Will County, Illinois

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Will County is a county located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Illinois. This county is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. As of 2000, the population was 502,266. In 2007, the estimated population was 673,586, making it one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. The county seat of Will County is Joliet, Illinois. The portion of Will County around Joliet uses the 815 and 779 area codes, 630 and 331 area code for far northern Will County, and 708 area code for eastern Will County.

Contents

History

Will County was formed in 1836 out of Cook, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties. It was named after Dr. Conrad Will, a businessman involved in salt production in southern Illinois, and also a politician.[1] (At that time, the law allowed slaves to be leased from other states and used in the free state of Illinois only for salt production.) Will was a member of the first Illinois Constitutional Convention and a member of the Illinois Legislature until his death in 1835. On January 12, 1836, Will County was formed from Cook County and Iroquois County. It included besides its present area, the part of Kankakee County, Illinois lying north of the Kankakee River. Will County lost that area when Kankakee County was organized in 1852, but since then its boundaries have been unchanged.

"WILL, a county in the E. N. E. part of Illinois, bordering on Indiana, has an area of 1,236 square miles (3,200 km2). It is intersected by the Kankakee and Des Plaines Rivers, branches of the Illinois. The surface is generally level, and destitute of timber, excepting small groves. The soil is very fertile, and much of it is under cultivation. The soil of the prairies is a deep, sandy loam, adapted to Indian corn and grass. In 1850 the county produced 527,903 bushels of Indian corn; 230,885 of wheat; 334,360 of oats; 32,043 tons of hay, and 319,054 pounds of butter. It contained 14 churches, 3 newspaper offices; 3472 pupils attending public schools, and 200 attending other schools. Quarries of building stone are worked near the county seat. The Des Plaines river furnishes water-power. The county is intersected by the Illinois and Michigan canal, by the Chicago branch of the Central railroad, the Chicago and Mississippi, and by the Chicago and Rock Island railroad. Named in honor of Conrad Will, for many years a member of the Illinois legislature. Capital, Joliet. Population, 16,703."

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