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Tazewell County

Tazewell County was formed out of Peoria County in 1827 and the consensus appears to be that it was named in honor of Littleton Tazewell, who was serving in the U.S. Senate, and who became Governor of Virginia in 1834. It is possible, however, that it was named for Littleton's father, prominent Virginia politician Henry Tazewell, for whom Tazewell County, Virginia was named.

On January 1680, Sieur de La Salle (Robert de LaSalle) and 33 fellow explorers landed their canoes on the eastern bank of the Illinois River. They built a winter refuge in what is now the southeast quarter of section of Pekin Township.

Jonathan Tharp was the first non-Indian resident, building a log cabin in 1824. For some time after the arrival of white settlers, there continued to be a quite large Indian village, populated primarily by Potawatomi, along the ridge of what is today Pekin Lake.

While immigrants came in steadily during these years it was 1830 that the most rapid increase came, especially in the Tremont area. In 1836, Tremont, in the central part of the county was primarily established by a New England colony of settlers moving from the east coast and the organization of the city, at its founding was laid off with wide streets a public square around which were arranged the business houses. The frame houses which composed most of the dwellings of the town were painted white giving the village a very neat appearance. Tremont was the County Seat until it was moved to nearby Pekin in 1850.

After a county surveyor named William Hodge laid out a "town site" for Pekin in 1829, an auction of this town plat and site was held in Springfield, Illinois. The village site was awarded to Major Isaac Perkins, Gideon Hawley, William Haines and Major Nathan Cromwell, the last of whose wife named the City of Pekin after Beijing, China, which was at that time spelled "Peking" or "Pekin."

It became the County Seat in 1850 after a significant amount of controversy and a court case that involved none other than Abraham Lincoln in arguing and deciding the new County Seat.

In today’s Tazewell County, from riverboat gambling to golfing and shopping, visitors are offered several places to play while in the Peoria Area. Whether it's family entertainment or unique outdoor events you're looking for, take some time to relax in the communities that make this area truly entertaining. Located in the county seat of Pekin, visitors will want to spend the afternoon in Mineral Springs Park, which offers paddleboat rides, a water park, miniature golf and more. Plus, East Peoria, Morton, Mackinaw, Tremont and Washington all offer great outdoor fun and indoor activities such as theaters, sports complexes, unique shopping, great events and more!

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

Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway
Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society
Tremont Historical Society Jones-Menard House

For more information on Tazwell County or the cities of Pekin and Tremont, please visit: