Historical Markers in
Brown County, Illinois

Illinois was part of the French colonial empire, and the city of Cahokia, located near present-day Collinsville, was one of the largest pre-Columbian cities in North America. At its peak, around 1250 CE, Cahokia had a population of around 20,000 people.
Brown County, Illinois has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The county was established on February 1, 1839, by an act of the Illinois General Assembly. It was named after Jacob Brown, a War of 1812 hero and commander of the United States Army.

The first settlement in Brown County was established in 1823 near a trading post on the Illinois River. Over the years, the county saw an influx of settlers, primarily from the southern states, who were attracted by the fertile land and opportunities for farming. The county quickly became an agricultural hub, with crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans being the mainstay of the local economy.

During the mid-19th century, Brown County played a significant role in the Underground Railroad. The county was a known stopping point for fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom, with many local residents actively assisting and sheltering escaped slaves. This legacy of compassion and resistance to slavery is an important part of Brown County's history.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the county experienced economic growth and development. The construction of railroads and the expansion of infrastructure further boosted the local economy. Today, Brown County continues to thrive as a predominantly agricultural community, known for its picturesque landscapes and warm community spirit.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Brown County, Illinois.

  • Brown County established in 1839
  • First settlers arrive in the area in the early 1820s
  • Brown County's first post office, "Brownsville," opened in 1826
  • County named after U.S. General Jacob Brown
  • County seat of Mount Sterling established in 1835
  • 1839 - First courthouse built in Mount Sterling
  • In 1872, the first railroad line reached Brown County
  • Early 1900s - Coal mining becomes an important industry in the county
  • 1925 - A tornado destroys a significant portion of Mount Sterling
  • 1949 - Brown County Fair Association formed
  • 1981 - Brown County Historical Society founded