Available on Amazon
Illinois was the first state in the country to ratify the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery. The amendment was ratified by Illinois on February 1, 1865, before it was ratified by any other state.
Gallatin County, located in southern Illinois, has a rich history that dates back to before European settlement. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Kaskaskia. In the late 1700s, French and British traders began establishing settlements in the region.

In 1812, Gallatin County was officially founded and named after Albert Gallatin, the fourth Secretary of the Treasury under President Thomas Jefferson. The county quickly gained prominence due to its strategic location along the Ohio River, which played a crucial role in trade and transportation during the early 19th century.

During this time, the county prospered as a center for river commerce and agriculture. The town of Shawneetown, the county seat, became a bustling port and served as the capital of Illinois from 1818 to 1820. However, the town's prosperity declined after the state capital was moved to Vandalia.

Gallatin County also played a role in the history of the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by enslaved African Americans to escape to free states and Canada. Numerous safe houses were established in the county, providing refuge for those seeking freedom.

In the 20th century, Gallatin County faced economic challenges, including the decline of river trade and the loss of manufacturing jobs. However, efforts have been made to promote tourism and preserve the area's historical buildings and landmarks. Today, Gallatin County continues to be a mix of rural landscapes, historic sites, and a close-knit community that honors its past while looking towards the future.

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

  • 1812 - Gallatin County is established as part of the Illinois Territory
  • 1817 - First permanent settlement in the county is established
  • 1818 - Illinois becomes a state and Gallatin County is officially recognized
  • 1823 - Shawneetown becomes the county seat
  • 1839 - The first courthouse is built in Shawneetown
  • 1860s - The county experiences a population boom due to the discovery of coal
  • 1870 - The county seat is moved to Equality
  • 1940s - Gallatin County becomes a major oil-producing region
  • 1973 - The county seat is moved back to Shawneetown
  • 1990s - Gallatin County experiences a decline in population and economic activity
  • Present day - Gallatin County remains a rural area with a focus on agriculture