A Gazetteer of Illinois, In Three Parts.
By: J. M. Peck, A. M.
Published by: Grigg & Elliot, Philadelphia 1837

Counties of: Jefferson, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Kane, Knox and La Salle


Jefferson County was organised from Edwards and White counties, in 1819. It is bounded on the north by Marion; east by Wayne and Hamilton; south by Franklin; and west by Perry and Washington. It is twenty-four miles long and the same in width-containing 576 square miles.

Jefferson county is watered by several branches of the Big Muddy, which head in this county, arid a small branch of the little Wabash.

The soil is tolerable second rate land, about one-third prairie; the timbered land is covered with various kinds of oak, hickory, elm, sugar tree, etc.

Its productions find their market either at Shawneetown or St. Louis. Its prairies, all of which contain good settlements, are Casey's, Jordon's, Moore's, Walnut Hill, Arm of Grand, and Long prairie. Its streams are East, Middle, and West Forks of Big Muddy river, and Adams's branch of Skillet Fork.

Jefferson county is attached to the third judicial circuit, and sends one member to the house of representatives, and, with Hamilton county, one member to the senate.

The seat of justice is Mount Vernon.


Jo Daviess County was formed in 1827, but has since been reduced to about the following extent From east to west from 12 to 34 miles, and from north to south 37 miles, and extending by the curve of the Mississippi, in a triangular form nearly to a point at its northwestern corner;--containing about 724 square miles.

It is bounded by Wisconsin territory on the north, Stephensori on the east, Whiteside county south, and the Mis sissippi river west.

It is watered by Fever river, Apple, Rush, and Plum creeks, and some smaller streams.

This county is rich, both for agricultural and mining purposes. Lead and copper are in abundance here. Like all the northern part of Illinois, timber is scarce. The surface is undulating-in some places hilly-well watered, both with springs and mill streams.

The timber is in groves, and upon the margins of the streams.

The county was named in honor of the late general Joseph H. Daviess, of Kentucky, who gallantly fell, in the disastrous battle of Tippecanoe, in 1811. It was bad taste, however, in the legislature, to affix the appellation of Jo to a name that has received marked respect in the western states.

The chief export of this region is lead; but it is a fine country for both grain and stock.

Jo Daviess county is attached to the sixth Judicial circuit, and, with Mercer and Rock Island, Stephenson, Winnebago, Ogle and Boone, sends two representatives and one senator to the legislature.

The seat of justice is Galena.


Johnson. County was organised from Randolph in 1812, and is situated in the southern part of the state. It is bounded north by Franklin; east by Pope; south by the Ohio river; and west by Union and Alexander counties.

It is from twenty-five to thirty miles long; breadth, eighteen; its area, about 486 square miles.

The interior of the county is watered by Cash river and Big Bay creek. Between these streams and ten or twelve miles from the Ohio river, which washes its southern boundary, is a line of ponds, interspersed with ridges and islands of rich land; and at high water, a large current passes out of Big Bay into Cash river.

On the south side of these ponds is very rich land with a string of settlements; but an unhealthy region. Between this tract and the Ohio river, is a tract of barrens and timber, with a tolerably good soil, but not much population. A line of settlements contiguous to the Ohio river extends through the county.

Johnson county contains considerable quantities of good land, tolerably level, well timbered, and inclining to a sandy soil. The principal timber in this region, is cypress, sugar maple, oaks of various species, hickory, sweet gum, with some poplar, elm, walnut, and cedar.

Johnson county sends one member to the house of representatives; and with Pope, one to the senate. It be longs to third judicial circuit.

The seat of justice is Vienna.


Kane County was formed from the attached portion of La Salle, January, 1836. It is bounded north by Boone and McHenry, east by Cook, south by La Salle, and west by Ogle county.

It is thirty-six miles square, and contains 1296 square miles.

It is watered by Fox river in its southeastern parts, and Indian creek, Somenauk, Rock and Blackberry, Wabonsic, Morgan and Mill creeks that enter Fort river, and on its western and northwestern portion, several small streams, and the south and main branches of the Kishwaukee or Scyamore, that enters Rock river. These are all excellent mill streams, and already saw and flouring mills are built or in progress.

The timber is in groves, of which Au Sable, Big-woods, Little-woods and various others are thickly settled around. There is white, black, red, yellow and bur oaks, sugar maple, linden or basswood, black and white walnut, hickory, ash of various species, white poplar, ironwood, elm, some cherry, and occasional clumps of cedar along the cliffs that overhang Fox river, and other streams.

Population from twelve to fifteen hundred and rapidly increasing.

Kane county belongs to the seventh judicial circuit and is represented in connection with La Salle, and Iroquois.

The seat of justice is not permanently located.


Knox County is bounded north by Henry; east by Peoria, and a corner of Putnam; south by Fulton; arid west by Warren, and a corner of Mercer.

It is thirty miles long, and from twenty-four to thirty miles broad-containing 792 square miles.

It is watered by Henderson and Spoon rivers, and their tributaries.

The prairies in this county are large and generally of the best quality; and there are several large and excellent tracts of timber on the water courses. The soil in general is of the first quality.

Knox county was laid off by the legislature in a general distribution of counties on the military tract, in January, 1825, though not organised for judicial purposes till about five years after.

It belongs to the fifth judicial circuit, and with Warren and Henry sends one member to each branch of the legislature.

Population about 2000.

Seat of justice, Knoxville.


La Salle County was formed in 1831. It is bounded north by Kane, east by Will, south by Livingston and M'Lean, and west by Putnam. It is 48 miles long from east to west, and 36 miles wide, with an addition of four townships projecting south from its southwest corner Containing about 1864 square miles.

Besides the Illinois river, which passes through it, Fox river, Big and Little Vermilion, Crow creek, An Sable, Indian creek, Mason, Tomahawk, and several smaller streams water this county. In general, the streams in this part of the state run over a rocky or gravelly bed, and have but few alluvial bottoms near them.

Like the adjacent counties, La Salle is deficient in timber; but contains abundance of rich, undulating, dry prai rie, fine mill streams, extensive coal beds, and must eventually become a rich county. Its situation will enable the population to send off their produce either by the Illinois river to a southern market, or by the lakes to the north.

La Salle county belongs to the seventh judicial circuit and with Kane sends one representative, and, with the addition of Iroquois, one senator to the legislature.

The seat of justice is Ottawa.

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