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Champaign County, Illinois

A County is Born

"Prior to 1833 the portion of Illinois now known as Champaign county was embraced within the capacious limits of Vermilion, and was designated as the "Attached Part of Vermilion." It was sparsely populated. The heaviest settlement was on Salt Fork. Near thirty families were grouped around the Big Grove, and a few families had selected their homes along the banks of the Sangamon. It is not now possible to estimate the population at that time, but it could not have been in excess of five hundred souls.

"In 1833 the General Assembly acceded to the demands of the settlers of the "Attached Part of Vermilion," and passed the bill creating the county of Champaign, and appointed John F. Richardson, of Clark county, James P. Jones, of Coles, and Stephen B. Shelledy, of Edgar county, commissioners to fix the seat of justice. It appears that Mr. Jones did not serve.

"The bill to create Champaign County was introduced by Senator John W. Vance, an able and influential man, and during its progress through the legislature was continually under his watchful care. Without his efforts it would have failed to become a law at that session, and well does he deserve the title of the "Father of Champaign County." To him was accorded the privilege and right to select names for the infant county and its seat of justice. His thoughts reverted with affectionate remembrance to his Ohio home, which years before he had left to lead the adventurous life of a pioneer in the vast solitudes of the West, and Champaign was chosen in honor of Champaign county, Ohio; and Urbana was given to the new capital in honor of the county-seat of the Ohio county."

From History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations, 1878.

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