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Vermilion County

Danville was founded in 1827 on sixty acres of land donated by Guy W. Smith and twenty donated by Dan W. Beckwith. The sale of lots was set for April 10, 1827 and advertised in newspapers in Indianapolis, Indiana and the state capital of Vandalia.

The first post office was established in May of the same year in the house of Amos Williams, organizer of Vermilion and Edgar Counties and a prominent Danville citizen. Williams and Beckwith drew up the first plat map; the city was named after Dan Beckwith at Williams' suggestion, although Beckwith suggested the names "Williamsburg" and "Williamstown".

Beckwith was born in Pennsylvania in 1795 and moved to Indiana as a young man; in 1819 he accompanied the first white explorers to the area where Danville later existed because of his interest in the salt springs of the Vermilion River.

Abraham Lincoln practiced law in Danville from 1841 until 1859. It was here he made his final address in Illinois from his train bound for Washington on February 11, 1861. Visitors can visit the Vermilion County Museum, designed to replicate the courthouse that was here when Lincoln practiced law, and the adjacent Fithian Home, a Lincoln site on the National Register of Historic Places. Another great museum is the Vermilion County War Museum, housed in a former Carnegie Library building, one of the most impressive in Illinois.

Today, Danville is the first stop from the East in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, when coming from I-74 and for those looking for a unique location; they should definitely look into picturesque Danville and Vermilion County.

The adventurous can canoe down the Middle Fork River, the only federally designated scenic river in Illinois, or enjoy our over 15,000 acres of public parkland.

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



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!

Vermilion County Museum
The Fithian House
Illiana Genealogical and Historical Society
The Lamon House
Vermilion County River Country

For more information on Vermilion County or the city of Danville, please visit: