Old Shawneetown, Illinois

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Old Shawneetown
Shawneetown court house.jpg
Old Shawneetown Court House in 1937
Country United States
State Illinois
County Gallatin
Coordinates 37°41′54″N 88°8′13″W / 37.69833°N 88.13694°W / 37.69833; -88.13694Coordinates: 37°41′54″N 88°8′13″W / 37.69833°N 88.13694°W / 37.69833; -88.13694
Area 0.53 sq mi (1 km2)
 - land 0.53 sq mi (1 km2)
 - water 0.00 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 278 (2000)
Density 531.7 / sq mi (205 / km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 62984
Area code 618
Location of Old Shawneetown within Illinois
Location of Old Shawneetown within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Old Shawneetown, Illinois

Old Shawneetown is a village in Gallatin County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 278. Located along the Ohio River, Shawneetown served as an important United States government administrative center for the Northwest Territory. The village was devastated by the Ohio River flood of 1937. The village's population was moved several miles inland to New Shawneetown.

1937 flood Shawneetown Illinois refugees


At least one record suggests that a village was established here by the Pekowi Shawnee led by Peter Chartier about 1748.[1] In early November 1803, Lewis and Clark are believed to have stopped at Old Shawneetown on their way to Fort Massac, just down the Ohio River.[2]

After the Revolution, Shawneetown served as an important United States government administrative center for the Northwest Territory. Shawneetown and Washington, D.C., share the distinction of being the only towns chartered by the United States government.

Old Shawneetown is the site of the first bank chartered in Illinois in 1816.[3] Originally in a log cabin it was replaced in 1822 with a brick structure (only the second one in the town) now known as the John Marshall House.[4]

Local legend states that the Shawneetown Bank refused to buy the first bonds issued by the city of Chicago on the grounds that no city located that far from a navigable river could survive.

Another historic bank building, the Bank of Illinois, was constructed in 1839-41 to house the offices of the Bank of Illinois at Shawneetown. It later housed numerous other financial institutions before it was closed in the 1930s. This fine example of Greek Revival architecture survives as the Shawneetown Bank State Historic Site.

Residents long remembered the visit by Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette of France to the city on May 8, 1825, as a highpoint for the early community's social history.[5]

Notable people[edit]

  • Peter Chartier (1690-1759), French-Canadian Shawnee chief who led his people from Pennsylvania to resettle in Illinois, and died in Shawneetown in 1759
  • Claudia Cassidy (1899-1996), music and drama critic for Chicago Tribune 1942-65; born in Shawneetown
  • Robert G. Ingersoll, 19th century orator and agnostic, lived in Shawneetown (1855–1857)
  • John Alexander McClernand, Civil War general and U.S. Congressman; grew up in Shawneetown and started the Shawneetown Democrat newspaper (1835)
  • Thomas Posey, Revolutionary War officer; died visiting his daughter just outside Shawneetown (1818); buried in the Westwood Cemetery
  • Bluford Wilson (1841-1924), Union officer in the American Civil War; Solicitor of the U.S. Treasury; born in or near Shawneetown
  • James Harrison Wilson (1837–1925), Union general in the American Civil War; third-generation Shawneetown resident
  • John McLean (1791-1830), US Representative, IL State Representative, US Senator lived here (McLean County, IL was named after him).


Old Shawneetown is located at 37°41′54″N 88°8′13″W / 37.69833°N 88.13694°W / 37.69833; -88.13694 (37.698197, -88.136857).[6]

According to the 2010 census, the village has a total area of 0.53 square miles (1.4 km2), all land.[7]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 433
1970 342 −21.0%
1980 396 15.8%
1990 356 −10.1%
2000 278 −21.9%
2010 193 −30.6%
Est. 2014 179 [8] −7.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 278 people, 100 households, and 69 families residing in the village. The population density was 531.7 people per square mile (206.4/km²). There were 146 housing units at an average density of 279.2/sq mi (108.4/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 99.64% White and 0.36% Native American. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.08% of the population.

There were 100 households out of which 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 24.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.36.

In the village the population was spread out with 33.8% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.7 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $18,214, and the median income for a family was $20,625. Males had a median income of $25,625 versus $13,750 for females. The per capita income for the village was $9,379. About 33.3% of families and 39.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 60.6% of those under the age of eighteen and 33.3% of those sixty five or over.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Hanna on Peter Charter", E.P. Grondine, posted Thu Feb 14, 2013.
  2. ^ The Journals of Lewis and Clark, Nov. 11, 1803.
  3. ^ "Tidbits". Ludington Daily News. Aug 4, 2001. p. 33. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Christiana Holmes Tillson; Milo Milton Quaife, ed. 1919, Reprint 1995. A Woman's Story of Pioneer Illinois. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press. 49-65.
  5. ^ 1887. History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin and Williamson Counties, Illinois. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company. 96-97.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.