Bond County, Illinois

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Bond County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is part of the St. Louis Metro Area. In 2006, the population is 18,055. As of the 2000 census, the population is 17,633. Its county seat is Greenville, Illinois.[1]

Contents

History

Bond County was formed in 1817 out of Madison County. It was named for Shadrach Bond, who was then the delegate from the Illinois Territory to the United States Congress, and who thereupon became the first governor of Illinois, serving from 1818 to 1822.[2]

The county's primary city, Greenville, had a post office from 1819 and was incorporated as a town in 1855 and as a city in 1872.[2] A few possible reasons have been put forth for the naming of the town. Some think the town was named after Greenville, North Carolina, which had been named after Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene. Others say that Greenville was named by early settler Thomas White because it was "so green and nice." A third possibility is that Greenville was named after Green P. Rice, the town's first merchant.[2]

In 1824, a vote taken on slavery in Bond County had received 240 votes against and 63 votes for slavery.[3] While Illinois was not a slave state, it was adjacent to slave states, Missouri and Kentucky, and did allow the continued use of "indentured servants," a process many slaveowners used to keep their slaves even in a free state.[3]

In Bond County, at one point 14 slaves were registered to eight owners.[3] One slave, Silas Register, took his last name from the act of being registered at the county clerk's office. Register was the last known Bond County slave to survive; he died in 1872 at the age of 76.[3] A few of the slaves are buried in the county with the families they were indentured to.[3] One former slave, Fanny, was free after her owners moved out of the state and worked in the town so that she could buy her husband, Stephen, at auction in Missouri.[3]

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