Jacksonville, Illinois

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Jacksonville is a city in Morgan County, Illinois, United States. The population was 18,940 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Morgan County.[1]

The town was named in 1825 for future president Andrew Jackson, the commander of American forces at the Battle of New Orleans (1815) and presidential hopeful in 1824.[2] Jacksonville was a major stopping point on the historic Underground Railroad. An Annual Civil War reenactment celebration is named for Jacksonville resident U.S. Army General Benjamin Grierson.

Jacksonville is the principal city of the Jacksonville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Morgan and Scott counties.



On January 6, 1825, John Howard, Abraham Pickett and John C. Lusk were appointed to locate a permanent seat for Morgan County. This county seat was to be as near as possible to the center of Morgan County considering present and future population. Another requirement was that the land must belong to a private citizen or to apply to construction of a courthouse and jail.[citation needed]

On March 10, 1825, Johnston Shelton, the county surveyor, laid out a 5-acre (20,000 m2) public square in a 160-acre (0.65 km2) tract. The land at the time was owned by the government, but using the Ordinance of 1785 as the authority, the tract was sold to Isaac Dial and Thomas Arnett for $1.25 an acre. They, in turn, deeded forty acres (twice the requirement) to Morgan County. The square as laid out was across the intersection of two roads. The first of these, an east/west road, was to run from Springfield west to the Illinois River at Naples. This became State Street. The north/south road became Main Street and the town developed in square blocks from the intersection of State and Main Streets.[2]

By the time Jacksonville was platted with roads and a town square, the first resident, Alexander Cox, was joined by merchants Joseph Fairfield and George Hackett.[2]

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