Franklin County, Illinois

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Franklin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of 2000, the population was 39,018. Its county seat is Benton.[1]



Franklin County was established on January 2, 1818 and formed out of Gallatin and White Counties. It was named for Benjamin Franklin.[2]

The first settlers arrived in Franklin County in 1804. This group included six brothers named Jordan. They settled near the southeastern corner of the County, near modern Thompsonville. The first year they built a pole shed, covered with brush, chinked with mud, thatched with grass, and open to the south. They kept a fire burning outside the south face. This was called the Jordan Settlement.[citation needed]

In the winter of 1809, during Tecumseh's War, there was fear of attacks by Indians. Governor Edwards issued a call for the building of forts. Frank Jordan built two forts. The one at the settlement was called "Jordan's Fort". The second was several miles west. It was called "Frank's Fort", which eventually became West Frankfort.[citation needed]

Franklin County at the time of its formation in 1818

The creation of Williamson County in 1839 reduced Franklin to its current borders.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 431 square miles (1,116.3 km2), of which 412 square miles (1,067.1 km2) is land and 19 square miles (49.2 km2) (4.48%) is water. Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area is located in this county.

Adjacent counties

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