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Hancock County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting Hancock County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Illinois's location in the U.S.
Founded 1825
Seat Carthage
Largest city Hamilton
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

814.40 sq mi (2,109 km²)
793.73 sq mi (2,056 km²)
20.67 sq mi (54 km²), 2.54%
 - (2010)
 - Density

25/sq mi (10/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Hancock County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 19,104, which is a decrease of 5.1% from 20,121 in 2000.[1] Its county seat is Carthage.[2] Hamilton is the largest city in Hancock County, with Carthage being the second largest. The county is made up of rural towns with many farmers.


Hancock County was part of the "Military Tract" set aside by Congress to reward veterans of the War of 1812. Actual settlement of the interior of the County was delayed by concerns about hostile American Indians. After their defeat in the Blackhawk War in 1832, settlement proceeded quickly.

Hancock County was formed, on January 13, 1825, out of Pike County. It was named in honor of John Hancock, who clearly signed the Declaration of Independence.

For a brief period in the 1840s Hancock had one of Illinois' most populous cities: Nauvoo, which was then headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The LDS leader Joseph Smith, Jr. was killed in the county seat of Carthage in 1844. Most Mormons left Hancock county in the 1840s. Today followers of the LDS movement come, in increasing numbers, to important LDS sites in Hancock county, partly for vacation and partly for religious pilgrimage.

The original courthouse was located at Montebello. Montebello no longer exists but was between Nauvoo and Hamilton. In 1833 the state commissioned the formation of the county seat at Carthage IL which was centrally located but not well developed at the time. A log cabin was built to serve as the courthouse and continued to serve that purpose until 1839 when the second Carthage Courthouse was built. The original log cabin continued to serve as a school and other purposes until 1945 when it was removed.

The second courthouse cost $3,700 dollars to build and served from 1839 until 1906. It served as a location for both Stephan A. Douglas (October 11, 1858) and Abraham Lincoln (October 22, 1858) to speak to residents of the area as they were running against each other for the US Senate. In 1906 it was removed to make room for the current courthouse.

The current courthouse was dedicated October 21, 1908.

Hancock County at the time of its creation in 1825


According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 814.40 square miles (2,109.3 km2), of which 793.73 square miles (2,055.8 km2) (or 97.46%) is land and 20.67 square miles (53.5 km2) (or 2.54%) is water.[3]

Major highways[]

  • US 136.svg U.S. Highway 136
  • Illinois 9.svg Illinois Route 9
  • Illinois 61.svg Illinois Route 61
  • Illinois 94.svg Illinois Route 94
  • Illinois 96.svg Illinois Route 96
  • Illinois 336.svg Illinois Route 336

Adjacent Counties[]


2000 census age pyramid for Hancock County.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1900 32,215
1910 30,638 −4.9%
1920 28,523 −6.9%
1930 26,420 −7.4%
1940 26,297 −0.5%
1950 25,790 −1.9%
1960 24,574 −4.7%
1970 23,645 −3.8%
1980 23,877 1.0%
1990 21,373 −10.5%
2000 20,121 −5.9%
IL Counties 1900-1990

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 20,121 people, 8,069 households, and 5,607 families residing in the county. The population density was 25 people per square mile (10/km²). There were 8,909 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.68% White, 0.20% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.13% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. 0.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 35.5% were of German, 32.7% English, and 10.0% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 98.8% spoke English and 1.0% Spanish as their first language.

There were 8,069 households out of which 30.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.90% were married couples living together, 7.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.50% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 25.50% from 25 to 44, 24.50% from 45 to 64, and 18.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 94.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,654, and the median income for a family was $44,457. Males had a median income of $31,095 versus $20,680 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,478. About 5.40% of families and 8.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.90% of those under age 18 and 8.20% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns[]

  • Augusta
  • Basco
  • Bentley
  • Bowen
  • Carthage
  • Dallas City (partly in Henderson County)
  • Elvaston
  • Ferris
  • Fountain Green
  • Hamilton
  • La Harpe
  • Nauvoo
  • Plymouth
  • Pontoosuc
  • Warsaw
  • West Point

Unincorporated towns[]

  • Adrian
  • Burnside
  • Colmar
  • Colusa
  • Denver
  • La Crosse
  • McCall
  • Niota
  • Stillwell
  • Sutter
  • Webster


Hancock County is divided into twenty-five townships:

  • Dallas City
  • Durham
  • Fountain Green
  • Hancock
  • Harmony
  • La Harpe
  • Montebello
  • Nauvoo
  • Pilot Grove
  • Pontoosuc
  • Prairie
  • Rock Creek
  • Rocky Run
  • St. Albans
  • St. Mary's
  • Sonora
  • Walker
  • Warsaw
  • Wilcox
  • Wythe

Climate and weather[]

Climate chart for Carthage, Illinois
temperatures in °Cprecipitation totals in mm
source: The Weather Channel[5]

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Carthage have ranged from a low of 13 °F (−11 °C) in January to a high of 87 °F (31 °C) in July, although a record low of −30 °F (−34.4 °C) was recorded in February 1905 and a record high of 113 °F (45 °C) was recorded in August 1934. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.47 inches (37 mm) in January to 4.58 inches (116 mm) in May.[5]

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Hancock County, Illinois


External links[]

Coordinates: 40°24′N 91°10′W / 40.40, -91.17

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Hancock County, 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.