Princeton, Illinois

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Princeton is a city in Bureau County, Illinois, United States. The population was 7,501 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Bureau County.[1]

Princeton is part of the OttawaStreator Micropolitan Statistical Area.



Princeton was settled in the 1830s by families from New England and the Mid-Atlantic states.[2]

Princeton was a stop on the underground railroad. This was located at the home of Owen Lovejoy.[2]

Princeton was supposedly named by the draw from a hat. The story goes as follows: "The naming of the township of Princeton was the privilege of the three trustees, Roland Moseley, John Musgrove and John P. Blake. When these men came together to act upon the subject of christening this new legal division of land, each one had a favorite name to present. It is only natural when one wanders away from the scenes of his early life that he should feel a longing for something that looks or sounds like home, so it was with the school trustees of what is now Princeton. They each presented the name of their choice, but could come to no agreement; finally it was decided that is should be settled by lottery. Each man was to write the name of his choice upon a piece of paper and place it in a hat, and a stranger, being blind-folded, should make the drawing. Mr. Musgrove, coming from New Jersey, and being loyal to his classic institution, wrote upon his slip Princeton, and as it had been agreed that the first name drawn should settle the question, there was quite a little excitement in the preparation for the deciding contest. Matters were finally arranged and the bandage placed over the eyes of the drawer and he was led up to the hat wherein the papers had been placed and with outstretched hand he stood ready to decide the great and momentous question of christening the first born of the future Bureau county. At last the word was given, the drawing was made, while those interested stood with bated breath, awaiting the result which was soon announced by the declaration that upon the slip of paper drawn by the blind-folded man Princeton was plainly written, and so we today have the classic name of Princeton for the legal center of Bureau county. Princeton, for many years has enjoyed the distinction of being one of the literary centers of the state. She has the proud record of organizing and putting in successful operation the first township high school in Illinois. It is surely a city of quiet and pleasant homes." (Past and Present of Bureau County, 1906, by Harrington)[citation needed]

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