Stark County, Illinois

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Stark County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting Stark County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the United States highlighting Illinois
Illinois's location in the U.S.
Founded 1839
Named for John Stark
Seat Toulon
Largest city Wyoming
 • Total 288 sq mi (746 km2)
 • Land 288 sq mi (746 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (1 km2), 0.1%
 • (2010) 5,994
 • Density 21/sq mi (8/km²)
Congressional districts 16th, 18th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Stark County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 5,994.[1] Its county seat is Toulon.[2]

Stark County is part of the Peoria, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Stark County was formed in 1839 out of Knox and Putnam counties. It was named for General Colonel John Stark,(August 28, 1728 – May 8, 1822) who served in the American Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He became widely known as the "Hero of Bennington" for his exemplary service at the Battle of Bennington in 1777.

In the latter part of April, 1829 a solitary, heavily laden wagon was wending its way from the hospitable home of Mr. French, at Prince's Grove, about a half mile north-west of the present town of Princeville, towards Spoon River, probably crossing that stream at a point since known as Boardman's Ford, or, as others think, near the seat of Cox's Mill, and moving on towards section fifteen in what has since been known as Essex Township.[3]

The weather was warm and balmy considering the season. The prairie burnt over by the Indians in the fall was already green with sprouting grass. Accompanying this vehicle were as it might seem a guard of good men, and true; "neighbors" they called themselves, although they must have lived many miles apart, some of them thirty or forty from the scene of their present friendly labors, having come from LaSalle Prairie, from Chillicothe and Peoria. They were neither hunters or warriors, they feared no enemy, and sought not the "spoils of war".[3]

It was a peaceable expedition and its leader was the occupant of the wagon, Isaac B. Essex, then in the strength of his manhood, and with him came his young wife and infant child to found a home in the wilderness. The "neighbors" were Daniel Prince, Stephen French, Simon Reed, Frank Thomas and two Baptist ministers, Elders Silliman and Allen. The former of these two was the father of the much respected Toulon townsman Minott Silliman, the first treasurer of Stark county. And these men had came so far to raise a cabin![3]

Mr. Essex had been out and made a claim in 1828, and in the fall of that year cut the logs and split the clap-boards for his house, probably all of which were on the northeast quarter of section fifteen. They now proceeded to haul them together and get them in shape on the proposed building site. They all camped in the woods the first night, but towards sundown of the second day, the cabin was raised, the roof on, and as Mr. Essex graphically said "we cut a log out and moved in."[3]

This was emphatically the first pioneer cabin, the first home of non-native American settlers within the present limits of Stark County.[3]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 288 square miles (750 km2), of which 288 square miles (750 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (0.1%) is water.[4]

Climate and weather[edit]

Toulon, Illinois
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[5]

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Toulon have ranged from a low of 10 °F (−12 °C) in January to a high of 84 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1999 and a record high of 104 °F (40 °C) was recorded in July 1983. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.41 inches (36 mm) in February to 4.46 inches (113 mm) in June.[5]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,573
1850 3,710 135.9%
1860 9,004 142.7%
1870 10,751 19.4%
1880 11,207 4.2%
1890 9,982 −10.9%
1900 10,186 2.0%
1910 10,098 −0.9%
1920 9,693 −4.0%
1930 9,184 −5.3%
1940 8,881 −3.3%
1950 8,721 −1.8%
1960 8,152 −6.5%
1970 7,510 −7.9%
1980 7,389 −1.6%
1990 6,534 −11.6%
2000 6,332 −3.1%
2010 5,994 −5.3%
Est. 2013 5,907 −1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census of 2000,[10] there were 6,332 people, 2,525 households, and 1,764 families residing in the county. The population density was 22 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 2,725 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.63% White, 0.06% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. 0.85% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 27.7% were of German, 15.3% English, 12.1% American, 11.1% Irish and 6.6% Swedish ancestry.

There were 2,525 households out of which 30.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.00% were married couples living together, 7.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.10% were non-families. 27.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.10% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 25.20% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 19.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,826, and the median income for a family was $43,410. Males had a median income of $30,774 versus $22,146 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,767. About 6.30% of families and 8.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.20% of those under age 18 and 8.00% of those age 65 or over.




Unincorporated communities[edit]


Stark County is divided into these townships:

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates text from Stark County and Its Pioneers, by Shallenberger, Eliza Hall, a publication from 1876 now in the public domain in the United States.

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Shallenberger, Eliza Hall (1876). Stark County and Its Pioneers. B.W. Seaton. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Toulon, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°05′N 89°47′W / 41.09°N 89.79°W / 41.09; -89.79