Main Births etc
The historic Carthage Jail
Country  United States
State Illinois
County Hancock
Elevation 669 ft (204 m)
Coordinates 40°24′52″N 91°08′00″W / 40.41444, -91.1333333
Area 2.44 sq mi (6 km²)
 - land 2.44 sq mi (6 km²)
 - water 0.00 sq mi (0 km²)
Population 2,605 (2010)
Density 1,698.0 / sq mi (656 / km²)
Founded 1838
Mayor Jim Nightingale
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 62321
Area code 217
Location of Carthage within Illinois
Locator Red.svg
Location of Carthage within Illinois

Wikimedia Commons: Carthage, Illinois

Carthage is a city in Hancock County, Illinois, United States. The population was 2,605 as of the 2010 Census. It is the county seat of Hancock County.[1] Carthage is most famous for being the site of the murder of Joseph Smith in 1844.


Hancock County, and Carthage, saw its first settlers arrive sometime in the first few decades of the 19th century. By 1833, simple buildings had been erected in Carthage, and the town was platted in 1838. By this time Carthage had become the county seat of Hancock county.

The only person legally hanged in Hancock County, Efram Fraim, was defended in his trial by roaming country attorney Abraham Lincoln. Fraim was found guilty of murder. Lincoln filed an appeal with the judge in the trial, which was as far as appeals in those days mostly went. Because at the time Carthage had no jail, Fraim was kept at the Courthouse,[2] which was next to the school. Fraim would converse with the children from his second floor window. As a result of these conversations, most of the school children were present when their new friend, Efraim, was hanged. The hanging is believed to have taken place in the vicinity of the current city sewer plant east of town, where a natural amphitheater allowed for a crowd to view the spectacle.

While incarcerated in the Carthage Jail in June 1844, Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, was murdered along with his brother Hyrum Smith.

On October 22, 1858, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech in Carthage while campaigning for the Senate. The speech spot is commemorated by a large stone on the south side of the Courthouse square.

Over the years the jail had been modified and utilized for different purposes. For a period the jail was home to Carthage College. The jail has been restored to a close approximation of its appearance in 1844 and is now owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The site, a full city block, is operated as a historical visitor's center.

Regionally noted botanist, philanthropist, and traveler Dr. Alice L. Kibbe called Carthage home. Along with Dr. Kibbe's personal collections, Carthage's Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum houses a variety of exhibits celebrating local and regional history.

Carthage is the only city in Illinois to have all of the jails that were ever used still in existence: The old jail, called the Mormon Jail; the jail next built which was also the Sheriff's residence and is on the south side of the Courthouse square; and the new jail, located on Highway 136 on the west side of the City.


Carthage is located at 40°24′52″N 91°8′0″W / 40.41444, -91.133333 (40.414327, -91.133472).[3]

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 2.44 square miles (6.3 km2), all land.[4]

In June, 2006 development property on the east side of Carthage was voluntarily annexed into the city limits. This property totaled approximately .43 square miles (1.1 km2), all land except for an eight-acre lake.[5]


As of the 2010 Census, there were 2,605 persons living in 1,151 households in Carthage. With an area of 2.44 square miles, the population density was 1,067 persons per square mile. There were 1,308 total housing units with an average density of 536 per square mile. Racially, 97.3% of Carthage residents identified themselves as white, 0.3% identified as Black/African American, 0.3% were Native American, and 0.4% identified themselves as Asian. No residents identified themselves as Pacific Islander. 0.5% of the remaining population identified themselves as belonging to some other race, while 1.2% belonged to multiple races. Between all races, 2.0% of the population identified as hispanic or latino.[6]

2007–2011 Census data showed that 19.2% of Carthage residents were under the age of 18, while 22.6% of the population was over the age of 65. The median age in Carthage was 44.0 years, and there were 88.3 males for every 100 females. Of residents over the age of 15, 50.8% of persons were married. Of persons over the age of 25, 93.2% had earned at least a high school diploma while 19.2% had earned a Bachelor's degree or higher. 7.2% of persons held a graduate degree.[7]

For census data collected between 2007 and 2011, the median (middle) household income for Carthage was $46,607, with a mean (average) household income of $51,584. The median per-capita income was reported to be $22,729. Unemployment was measured to be 7.9%, while 10.7% of persons and 8.8% of families lived with earnings below the federal poverty line.[8]


Carthage's economy is centered around agriculture and supporting industries. The surrounding land is devoted to the cultivation of crops, especially corn and soybeans. Industrial hog farms are also located in close proximity to the city.[9]

The company Methode Electronics, Inc. operates an auto parts production facility in Carthage, though the company no longer employs as significant a portion of the population as was once the case.[10]


Beginning in August 2007, the Carthage High School (also known as Hancock County Central High School) building has become the home of the newly formed Illini West High School, consolidating the high school districts of Carthage, La Harpe, and Dallas City. The three cities will maintain separate facilities for elementary and middle school.

Carl Sandburg College, based in Galesburg, Illinois, has a satellite campus located on the north side of Carthage.

From 1870 to 1964 Carthage, Illinois was home to Carthage College, which has relocated to Kenosha, Wisconsin.[11] From 1965 to 1975 Carthage, Illinois was home to Robert Morris University Illinois, which merged with Moser School of Business and relocated to Chicago, Illinois.[12][13]

Notable people[]

  • Rip Williams, professional baseball player in Major League Baseball from 1911 to 1918
  • John Nelson Hyde, Presbyterian Missionary in India (Punjab)
  • Virginia Cherrill, co-star of Charlie Chaplin in City Lights


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Hancock County Courthouse". Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "Places: Illinois". 2010 Census Gazetteer Files. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  5. ^ Carthage City Council Minutes
  6. ^ "American Fact Finder. US Census Data 2010. Carthage (City), Illinois. 2010.". 
  7. ^ "US Department of Commerce. US Economic Census, 2007–2011. Selected Economic and Social Characteristics for Carthage, IL.". 
  8. ^ "American Fact Finder. United States Census, 2010. Carthage (City), Illinois. Economic Fact Finder.". 
  9. ^ "Community Development. City of Carthage, IL. Community Information. 2013.". 
  10. ^ "Methode Electronics, Inc. Locations & Facilities, List of Manufacturing Facilities. 2012.". 
  11. ^ "College History — Carthage College". Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  12. ^ Haney, Dave (May 10, 2009). "Robert Morris College becomes Robert Morris University - Peoria, IL". Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Our Mission, History, and Credentials - Robert Morris University". Retrieved June 27, 2013. 

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Carthage, Illinois. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.