Illinois Counties
Illinois County map
Click Image to Enlarge

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.

Clay County, Illinois

Clay County Education, Geography, and HistoryClay County, Illinois Courthouse

Clay County is a county located in the state of Illinois. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 13,815. Clay County was created on December 23, 1824. The county seat is Louisville. The county is named for Henry Clay (1777-1852), Kentucky legislator who negotiated the Missouri Compromise.

In 1950, the US Census Bureau placed the mean center of US population in Clay County

Etymology - Origin of Clay County Name

The county is named for Henry Clay, United States Representative and Senator, author of the "Missouri Compromise" and three-time presidential candidate.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Clay County History

Clay County was created on December 23, 1824 (Laws, 1825, p. 19) and was formed from Crawford, Fayette and Wayne Counties. Present area, or parts of it, formerly included in: Wayne County (1819-1824), Fayette County (1821-1824), Crawford County (1816-1824), Edwards County (1815-1819), Gallatin County (1812-1815), Madison County (1812-1815), Randolph County (1803-1812), St. Clair County (1801-1812) and Knox, Northwest Territory (1790-1801). The County was named for Henry Clay, a statesman and political orator, Representative in Congress and United States Senator from Kentucky, three times Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, famous as the author of the political measures know as the "Missouri Compromise," and a prominent candidate for the Presidency.

The County Seat is Louisville . Prior County Seats was Maysville (1825-1841) and Louisville (1841-Present).

Records show as early as 1818 that a Mr. Elliot laid claim to land in the southeastern part of Illinois now known as Clay County. In 1842, Clay County, named for Mr. Henry Clay, was created from areas of Lawrence, Fayette and Wayne counties with Maysville as the first seat of government. This was most likely due to Maysville's location on the national road between St. Louis and Cincinnati.

Even though Clay had some early settlers, it wasn't until the late 1830's that signs of real growth started showing with the arrival of Judge Apperson, Judge S. Hopkins, Mr. Stanford and Mr. Lee followed by the Tender, McCollum and Cochran families. New development meant changes and amongst them came the relocation of the county seat to Louisville in 1842.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 470 square miles (1,217 km2), of which 469 square miles (1,215 km2) is land and 1 square mile (2 km2) (0.13%) is water.

Clay county is located in south Illinois. Entered diagonally by the Little Wabash River, Clay County is known for its fine Oak & Ash lumber. With over one-half of the county under cultivation, the fields are of Indian corn, flax, tobacco, oats and hay.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: Jasper County
  • East: Richland County
  • South: Wayne County
  • Southwest: Marion County
  • Northwest: Fayette County; Effingham County


Clay City Community Unit District 10
Dieterich Community Unit School District 30
Effingham Community Unit School District 40
Flora Community Unit School District 35
Jasper County Community Unit School District 1
North Clay Community Unit School District 25
North Clay High School
South Central Community Unit School District 401
West Richland Community Unit School District 2

Compare More Colleges and Universities
Find the Right School

Find more schools to match to your needs.

County Resources
US Counties
Click Image to Enlarge