Ina, Illinois

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Ina is the southern-most village in Jefferson County, Illinois, United States. The population was 2,455 as of the 2000 census. It is part of the Mount Vernon Micropolitan Statistical Area.



Ina is located at 38°9′2″N 88°54′17″W / 38.15056°N 88.90472°W / 38.15056; -88.90472 (38.150648, -88.904709).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.2 km²), all of it land.

Ina was located on high ground adjacent to the Casey Creek/Big Muddy River bottoms. The Big Muddy has since been dammed to form Rend Lake.


Many Cherokee families settled in Ina around 1840. They were apparently refugees from the Trail of Tears. In the 1800s Ina was jokingly referred to as "the Cherokee Reservation."

The main settlement in this area was Spring Garden, about three miles northeast of Ina. Spring Garden prospered from 1848 until the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad was built in 1905. After that, the population and business shifted over to the depots at Ina and Bonnie.

Ina is the home of the Big Muddy River Correctional Center and Rend Lake Community College.

A famous double murder occurred in Ina in 1924, when Rev. Lawrence Hight and his lover Elsie Sweeten poisoned Sweeten's husband, in July, and Hight's wife in September. Autopsies revealed arsenic. Hight and Sweeten were both sent to prison. Elsie Sweeten was granted another trial and was later acquitted of murder and released from Jail.


The following population figures for Ina are greatly influenced by the approximately 1850 male inmates who are included from the Big Muddy River Correctional Center, which has been annexed to the original village. (The population of the village outside of the Correctional Center is approximately 600 people.) As of the census[2] of 2000, there are officially 2,455 people, 199 households, and 140 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,020.6 people per square mile (393.3/km²). There were 233 housing units at an average density of 96.9/sq mi (37.3/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 55.15% White, 41.79% African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 2.12% from other races, and 0.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.48% of the population.

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