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Jo Daviess County, Illinois

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A Brief History of Jo Daviess County, Illinois   

Jo Daviess County was organized from Peoria, February 17, 1827, and was bounded as follows:  Beginning on the Mississippi River at the northwestern corner of the state, thence down the Mississippi to the north line of the Military Tract, thence east to the Illinois River, thence north to the northern boundary of the state, thence west to the place of beginning.  Galena was named as the county seat. 

    Among those who have been prominent in the history of this county, who arrived in 1827, are, Dr. Horatio Newhall, Capt. H. H. Gear and family, John G. Hughlett, James G. Soulard, William B. Green, Harvey Mann, Charles Peck, Solomon Oliver, Allan Tomlin, Gov. Thomas Ford, Col. James M.Strode, C.C.P. Hunt, Capt. John Atchison, Paul M. Gratiot, Nathaniel Morris, Moses Hallett, Lucius H. and Edward Langworthy, William Hempstead, D. B. Morehouse, and many others whose names are familiar in Jo Daviess county. (Excerpt taken from History of Jo Daviess County - 1878  by H. F. Kett & Co.)


   Jo Daviess county, situated in the northwest corner of the State; has an area of 663 square miles; population (in 1900) 24,533. It was first explored by Le Seuer, who reported the discovery of lead in 1700. Another Frenchman (Bouthillier) was the first permanent white settler, locating on the site of the present city of Galena in 1820. About the same time came several American families; a trading post was established, and the hamlet was known as Fredericks' Point, so called after one of the pioneers. In 1822 the Government reserved from settlement a tract 10 miles square along the Mississippi, with a view of controlling the mining interest. In 1823 mining privileges were granted upon a royalty of one-sixth, and the first smelting furnace was erected the same year. Immigration increased rapidly and, inside of three years, the "Point" had a population of 150, and a post-office was established with a fortnightly mail to and from Vandalia, then the State capital. In 1827 county organization was effected, the county being named in honor of Gen. Joseph Hamilton Daviess, who was killed in the Battle of Tippecanoe. The original tract, however, has been subdivided until it now constitutes nine counties. The settlers took an active part in both the Winnebago and Black Hawk Wars. In 1846-47 the mineral lands were placed on the market by the Government, and quickly taken by corporations and individuals. The scenery is varied and the soil (particularly in the east) well suited to the cultivation of grain. The county is well wooded and well watered, and thoroughly drained by the Fever and Apple Rivers. The name Galena was given to the county-seat (originally, as has been said, Fredericks' Point) by Lieutenant Thomas, Government Surveyor, in 1827, in which year it was platted. Its general appearance is picturesque. Its early growth was extraordinary, but later (particularly after the growth of Chicago) it received a set-back. In 1841 it claimed 2000 population and was incorporated; in 1870 it had about 7,000 population, and, in 1900, 5,005. The names of Grant, Rawlins and E.B. Washburne are associated with its history. Other important towns in the county are Warren (population 1,327), East Dubuque (1,145) and Elizabeth (659). "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois", Newton Bateman, editor, 1901

 Jo Daviess Online Information:

The 1850 Mortality Schedule

The 1860 Census of Guilford Township

Townships, Cities & Cemeteries

Historical Documents
(newspaper articles/histories/biographies)

he Early Mennonites Of Jo Daviess County

History of Jo Daviess County 1904

Jo Daviess Joliet Prison Convicts

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