The state of Illinois played a crucial role in the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by slaves to escape to freedom in the 19th century. Many abolitionists in Illinois provided safe houses for escaping slaves, and Chicago was a key hub on the Underground Railroad.
Tazewell County, Illinois has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Kickapoo and Pottawatomie. European settlers began arriving in the early 1820s, with the first permanent settlement established in 1826. The county was officially organized in 1827 and named after Littleton Tazewell, a U.S. Senator from Virginia.

During the mid-19th century, Tazewell County experienced significant economic growth. The construction of the Illinois-Michigan Canal in the 1830s brought increased trade and commerce to the area. The county became a transportation hub, with major stagecoach routes passing through and the advent of railroad connections linking Tazewell County to larger cities like Chicago.

The agricultural industry played a crucial role in shaping the county's development. Tazewell County's fertile soil allowed farmers to produce abundant crops, particularly corn and soybeans. The introduction of advanced farming techniques further boosted agricultural productivity. In addition to farming, coal mining also became a significant industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Tazewell County has also been the birthplace of notable individuals and events in history. For instance, the town of Mackinaw in Tazewell County is famous for being the birthplace of the Mackinaw jacket, a rugged winter coat originally worn by fur traders. The county has also seen its share of political prominence, with influential figures like Adlai E. Stevenson II, former Governor of Illinois and Democratic nominee for President, having ties to the area.

Today, Tazewell County continues to thrive as a primarily rural region with a diverse mix of agricultural and industrial activities. Its rich history, economic growth, and connection to influential individuals make it an interesting and significant part of Illinois.

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

  • 1827 - Tazewell County established
  • 1830 - First settlers arrive in the county
  • 1831 - Pekin becomes the county seat
  • 1835 - Tazewell County's first courthouse built in Pekin
  • 1849 - Illinois River floods Pekin, causing extensive damage
  • 1850 - Population reaches over 17,000
  • 1856 - First railroad line reaches Tazewell County
  • 1877 - Pekin experiences a devastating fire
  • 1917-1918 - Tazewell County contributes to World War I efforts
  • 1930s - Great Depression results in economic challenges
  • 1940s - Tazewell County experiences growth with World War II industries
  • 1974 - East Peoria becomes a separate city from the unincorporated areas
  • 1990s - Tazewell County sees population growth and increased urbanization