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COOK COUNTY, situated in the northeastern section of the State, bordering on Lake Michigan, and being the most
easterly of the second tier of counties south of the Wisconsin State line. It has an area of 890 square miles;
population (1890), 1,191,922; (1900), 1,838,735; county-seat, Chicago. The county was organized in 1831, having
originally embraced the counties of Du Page, Will, Lake, McHenry and Iroquois, in addition to its present territorial
It was named in honor of Daniel P. Cook, a distinguished Representative of Illinois in Congress. (See Cook, Daniel
P.) The first County Commissioners were Samuel Miller, Gholson Kercheval and James Walker, who took the oath of
office before Justice John S. C. Hogan, on March 8, 1831. William Lee was appointed Clerk and Archibald Clybourne
Treasurer. Jedediah Wormley was first County Surveyor, and three election districts (Chicago, Du Page and Hickory
Creek) were created. A scow ferry was established across the South Branch, with Mark Beaubien as ferryman. Only
non-residents were required to pay toll.
Geologists are of the opinion that, previous to the glacial epoch, a large portion of the county lay under the
waters of Lake Michigan, which was connected with the Mississippi by the Des Plaines River. This theory is borne
out by the finding of stratified beds of coal and gravel in the eastern and southern portions of the county, either
under lying the prairies or assuming the form of ridges. The latter, geologists maintain, indicate the existence
of an ancient key, and they conclude that, at one time, the level of the lake was nearly forty feet higher than
at present. Glacial action is believed to have been very effective in establishing surface conditions in this vicinity.
Lime stone and building stone are quarried in tolerable abundance. Athens marble (white when taken out, but growing
a rich yellow through exposure) is found in the southwest. Isolated beds of peat have also been found.
The general surface is level, although undulating in some portions. The soil near the lake is sandy, but in the
interior becomes a black mold from one to four feet in depth. Drainage is afforded by the Des Plaines, Chicago
and Calumet Rivers, which is now being improved by the construction of the Drainage Canal. Manufactures and agriculture
are the principal industries outside of the city of Chicago.