clair County was set out in the Northwest Territory in 1790, in what later was to be designated as the Illinois Territory, and which included that area now included in Saline County. St. Clair was the grandparent of all the counties in the area called Egypt. It extended up the western and central parts of the Illinois country as far as the mouth of the Little Mackinaw Creek on the Illinois River. A part of the eastern side of the Illinois country was included in a county of which a part is now in Knox County, Indiana, centering around Vincennes.


Table of Contents

Foreword 13
Introduction 15
I. Indians of Saline County 19
II. The Salt Works and Pioneer Life 37
III. Early Settlements of Saline County 57
IV. A Century of Agriculture in Saline County 75
V. Early Courts and Government 99
VI. Churches and Religious Worship 121
VII. Schools of Saline County 147
VIII. Early Business and Industry 169
IX. Coal Mines of Saline County 201
X. Transportation Over a Century 223
XI. Professions Throughout the Years 245
XII. Organizations of Saline County 267
XIII. During Eight Wars 291
XIV. Early Postoffices and Towns 321

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The ideal conditions existing in Southern Illinois from the standpoint of the requirements of Indian life made Saline County a most favored spot. Its mild climate in the spring and fall, its fertile soil, its rivers and many small streams, its lowlands and its hills, its abundant wild life, and the presence of salt springs on the eastern side, made the area especially attractive to those tribes in the early Northwest Territory.