Quick Facts About Jersey County
- The Illini inhabited much of Illinois, including Jersey County, long before the first Europeans settled here.
- Louis Joliet, a cartographer, and Pere Jacques Marquette, a French Jesuit missionary, were among the first white men to visit Jersey County. They landed near the present city of Grafton in 1673.
- Jersey County includes 377 square miles or roughly 34,380 acres.
- Illinois’ largest state park, Pere Marquette, is located in southwest Jersey County. The park was founded in 1931 as Piasa Bluffs State Park and includes 8,050 acres.
- The father of Dr. Edward D’Arcy, who once owned the Red House in Jerseyville, served as a physician for George Washington.
- More than 200 women attended the Jerseyville Young Ladies Seminary between the fall of 1849 and 1869. Subjects taught included: English, French, Latin, painting, drawing, and vocal and instrumental music.
- In 1863, the county made a major push to improve its public roads. Every male citizen of the county not exempt by law was required to work three days on the roads, and a tax of 15 cents per every $100 worth of taxable property was earmarked for road improvements.
- William Brown (aka Tom Moss) was the only man sentenced to death and executed in Jersey County. He was hung at the courthouse on Sept. 1, 1865, after being convicted of murder.
- Charles M. Russell, known for his paintings and bronze sculptures depicting the American west, spent time in Jerseyville as a youth. His Aunt Cornelia was the wife of Colonel William Fulkerson. The couple resided just north of Jerseyville.
- The second Surgeon General of the United States, John B. Hamilton, was born near Otterville and educated at the Hamilton Primary School. He served as the U.S. Surgeon General from 1879 until 1891.
- Jerseyville’s first female physician, Cordelia Enos, practiced medicine from 1897 until her death in 1905.
- An opera house named the Villinger was listed among Jerseyville’s businesses in 1900.
- The entire village of Elsah was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
- Principia College in southern Jersey County enrolls nearly 450 students from 36 states and 27 countries. The liberal arts school focuses on a Christian-Science based character education.
Jersey County Historical Society
601 N. State St.
Jerseyville, IL 62052