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In Illinois, townships were established as units of state government under the 2nd Illinois Constitution of 1848.

Up to this point, a County Commission form of local government prevailed. Under this form, the county unit was the governing body, with commissioners responsible for the administration and legislative affairs of towns and villages within a county.

In 1849, voters within Illinois counties were given the right to adopt the township form of local government. With the option of choosing a township type of government, voters had the opportunity to elect officials from their local communities who would be directly responsible for conducting business necessary to maintain their communities.

Over the next several decades, the response to adopting township government exploded and today, 85 of Illinois' 102 counties operate under a township form of local government, with 1,433 townships serving more than 8 million people.

Maps on this page used with the kind permission by Michael L. Hebert. To see more maps like this please visit Illinois County Boundaries 1790 - Present This account is taken from early histories of the county and other sources.

Illinois county boundaries 1818

Illinois county boundaries

On February 3, 1809, Illinois became a separate Territory and in 1818 was admitted as a state of the Federal Union. It was covered by tall wild grass with scattered woods along the waterways. By the time Illinois achieved statehood in 1818, word about the rich soil and the open prairies had already reached the East.

Settlement began in 1818 when Kentuckians James and Betsey Chapman, and her brother Richard Latham built a cabin on the Sangamon River north of Springfield, which at the time only had two cabins. Shortly after their arrival, James Latham arrived and also settled along the Sangamon.

A January thaw caused the river to over flow, and Latham decided to seek higher elevation than the river valley. He, Richard, and Ebernezer Briggs crossed the Sangamon and headed north until they reached what became known as Elkhart Hill. There they found a good location near a spring and marked the site for the first cabin built in Logan County. The central Illinois country had not been surveyed when Latham settled at Elkhart.

He erected a small cabin near the spring and planted a crop. With the cabin completed and the crop established, James Latham returned to Kentucky for his family. They arrived at Elkhart Hill in September, 1819 with several wagons of furnishings.

When Illinois became a state in 1818 it only had fifteen counties. At that time, Bond County contained the area which eventually became Logan County. The map above shows the counties in 1818 when Illinois became a state. On January 30, 1821, the State Legislature established Sangamon County. It included parts of present day Christian, Macon, McLean, Woodford, Marshall and Putnam counties as well as all of Logan, Tazewell, Mason, Menard and Cass counties.

Dr. John Logan
During the 1838-39 session of the Eleventh Grand Assembly, Representative Abraham Lincoln of the Committee on Counties introduced a bill to establish Loagan County, which he named after his friend and fellow legislator Dr. John Logan. The bill was approved February 5, 1839. In 1841 Logan gained more land from Tazewell County. In 1847 a small part of DeWitt County became part of Logan County, completing the county boundaries as we know them today.

The first county seat was Postville. In 1848 it was moved to Mt. Pulaski. In 1855, after a two year legal fight settled by the Illinois Supreme Court, it was moved to the new town of Lincoln, a more central location. The present county seat of Logan County is Lincoln. It was named after Abraham Lincoln in 1853 -- before he became President. Lincoln christened the new town with juice from a watermelon. The map to the right shows the states county boundaries in 1839.


county map showing townships and towns

Communities in Logan County and Brief History


Atlanta was founded in 1853. Abraham Lincoln attended a Fourth of July celebration here at Turner's Grove in 1859.


Location of grist mill, saw mill, and brick tile factory built by Samuel Baker.In 1833, Samuel Baker came to Illinois when in his mid-teens. He probably came to Bakerville after the Civil War. Previously, the Baker family lived at the Yankeetown Settlement about 2 miles southwest. The chimney and some clay pits remain from Baker's grist and saw mills, and the brick-tile factory. The site is marked by a historical marker.


Founded in 1872 and platted by Silas Beason and others. Silas Beason was a lawyer and was instrumental in attracting the Illinois Central Railroad to Beason.



Originally a branch of the Sugar Creek Congregation located east of Bethel, the church was built in 1854. Big Prairie post office was located east of the present church and Bethel grade school stood across the road. The cemetery adjoins the church.



Is the smallest town in Logan County. In 1871 a rail road was started and it was completed in January 1873. The town was settled in 1873. Originally it was known as Burton, then Burton View in 1873 when a post office was established there. Later it was changed to one word Burtonview.



Platted in 1872 by David Clark and named in honor of railroad official Logan B. Chestnut. The Illinois Central Railroad played an import role in development of community. It claims to be the geographic center of the state of Illinois. A monument in the village park and common honors this distinction.


Was surveyed and platted in August,1871, and named by Joshua Day who had owned the land. The town was dedicated September 28, 1871.


Elkhart Hill is 777 feet high and covers more than 600 acres. Native Americans believed the hill to be in the shape of an elk's heart. The gravesite of Captain Adam Bogardus, wing shot champion of the world, who traveled with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show and a Mississippi River boat show, is here. The John Dean Gillett Memorial Chapel is on Elkhart Hill. J. D. Gillett became known as the "Cattle King of the World" because of his breeding of short-horn cattle He was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. The Hill is also the gravesite of Richard J. Oglesby - General, Governor, and Senator.


Emden was named for Emden, on the River Ems in northern Germany. The town was surveyed in 1871. Teis Smid, a blacksmith and William Smith are credited with the establishment of Emden.




Founded in 1871 by David Harts and surveyed by Thomas Gardner of Pekin, Illinois.


Founded in 1881. Indian mounds have been identified in the area.


Surveyed in 1871 and incorporated in 1884. A station on the Peoria, Decatur and Evansville Railroad. Named for Colonel Latham of Lincoln, who helped build the Railroad.


Lawndale was laid out and platted by Thomas Easten in 1854. Easten had already erected a saw mill, home, and store on the Kickapoo Creek near the site. At one time, the Lawndale elevator handled more grain shipments than any elevator between Chicago and St. Louis. Lawndale was also known as Kickapoo by the early settlers of the area.


Lincoln is the County Seat of Logan County. Lincoln was the first city to be named for Abraham Lincoln, an event which occured in 1853 before he became a nationally known figure. Abraham Lincoln christened the new town, named in his honor, with juice from a watermelon. Stephen A. Douglas spoke here on September 4, 1858, during his famous campaign against Abraham Lincoln for the Senate seat. Lincoln was in attendance but did not speak.



Was founded by Hiram S. Allen on October 13, 1832. It is the oldest town in Logan County. Abraham Lincoln, then living in New Salem, witnessed the deed to the first lot sold in the community in June 1833. The town was a stagecoach stop midway on the route between Peoria and Springfield.



Founded in 1836. Named for Count Casimir Pulaski, a Revolutionary War Patriot. Mt. Pulaski Courthouse in Mt. Pulaski served as Logan County Courthouse from 1847 to 1853. The courthouse is one of two remaining courthouses on the Eighth Judicial Circuit where Abraham Lincoln practised law. It is listed on the National Historic Register and was purchased and restored by the State of Illinois.



Founded by Oliver W. Holland in April, 1875.


The town itself lies in two counties: Logan and Mason. It lies in the extreme northwest part of Logan County. It was surveyed and platted by E.Z. Hunt in 1857.


* = not shown on maps

The towns in RED were known as grain stations or elevators which only had a few houses located there.


map of townships


map of early settlements

The town lot boom of the 1830's was one of the most interesting episodes of the early history of central Illinois. The proprietors of a town needed to have a site surveyed and file a plat in the office of records in the county seat. The lots depicted in the plat became articles of commerce, just like shares of stock in a corporation, to be traded actively in the real estate market. Abraham Lincoln himself signed the plat for Albany as Deputy Surveyor of Sangamon County. Like many such speculative episodes, the Town Lot Boom came to a sad end within a few years. The drawing shows where towns of the "Town Lot Boom" were located and when each town was started.

Middletown (1832) and Mt.Pulaski (1836)are the only ones to have survived as independent towns that still exist today. Postville (1835) survived as part of Lincoln. Bloomingdale (1836) had a few buildings for a few years. All the rest Georgetown (1829), Richmond (1834), Rushbrook (1834), Albany (1836), Madison I (1836), Madison II (1836), Eminence (1836), New Castle (1836) and London (1839) have no physical signs of existence today.


Established: February 15, 1839
Origin of the name of the county: Named for Dr. John Logan, a pioneer Illinois physician and friend of Abraham Lincoln who chose the name, father of General John A. Logan.

Present area, or parts of it, formerly included in:
1827–1839 Tazewell
1821–1839 Sangamon
1817–1821 Bond
1812–1817 Madison
1790–1812 St. Clair
1790–1801 Knox, Northwest Territory

County Seats:
1839–1847 Postville — Name changed to Camden prior to 1847
1847–1853 Mt. Pulaski
1853–present Lincoln

postville courthouse

Reproduction of the first Logan County Courthouse at Postville which was in use from 1840 to 1847.


Mt. Pulaski courthouse

The Mt. Pulaski Courthouse served as the second Logan County courthouse from 1848 to 1855. It is one of two surviving court house buildings on the old Eighth Judicial Circuit, which was traveled by Abraham Lincoln.


current Logan County courthouse 

The current Logan County Courthouse located in downtown Lincoln, Illinois.


History of county governing board:
1839-1849 County Commissioners' Court
1849-1867 County Court
1867-present County Board of Supervisors

Documented Record Losses: April 15, 1857 - Lincoln Courthouse Fire
Total record loss for the county from February 15, 1839, to April 15, 1857.
Records prior to 1839 were in Sangamon County and were saved. Some missing records have been reconstructed.

Township government adopted November 7, 1865 - Completion of township organization was delayed until 1867 by a court suit. There are 17 Townships. Prior to Township government the county was divided into 13 Precincts.

Precinct Names:
Lake Fork
Mt. Pulaski
Prairie Creek
Salt Creek
Sugar Creek
Township Names:
East Lincoln
Lake Fork
Mt. Pulaski
Prairie Creek
West Lincoln

This page is "History" on the Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society web site. The address of this site is