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Edgar County

In 1816, the land that is now Edgar County was offered for sale by the federal government after it had been acquired through a treaty with the Kickapoo Indians. The following year, settlers began arriving, many via an Indian trail that became the Chicago-Vincennes Road, also known as Illinois Route 1.

In 1822, Samuel Vance, a Virginian who moved to Illinois after a short stay in Kentucky, purchased 26 acres in the center of what was to become Edgar County. Two years later, Vance and his wife donated the 26 acres to the state for the purpose of establishing a new county seat.

Edgar County is named for John Edgar who was an Irish-born officer in the Royal Navy who resigned his commission rather than fight against the Americans in the Revolutionary War. It is most likely that Paris got its name from the word "Paris" carved on the side of an old jack-oak tree in the center of today’s downtown. It was incorporated as a village in 1849. Abraham Lincoln handled legal work for and was often entertained by one of Paris’ favorite sons, Milton K. Alexander, while on the 8th Judicial Circuit. Alexander’s home is currently center of the Bicentennial Arts Center in Paris! During the 1980’s, the city had tremendous growth with the relocation of various industries. Today, the city is experiencing a new era of development. Some 9,000 residents call Paris home.

By looking at the pictures below, you can get an idea of Paris, Illinois in Lincoln’s time and as it stands today. Maybe you’ll find something unexpected when you go Looking for Lincoln in Paris!



Following the route of Lincoln on the Eighth Judicial Circuit is easy, to learn more about the history of the courthouse in this county, just click here!

You may also want to consider a stop by the following sites of interest!

Paris Art Center (Alexander Home)
Edgar County Historical Complex

For more information on Edgar County or the city of Paris, please visit: