Equality, Illinois

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Equality, Illinois
Village of Equality
Monument honoring Michael Kelly Lawler on the former site of the Gallatin County Courthouse
Monument honoring Michael Kelly Lawler on the former site of the Gallatin County Courthouse
Location of Equality in Gallatin County, Illinois.
Location of Equality in Gallatin County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 37°44′11″N 88°20′40″W / 37.73639°N 88.34444°W / 37.73639; -88.34444Coordinates: 37°44′11″N 88°20′40″W / 37.73639°N 88.34444°W / 37.73639; -88.34444
CountryUnited States
 • Total0.90 sq mi (2.33 km2)
 • Land0.88 sq mi (2.27 km2)
 • Water0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
Elevation427 ft (130 m)
 • Total539
 • Density614.60/sq mi (237.19/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code618
FIPS code17-24348
GNIS ID2398838[2]

Equality is a village in Gallatin County, Illinois, United States. The population was 595 at the 2010 census,[3] 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.

Salt Works[edit]

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.

Isaac White was in charge of the salt works in 1811. White volunteered for the Indiana Militia that year, and was killed at the Battle of Tippecanoe.

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 illegal slave trader kidnapper and illegal slave breeder, John Hart Crenshaw, began building his manor house at Hickory Hill just five miles east of Equality; he used the house for his business of kidnapping free blacks and breeding slaves to sell 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.

The Saline River of southeastern Illinois near the U.S. Salines, in Equality, Illinois, where leased out Kentucky slaves boiled down salt brine water from the river into usable salt for sale.
1970s photograph of the Old Slave House.
John Crenshaw, a notorious illegal kidnapper slave trader, holding a crutch, for support because of a missing leg severed in an attack by an axe-wielding slave, with his wife, Francine "Sina" Taylor, from the only known photograph of them, date unknown.


Equality is located in western Gallatin County at 37°44′11″N 88°20′40″W / 37.73639°N 88.34444°W / 37.73639; -88.34444 (37.736472, -88.344473),[4] on the north side of the Saline River, a southeast-flowing tributary of the Ohio River.

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.[5]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[6]

As of the 2000 United States Census,[7] there were 721 people, 315 households, and 206 families residing in the village. The population density was 800.3 inhabitants per square mile (309.0/km2). There were 333 housing units at an average density of 369.6 per square mile (142.7/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.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Equality, Illinois
  3. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Equality village, Illinois". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 1, 2016.[dead link]
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  5. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  6. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  7. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. 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.

External links[edit]