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Saline County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting Saline County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Illinois's location in the U.S.
Founded 1847
Seat Harrisburg
Largest city Harrisburg
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

386.98 sq mi (1,002 km²)
383.31 sq mi (993 km²)
3.67 sq mi (10 km²), 0.95%
 - (2010)
 - Density

70/sq mi (27/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Saline County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of 2010, the population was 24,913. Its county seat is Harrisburg, Illinois[1]. Saline County is home to the smallest post office and the largest KFC in the United States. There are three major towns in Saline County connected by U.S. Route 45, and the now abandoned Cairo and Vincennes/Big Four/New York Central Line, from north to south, Eldorado, Harrisburg, and Carrier Mills.

The Harrisburg Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Saline County.

Saline county is currently the 97th poorest county in the state, out of 102.

The Largest KFC in America, located in Harrisburg, IL, has 2.5 dining rooms, and a large buffet.


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 386.98 square miles (1,002.3 km2), of which 383.31 square miles (992.8 km2) (or 99.05%) is land and 3.67 square miles (9.5 km2) (or 0.95%) is water.[2]

The Saline County area is mostly rolling hills throughout gradually rising to the Hills of the Shawnee National Forest. The Saline River flows passed through the central point of the county in three forks, North, Middle, and South. To the north of Eldorado there are flat lowlands.[3]

Major highways[]

  • US 45.svg U.S. Highway 45
  • Illinois 13.svg Illinois Route 13
  • Illinois 34.svg Illinois Route 34
  • Illinois 142.svg Illinois Route 142
  • Illinois 145.svg Illinois Route 145


Brushy, Carrier Mills, Cottage, East Eldorado, Galatia, Harrisburg, Independence, Long Branch, Mountain, Raleigh, Rector, Stonefort, Tate

Adjacent counties[]

National protected area[]

  • Shawnee National Forest (part)


Saline County was formed from Gallatin County in 1847. It is named for the Saline River and the springs from which salt was produced in the early history of Gallatin County.

Saline County was nearly named "Moredock County", in honor of John Moredock, "Indian slayer". Moredock was an early settler of Illinois who, as a young boy, witnessed the massacre of his family, and spent much of the rest of his life ambushing and murdering Native Americans. Although many early settlers regarded this as wrongful, Moredock was never charged with any crimes.

The creation of Saline County was extremely controversial. Illinois originally had a small number of very large counties. As settlement proceeded, new counties were formed out of the original counties as a routine matter. Gallatin County was an early county that was formed in 1812, and quickly split into around fifteen counties, with Gallatin County remaining with what is now Saline County. This persisted for several decades after the era of rapid formation of counties.

Old Shawneetown was the original county seat of Gallatin County. At that time Old Shawneetown was the largest city and commercial center of Illinois. It was, however, located on the eastern edge of the County. In 1826 the County seat was moved to the new village of Equality, near the center of what was then Gallatin County. Old Shawneetown opposed this move, and sought redress by splitting off Saline County, with the aim of moving the County seat of what remained back to Old Shawneetown. Thus the impetus for the formation of Saline County came not from settlers at the fringe of the County, but from the core of the original County.

Saline County was created by a voice vote in the General Assembly in 1847. Completion of the formation of the County, however, involved three acts of the General Assembly, four decisions of the Illinois Supreme Court and two referendums. The controversy came to involve the leading attorneys of Illinois, including Abraham Lincoln.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 5,588
1860 9,331 67.0%
1870 12,714 36.3%
1880 15,940 25.4%
1890 19,342 21.3%
1900 21,685 12.1%
1910 30,204 39.3%
1920 38,353 27.0%
1930 37,100 −3.3%
1940 38,066 2.6%
1950 33,420 −12.2%
1960 26,227 −21.5%
1970 25,721 −1.9%
1980 28,448 10.6%
1990 26,551 −6.7%
2000 26,733 0.7%
2010 24,913 −6.8%
IL Counties 1900-1990[1]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 26,733 people, 10,992 households, and 7,232 families residing in the county. The population density was 70 people per square mile (27/km²). There were 12,360 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.14% White, 4.06% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.20% Asian American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 0.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 27.3% were of American, 16.2% German, 14.5% Irish and 13.9% English ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 10,992 households out of which 28.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.90% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.20% were non-families. 31.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 25.10% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 19.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 92.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,768, and the median income for a family was $37,295. Males had a median income of $31,131 versus $19,276 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,590. About 10.40% of families and 14.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.80% of those under age 18 and 11.60% of those age 65 or over.

Employment and public services[]

Coal mining makes up the largest percentage of industrial employment in Saline County. The county is home to the Galatia Mine, which by industry standards is the largest underground coal mine in Illinois and currently employs close to 500 workers. The mining and exploration industry feeds other sources of employment such as coal and materials hauling and excavation. Construction fields and services also benefit from Saline County's mining industry.

Other employment in the county is generally made up by the medical, social and state services. Harrisburg is home to the Harrisburg Illinois Youth Center which is operated by Illinois Department of Corrections and holds male juvenile offenders.

The county is served by Southeastern Illinois College, a two-year community college located on state highway 13 about 4 miles east of Harrisburg.

Hospitals serving the county are Harrisburg Medical Center and Ferrell Hospital in Eldorado. Public health services are administered by Egyptian Health Department.

Public transportation is provided by the Rides Mass Transit District.

Cities and towns[]

  • Carrier Mills (Morrilsville)
  • Eldorado
  • Galatia
  • Harrisburg
  • Ledford
  • Muddy
  • Raleigh
  • Stonefort

Unincorporated communities[]

  • Buena Vista
  • Cottage Grove
  • Delta
  • Derby
  • Dorris Heights
  • Dorrisville
  • Eagle
  • Francis
  • Garden Heights
  • Gaskins City
  • Harco
  • Horseshoe
  • Lakeview (Pond Settlement)
  • Ledford
  • Liberty
  • Long Branch
  • Mitchellsville
  • New Hope
  • Newcastle
  • Oldtown
  • Pankeyville
  • Rudement
  • Saline
  • Somerset
  • Texas City
  • Tison
  • Wasson
  • West End


Saline County is divided into these townships:

  • Brushy
  • Carrier Mills
  • Cottage
  • East Eldorado
  • Galatia
  • Harrisburg
  • Independence
  • Long Branch
  • Mountain
  • Raleigh
  • Rector
  • Stone Fort
  • Tate

Climate and weather[]

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

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Harrisburg have ranged from a low of 22 °F (−6 °C) in January to a high of 89 °F (32 °C) in July, although a record low of −23 °F (−30.6 °C) was recorded in February 1951 and a record high of 113 °F (45 °C) was recorded in July 1936. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 3.04 inches (77 mm) in September to 4.98 inches (126 mm) in May.[5]

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Saline County


  • "Tails and Trails of Illinois", Stu Fliege, University of Illinois Press,2002.
  • ", © 2000-2001 by Debbie Woolard, Illinois Trails History and Genealogy.
  • Gillum Ferguson. 2007. The Perilous Infancy of Saline County, Journal of Illinois History, Vol. 10, p. 49.

External links[]

Coordinates: 37°45′N 88°32′W / 37.75, -88.54

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Saline 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.