History of Ford County

History of Ford County

468 Square Miles
Population: 14,275

In 1818, Illinois, the 21st State, embracing an area of more than 55,000 square miles was organized and admitted to the Union. Two years later, when a general Census was taken, Illinois ranked 24th in population.

Shortly after the organization of the Illinois Territory, 2 counties, St. Clair and Randolph, we reformed. Over the years these counties were divided until now there are 102 counties represented within the boundaries of the state.

Ford County was the last to be formed, organized on February 17, 1859. It is shaped like an inverted “T” and was named after Governor Thomas Ford. It is 41 miles long from North to South and 27 miles wide from East to West consisting of 486 square miles. The population in 1860 was 1,197; in 1880 the population was 5,105. The 1980 Census indicated the population at 15,265, the 1990 Census recorded a population of 14,275, the 2000 Census recorded a population of 14,241 and the 2010 Census recorded a population of 14,081.

Ford County’s first National Election was held in November of 1860, when Lincoln was Elected President of the United States. On January 16, 1860, the location of the Courthouse and Jail were decided on the block where they now stand. The first Courthouse was completed on February 15, 1862. The Sheriff’s residence and Jail were completed in 1872. The decision to repair and rebuild the old Courthouse was made on June 11, 1908. The Ford County Courthouse is located in the City of Paxton. It is a two-story and basement building approximately 94 feet by 80 feet. The building is surmounted by a distinctive copper covered dome.

A new Correctional Facility and Sheriff’s Office was completed in 1993. The Courthouse was repaired and remodeled to make it comply with ADA requirements in 1996.

Ford County adopted the Township form of Government at an Election held November 6, 1860.

There are currently 12 Townships – Rogers, Mona, Pella, Brenton, Lyman, Wall, Peach Orchard, Sullivant Drummer, Dix, Patton and Button. Each has a Governing body consisting of a Supervisor, Clerk, 4 Trustees and a Road Commissioner.

Other units of local Government in Ford County include 83 Drainage Districts, 13 Fire Protection Districts, 1 Park District, 7 Villages, 2 Cities, 7 School Districts, 4 Junior College Districts, 5 Public Library Districts, 4 Regional Office of Education Districts, 2 Land Commissions, 4 Cemetery Districts and 4 Multi – Township Assessment Districts.

Other units of local Government in Ford County include 83 Drainage Districts, 13 Fire Protection Districts, 1 Park District, 7 Villages, 2 Cities, 7 School Districts, 4 Junior College Districts, 5 Public Library Districts, 4 Regional Office of Education Districts, 2 Land Commissions, 4 Cemetery Districts and 4 Multi – Township Assessment Districts.

The County of Ford, one of the largest Employers in the County, has approximately 100 Employees dedicated to the on-going service of the citizens of the County.

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