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Illinois Counties
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Illinois Counties

There are one hundred and two counties in Illinois. St. Clair County was the first county established in what is today Illinois. Most counties in Illinois were named after early American leaders, especially of the American Revolutionary War, as well as soldiers from the Battle of Tippecanoe and the War of 1812.

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Alexander County, Illinois

Alexander County Education, Geography, and HistoryAlexander County, Illinois Courthouse

Alexander County is the southernmost county of the state of Illinois. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 8,238. Alexander County was created on March 4, 1819. The  county seat is Cairo. This county is named for William M. Alexander, a settler and state representative in the Illinois General Assembly.

Alexander County is part of the Cape Girardeau, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Alexander County Name

The county is named for William M. Alexander, early settler of the district and state representative in the second and third General Assemblies.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Alexander County History

First county organized in Illinois. March 14, 1819. Separated from Union County in 1819. Sometimes referred to as the foot hills of the Ozarks. Named for Dr. William M. Alexander, State Representative

The first settlement goes back to 1805. Alexander County forms the southern extremity of the state and is bounded by the Mississippi River on the west and south, by the Ohio and Cache Rivers on the east and by Union County on the north. There were very few people in the territory in 1819 at the time of the formation of the county. In 1820, considerably more than one year after its organization, there were, according to the United States census, but 625 souls and it must be borne in mind that in that enumeration was included nearly all of what is now Pulaski County. The only towns of importance at that time were America and Caledonia, both now in Pulaski County.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 253 square miles (654 km2), of which 236 square miles (612 km2) is land and 16 square miles (42 km2) (6.40%) is water.

Alexander county is located in south Illinois. Parts of Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Shawnee National Forest, and Horseshoe Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area are in this county. The county borders are partly defined by the Mississippi River and the Ohio River.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Union County
  • East: Pulaski County
  • Southeast: Ballard County, Ky.
  • South: Mississippi County, Mo.
  • Southwest: Scott County, Mo.
  • Northwest: Cape Girardeau County, Mo.


  • Cairo Unified School District 1
  • Century Community Unit School District 100
  • Egyptian Community Unit School District 5
  • Meridian Community Unit School District 101
  • Shawnee Community Unit School District 84
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