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Illiopolis Business Association 

Local History


(Taken from the Centennial History of Illiopolis 1956)

Sangamon County, originally referred to in records as Sangamo, received its name from the Indians.  Sangamo, in the Pottawatamee language, is said to mean "a country where there is plenty to eat." To these Indians, who were of both plains and woodland type, the prairies with their fertile soil and forests abounding in game, large and small, elk, buffaloes, and fur bearing animals, were a paradise.

History has no record as to the first white men who visited the county.  The French explorers on their voyage down the Illinois River must have come close by, but it is doubtful whether they journeyed far inland.  The first white settlement is believed to have been made about 1816 in the southern part of the county.

In the original boundaries there were included a small part of Mason, parts of Christian, McLean, Woodford, Putnam, and all of Logan, Tazewell, Menard, and Cass.  Eventually the above named sections were cut off to form new counties and the boundaries of Sangamon established as they are at the present time.  In November of 1860 the people of the county voted to adopt township organization and twenty-two such political divisions were made.  In 1875, Illiopolis Township being considered too large, the western section was taken to form Wheatfield, now Lanesville Township.  At the present time there are twenty-seven townships, Illiopolis forming the eastern wing, and, because of its shape, nicknamed by the early settlers, the "coon's tail."

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