History of all 16 Counties: #8 Henderson County


Map of Illinois highlighting Henderson County


INTERESTING FACTS: Named for Richard Henderson, founder of the Transylvania Company.


  1. Oquawka: Population – 1,371. Started as a successful fur trading post by brothers S.S. and Alexis Phelps. Oquawka is the Indian word for ¨Yellow Bank.¨ Serves as the County seat and the Henderson County Courthouse is the 2nd oldest courthouse in IL still in use. Home of the grave of Norma Jean, a 6,500 lb. circus elephant that was struck by lightning here in 1972.
  2. Dallas City: Population – 945. Town is actually split in Hancock and Henderson County. Named for 11th V.P. George Mifflin Dallas, 1845-1849.
  3. Stronghurst: Population – 833. Named for William Strong, the president of the Santa Fe Railroad, and R.D. Hurst of Topeka, KS who built a railroad through Henderson County, connecting Chicago to Kansas City. A stop here built the town which became known as ¨Magic City¨ because of its quick growth as a railway town.
  4. Lomax: Population – 454.
  5. Biggsville: Population – 304. Named for John Biggs who operated the grain mill. Located between Monmouth, IL and Burlington, Iowa. Once home to Hends-Co Hills Country Club where 2004 British Open Champion Todd Hamilton began playing golf. Home to the horse and buggy museum.
  6. Gladstone: Population – 281. Originally named Sagetown after founder Gideon Sage. Later changed to be named for English statesman William Ewart Gladstone.
  7. Raritan: Population – 138. Founded by settlers of the Dutch Reformed Church who originated from Raritan, New Jersey.
  8. Media: Population – 107. Town is halfway between Chicago and Kansas City.  Experienced a boom when Santa Fe Railroad built through here.
  9. Gulfport: Population – 54. The village was completely submerged after a flood in 2008 where the levee broke. It is slowly being repaired and more people are moving back home.

*List of Historic Places of Henderson County

*History of Dallas City

*History of Villages in Henderson County

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