In the southeast quarter of the State; has an area of 720 square miles; was organized in 1819, and named for General Anthony Wayne. The county is watered and drained by the Little Wabash and its branches, notably the Skillet Fork. At the first election held in the county, only 15 votes were cast. Early life was exceedingly primitive, the first settlers pounding corn into meal with a wooden pestle, a hollowed stump being used as a mortar. The first mill erected (of the antique South Carolina pattern) charged 25 cents per bushel for grinding. Prairie and woodland make up the surface, and the soil is fertile. Railroad facilities are furnished by the Louisville, Evansville & St. Louis and the Baltimore & Ohio (Southwestern) Railroads. Corn, oats, tobacco, wheat, hay and wool are the chief agricultural products. Sawmills are numerous and there are also carriage and wagon factories. Fairfield is the county-seat.
Name changed from Fairfield to Douglas on June 9, 1860; name changed from Douglas to Barnhill on September 3, 1860.
Formed from Arrington on December 12, 1905.
Name changed from Newton to Elm on June 9, 1860; name changed from Elm to Elm River (date unknown, before 1921).
Formed from Orchard (date unknown, before 1921).
Formed as Fairfield from Barnhill on December 14, 1888.
Name changed from Johnson to Franklin on June 9, 1860; name changed from Franklin to Indian Prairie on September 3, 1860.
Formed from Bedford and Indian Prairie in June, 1906.
Name changed from Jefferson on June 9, 1860.
Name changed from Wabash on June 9, 1860.
Name changed from Brush Creek on September 8, 1891.
Formed as Wayne from Four Mile and Arrington in March, 1886; name changed from Wayne to Orel in June, 1886.
©Susan Cook; Illinois Trails History and Genealogy
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