History of all 16 counties: #10 McDonough County

McDONOUGH COUNTY

POPULATION: 32,612

INTERESTING FACTS: Originally named after War 1812 hero Thomas Mcdonough. Land was originally set aside for veterans of the war of 1812.  The county is actually a perfect square with the courthouse in its center.

MAJOR CITIES:

  1. Macomb: Population – 21,516. Named for General Alexander Macomb from the war of 1812. The population of the town boomed during the 1850s when the Northern Cross Railroad Company was constructed through the town. Western Illinois University was founded in Macomb in 1899 (originally called Western Illinois State Normal School). Over the years several presidents have visited Macomb including Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt (Abe Lincoln and Barack Obama have also visited but before they were elected presidents). WIU was also home to the St. Louis Rams training camp from 1996-2004. Macomb is also home to Spring Lake Park. Macomb is also home to several notable people including Spin City actor Michael Boatman, author Joe Garner, Frasier star John Mahoney,  game designer Lizze Magie who created the game that became Monopoly, former Denver Broncos head coach Red Miller who took the Orange Crush to Super Bowl 12, and civil rights icon and close friend of Dr. King C.T. Vivian.
  2. Bushnell: Population – 3,117. Founded in 1854 when the Northern Cross Railroad came through town. Named for the president of that railroad, Nehemiah Bushnell. Home to Vaughan & Bushnell hammer factory and Kitchen Cooked Potato Chips. Hosted Cornerstone Festival from 1991 to 2012; a Christian music concert each year on the 4th of July that brought 25,000 people from around the world to the tiny farm community. Also hosts the widely attended Bushnell Horse Show each year.
  3. Colchester: Population – 1,493. The city is named after the town Colchester, England. Known for their rich history of coal mining which was discovered in the 1850s and attracted many Irish immigrants from Pennsylvania to work the mines. Home to Henry ¨Kelly¨ Wagle, an associate of Al Capone throughout the 1920s, who was instrumental in producing and transporting alcohol from Chicago to Kansas City. Wagle paid members of the Chicago Black Sox to play against a team from Colchester in 1921.
  4. Blandinsville: Population – 651.  Named for Joseph L. Blandin, the owner of the first general store.
  5. Industry: Population – 478.
  6. Prairie City: Population – 461. Founded in 1854 and boomed with production of rails by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company. Home to the Decker Press which was the largest publishing house devoted to poetry in the 1940s. The business ended in 1950 in  a tragic murder suicide. In 1952 they combined schools with Bushnell, IL.
  7. Good Hope: Population – 396.
  8. Bardolph: Population – 253.
  9. Tennessee: Population – 144. This village was named after the state of Tennessee
  10. Sciota: Population – 61. Founded in 1867 as Clarkesville but changed its name to Sciota in 1869.  In 1878 it was the largest producer of grain in the county, but it became completely surrounded by corn and soybean fields. A newspaper called The Sciota Sentinel apparently only survived one issue in 1895.

 

 

*Link to historic places in McDonough County

*Link to Spring Lake Park in Macomb, IL

*Link to McDonough County Voice

*Link to Lizzie Magie and the Monopolization of Monopoly

*Link to web archive of C.T. Vivian

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