Illinois Genealogy Express

 

Pike County, Illinois


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Cities & Towns:


Atlas
Barry
Baylis
Bedford
Chambersburg
Detroit
El Dara
Fishhook
Florence
Griggsville
Hull
Kinderhook
Martinsburg
Mayville
Meredosia
Milton
Montezuma
Nebo
New Canton
New Hartford
New Salem
Pearl
Perry
Pittsfield
Pleasant Hill
Seehorn
Time
Valley City

Census Designated Places:

East Hannibal
Pike Station
Rockport
Summer Hill

Ghost Towns:

Staut


Pike County Court House
100 E. Washington St.
Pittsfield, IL 62363-0000
Phone: (217) 285-6812
Fax: (217)285-5820

HISTORY:

Pike County was formed on January 31, 1821 out of Madison County. It was named in honor of Zebulon Pike, leader of the Pike expedition in 1806 to map out the south and west portions of the Louisiana Purchase. Pike served at the Battle of Tippecanoe, and was killed in 1813 in the War of 1812.

Prior to the coming of the first European settler to Pike County, French traders, hunters, and travelers passed through the native forests and prairies. Originally Pike County began on the south junction of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. The east boundary was the Illinois River north to the Kankakee River to the Indiana State line on north to Wisconsin state line and then west to the Mississippi River to the original point at the south end. The first county seat was Cole's Grove, a post town, in what later became Calhoun County. The Gazetteer of Illinois and Missouri, published in 1822, mentioned Chicago as "a village of Pike County" containing 12 or 15 houses and about 60 or 70 inhabitants.

The New Philadelphia Town Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2009. It was the first town founded by an African American before the American Civil War. Frank McWorter was an early free black settler in Pike County. He had invested in land there sight unseen after purchasing the first few members of his family out of slavery. In 1836 he founded the town of New Philadelphia, near Barry, Illinois. He was elected mayor and lived there the rest of his life. With the sale of land, he made enough money to purchase the freedom of his children. After the railroad bypassed the town, its growth slowed and it was eventually abandoned in the 20th century. The town site is now an archaeological dig.

In the early 21st century Pike County acquired notability as a center for the whitetail deer hunting industry, especially bowhunting.

ADJACENT COUNTIES:
ADAMS * BROWN * CALHOUN * GREENE * MORGAN * SCOTT

 

 

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