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.

Franklin County, Illinois

Franklin County Education, Geography, and HistoryFranklin County, Illinois Courthouse

Franklin County is a county located in the state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 39,561. Franklin County was created on January 2, 1818. The county seat is Benton. The county is named for Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), prolific writer, inventor, and politician; key factor in the American Revolution.

Etymology - Origin of Franklin County Name

The county is named for Benjamin Franklin, famed statesman and United States ambassador to France during the American Revolution.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Franklin County History

Franklin County was created on January 2, 1818 (Laws, 1817/18, p. 11) and was formed from Gallatin and White Counties. Present area, or parts of it, formerly included in: White County (1815-1818), Gallatin County (1812-1818), Randolph County (1795-1813) and Knox, Northwest Territory (1790-1795).

The County was named for Benjamin Franklin, philosopher, statesman, diplomatist, author, printer, a member of the Continental Congress, Ambassador to France, and (before the Revolution) Deputy Postmaster General of the British Colonies in America. The County Seat is Benton . Prior County Seats was Shawneetown-Kaskaskia Road, at Moses Garrett's tavern (1818-1821), Frankfort (1821-1841) and Benton (1841-Presaent).

The first settlers arrived in Franklin County in 1804. This group included six brothers named Jordan. They settled near the southeastern corner of the County, near modern Thompsonville. The first year they built a pole shed, covered with brush, chinked with mud, thatched with grass, and open to the south. They kept a fire burning outside the south face. This was called the Jordan Settlement.

(NOTE: The 1804 has not been proven as stated in some Historical writtings. There are documents showing this date should be more in the range of 1808-1809.)

In the winter of 1809, during Tecumseh's War, there was fear of attacks by Indians. Governor Edwards issued a call for the building of forts. Frank Jordan built two forts. The one at the settlement was called "Jordan's Fort". The second was several miles west. It was called "Frank's Fort", which eventually became West Frankfort.

Franklin County was formed in 1818 out of Gallatin, White and part of Jackson Counties. It is 36 miles long and 24 miles wide; making 864 square miles. It's bounded north by Jefferson County; east,by Hamilton and Gallatin County; south by Johnson and Union County; west by Jackson and Perry Counties.

Franklin County is watered by Rend Lake and the Big Muddy River and branches, and the south fork of saline creek. The prairies are generally small and fertile, but rather to level; the timber good and in ambundance; the soil rather sandy. Its products are similar to those of the counties adjoining and it is capable of being made a rich agricultural county.

It was named for Benjamin Franklin.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 431 square miles (1,117 km2), of which, 412 square miles (1,067 km2) of it is land and 19 square miles (50 km2) of it (4.48%) is water.

Franklin county is located in south Illinois. Justin Kay State Recreation Area is located in this county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Jefferson County
  • Northeast: Hamilton County
  • Southeast: Saline County
  • South: Williamson County
  • Southwest: Jackson County
  • Northwest: Perry County


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