Monument honoring Michael Kelly Lawler on former site of Gallatin County Courthouse
|Area||0.91 sq mi (2 km2)|
|- land||0.89 sq mi (2 km2)|
|- water||0.02 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Density||668.5/sq mi (258/km2)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
Equality is a village in Gallatin County, Illinois, United States. The population was 595 at the 2010 census, down from 721 at the 2000 census. Near the village are two points of interest, the Crenshaw House and the Garden of the Gods Wilderness. Equality was the county seat of Gallatin County from 1826-1851.
On Jan. 26, 1826, Equality was officially established by the General Assembly as the county seat of Gallatin County. The courthouse was built in 1827 for the amount of $1,300.00 dollars. Court was held there until 1851, when all legal documents were removed to Shawneetown, The building was later used as a school, church & local society meetings. It was destroyed by fire Nov. 28, 1894.
French settlers extracted salt near Equality as early as 1735, while Native Americans made salt here long before then. In 1803, the American Indians ceded their "Great Salt Springs" to the US government by treaty. The government then leased the springs, requiring the holder to produce a certain quantity of salt each year or pay a penalty. The salt works is referred to as the "United States Saline" in old documents.
Special territorial laws permitted exceptions to anti-slavery treaties at these salines, and slaves were used extensively in manufacturing salt. The census of 1820 for Gallatin County listed 239 slaves or servants.
During the 1820s, Gallatin County included what is now Saline County as its western half. In 1826, the county seat was moved from Old Shawneetown, on the eastern edge of the county, to the new village of Equality, near the center of what was then Gallatin County. Equality remained the county seat until the formation of Saline County in 1847.
In 1838, a local salt maker and kidnapper, John Hart Crenshaw, began building his manor house at Hickory Hill; he used the house for his business of kidnapping people and selling them into slavery as part of the Reverse Underground Railroad.
The Great Salt Springs are located southeast of Equality, on federal land along the south bank of the Saline River, seven-tenths of a mile west of Illinois Route 1 on Salt Well Road. Half Moon Lick, where the saltworks first developed as a large industry, is on private property southwest of Equality.
According to the 2010 census, Equality has a total area of 0.906 square miles (2.35 km2), of which 0.89 square miles (2.31 km2) (or 98.23%) is land and 0.016 square miles (0.04 km2) (or 1.77%) is water.
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 721 people, 315 households, and 206 families residing in the village. The population density was 800.3 people per square mile (309.3/km²). There were 333 housing units at an average density of 369.6 per square mile (142.9/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 99.17% White, 0.14% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.66% of the population.
There were 315 households out of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.5% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the village, the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.8 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $22,171, and the median income for a family was $27,625. Males had a median income of $26,250 versus $18,214 for females. The per capita income for the village was $12,961. About 14.0% of families and 20.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.4% of those under age 18 and 22.3% of those age 65 or over.
- 1887. History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin and Williamson Counties, Illinois. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co.
- Musgrave, Jon, ed. 2002. Handbook of Old Gallatin County and Southeastern Illinois. Marion, Ill.: IllinoisHistory.com. 464 pages.
- Musgrave, Jon. 2004, Rev. ed. 2005. Slaves, Salt, Sex & Mr. Crenshaw: The Real Story of the Old Slave House and America's Reverse Underground R.R.. Marion, Ill.: IllinoisHistory.com. 705 pages.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Equality village, Illinois". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Stu Fliege. 2002. Trails & Tales of Illinois. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
- Jon Musgrave. 2005. Slaves, Salt, Sex & Mr. Crenshaw. Marion, Ill.: IllinoisHistory.com.
- Gillum Ferguson. 2007. The Perilous Infancy of Saline County, Journal of Illinois History, Vol. 10, p. 49.