Champaign County Genealogy and History

Champaign County is representative of all that is best in American life. To the state and the country at large it is chiefly known for its extraordinary agricultural capacity and for the great University which has been planted in its midst, and which has drawn to its territory thousands of able and inspiring men and women. Many have remained to become a part of its higher life, both in intellectual and moral endeavors. Those who know Champaign County more intimately, natives or old-time residents, also appreciate the solidity of its material wealth and the sturdy fiber of its sons and daughters. There is no county in the United States which has been more faithfully cultivated and the richness of whose soil has been conserved in a more intelligent and scientific manner. The grains, the fruits and the live stock of the county, the artificial drainage, and the various auxiliaries to wholesome and prosperous living, are of the same high grade as its men and women.

One of the richest, most prosperous and progressive counties in southern Illinois, Champaign also represents a nucleus of mental activity and culture, national, even international, in its scope. The cities of Champaign and Urbana, virtually one municipal community, although separately incorporated, are of unique character in that their prosperity has been largely stimulated by the activities of what has become a great university; that their material growth still is invigorated by its membership; that they are practically without industries, and yet that they thrive and expand and possess a vigorous and developing life seldom enjoyed by a university town, and certainly by no other like municipality in the United States. In 1918 Champaign County had two cities and seventeen incorporated villages within its limits. It was divided into twenty-eight townships, was bisected by the fortieth degree of north latitude, which crosses it about four miles south of the courthouse at Urbana, and was about thirty-six miles from north to south and twenty-eight east and west.

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French Influence
The grand march of French exploration and discovery up the valley of the St Lawrence, through Cartier and Champlain; around the fringes of the upper Great Lakes and gradually into the outlying country by the same far-seeing, brave and patriotic Champlain; the wonderful combination of Church and State, which penetrated the wilderness, subdued its savages both by the mysteries of Catholicism, gentle and brotherly offices and the pageantry of a gorgeous government all these successive steps leading to the voyages of Marquette and Joliet which drove the wedge into the very center of the American continent and commenced to let in the light of the world, have been so often told that they comprise the common knowledge of the reading universe.

Agriculture of Champaign County, Illinois
The friable soil and the equable climate of Champaign County are adapted to the raising of fruits, and its horticultural society has been maintained for many years. Despite the advantages of soil and climate and the best efforts of the birds, however, the insect pest has been most aggressive of late years, and the cereals have almost superseded the fruits.

Geography of Champaign County, Illinois
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Champaign county has a total area of 2,584 km² (998 mi²). 2,582 km² (997 mi²) of it is land and 2 km² (1 mi²) of it (0.07%) is water.

Biographies of Champaign County, Illinois
The 475 biographies from this section were extracted from the Standard History of Champaign County, Illinois written by J. R. Stewart. They are a cross reference of the residents of Champaign County, and most were alive during 1918.

Source: A Standard History of Champaign County, Illinois, by J. R. Stewart, published by The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago And New York, 1918.

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