#SmallTownSaturday – Farmer City, Illinois


Welcome back to Small Town Saturday! This week, we’ll be looking at Farmer City Illinois.

Farmer City, a small town in DeWitt County Illinois, had a complicated early life. The first town in the area was founded by a man by the name of Dennis Hurley, who arrived in 1830. He named the area “Hurley’s Grove,” though this name would not last long. Hurley would severely injure himself with the ramrod of his gun shortly after settling in the region. He was followed by Nathan Clearwater and Richard Kirby, with 9 families living in the area by 1835.

By 1837, 19 families lived in Hurley’s Grove.… Read More

#SmallTownSaturday – Princeton, Illinois

After a few short years of hiatus, #SmallTownSaturday is back!

This month, we are looking at the town of Princeton in Bureau County, Illinois. The county was established in 1837, with Princeton as the county seat.

Figure 1: Bird’s eye view of the city of Princeton, Bureau County, Illinois circa 1870s

Princeton was formed in the early 1830s as a transplant colony for the Hampshire Colony Congregational Church of Northampton, Massachusetts. It became a stop of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad in the 1850s and began expanding quickly. Abraham Lincoln himself stopped in Princeton in 1854. Lincoln gave a well-attended speech in Bryant Woods on the Fourth of July 1854.… Read More

#SmallTownSaturday – New Salem, IL

New Salem State Park Postcard (PD)

This week for #SmallTownSaturday, we’re traveling back to the place Abraham Lincoln first called home as an adult in Illinois – the village of New Salem – near what’s now Petersburg, IL (pop. 2,299)!

New Salem’s origins can be traced to 1828 when James Rutledge, originally of South Carolina, and his relative John Camron, originally from Georgia, moved their families from Kentucky and settled on a bluff overlooking the Sangamon River’s west bank. There, Rutledge and Camron hoped to build a dam and a grist- and sawmill. They petitioned the state for permission to dam the river and began construction in early 1829.… Read More