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.

Whiteside County, Illinois

Whiteside County Education, Geography, and HistoryWhiteside County, Illinois Courthouse

Whiteside County is a county located in the state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 58,498. Whiteside County was created on January 16, 1836. The county seat is Morrison. The county is named for Samuel Whiteside (1783-1868), state legislator and militia leader.

Whiteside County comprises the Sterling, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Dixon-Sterling, IL Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Whiteside County Name

 The county is named for Samuel Whiteside, Representative in the first General Assembly and brigadier general in the Black Hawk War.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Whiteside County History

Whiteside County was created on January 16, 1836 (Laws, 1836, p. 274) and was formed from Jo Daviess and Henry Counties. County organization was completed in 1839. Present area, or parts of it, formerly included in: Attached to Ogle [Laws, 1836, p. 277] (1837-1839), Attached to JoDaviess [Laws, 1836, p. 277] (1836-1837), JoDaviess County (1827-1836), Henry County (1825-1836), Putnam County (1825-1827), Fulton County (1823-1825), Pike County (1821-1823), Madison County (1812-1821) and St. Clair County (1795-1812).

The County was named for Samuel Whiteside, a Colonel of the Territorial militia, Representative in the First General Assembly, and Brigadier General of the militia during the Black Hawk War. The County Seat is Morrison . Prior County Seats was Lyndon (1839-1841), Sterling (1841-1842), Lyndon (1842-1846), Circuit Court at Sterling, County Commissioners' Court at Lyndon (1846-1847), Sterling (1847-1857), and Morrison (1857-Present).

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 697 square miles (1,805 km2), of which, 685 square miles (1,774 km2) of it is land and 12 square miles (32 km2) of it (1.76%) is water.

 Whiteside county is located in north Illinois. The county is bounded on the west by the Mississippi River. Prophetstown State Recreation Area and Morrison-Rockwood State Park are located in this county. Part of Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park and Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge are also located in Whiteside county.  

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Carroll County
  • Northeast: Ogle County
  • East: Lee County
  • Southeast: Bureau County
  • Southwest: Henry County; Rock Island County
  • Northwest: Clinton County, Iowa


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