Location of Staunton in Macoupin County, Illinois.
Location of Staunton in Macoupin County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 39°0′39″N 89°47′16″W / 39.01083°N 89.78778°W / 39.01083; -89.78778
CountryUnited States
Congressional DistrictIllinois 13th
 • MayorCraig Neuhaus
 • Total4.01 sq mi (10.38 km2)
 • Land3.97 sq mi (10.29 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)
620 ft (190 m)
 • Total5,054
 • Density1,271.77/sq mi (491.04/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s)618
FIPS code17-72403
Wikimedia CommonsStaunton, Illinois

Staunton is the second largest city in Macoupin County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 5,054.


Name origins

A man named Stanton bought land in the area, and then decided to move on and gave the land to the village for a square. At the meeting to discuss the post office someone suggested they name the village Stanton, a nod to Mr. Stanton. The suggestion was accepted and the application for a post office at Stanton went off to Washington, D.C. There the clerk who handled the request must have thought those westerners couldn't spell. The grant came back with the name spelled S-t-a-u-n-t-o-n, which is the name of a town in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It would take time and effort to have the error corrected, and little attention seemed to be given to the discrepancy.. Staunton, Virginia was and still is pronounced "Stanton". And so it was in Staunton, Illinois for many years. Some say that the people here began saying Staunton as we do today only after their throats were so full of coal dirt that they could no longer say Stanton. (Source 1)


This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Ethnic background of settlers

Coal mining

The last coal mine in Staunton closed down in 1951.

Mob vigilantism during World War I

Beginning on February 12, 1918, Staunton experienced two days of mob vigilantism and rioting that gained attention nationwide. Two men were tarred and feathered, with scores of others forced to kiss the American flag and sign loyalty pledges.[3] The demonstration was initiated by members of the United Mine Workers, Local Union 755, who decided to "Americanize" the city through vigilante tactics.[4]

The riot began at 9 p.m. at a meeting of Local Union 755 at Labor Temple where a $100 donation was being ratified to help defend Severino Oberdan from a previous charge of seditious talk that violated the Espionage Act.[4][5][6] Oberdan's lawyer, John L. Metzen, had been summoned from Chicago by telegram to attend, but after being barred entrance went to his hotel. After Oberdan was accused of being an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, a fight broke out, with twenty members of a newly deputized police force ("the American Vigilantes") charging the hall and handcuffing Oberdan.[6] Metzen was seized from the hotel lobby, and he was clubbed by police before being marched down a dark street where he was stripped and a bucket of tar poured over his head. Both men were driven to the outskirts of Staunton where they were pointed in opposite directions and told not to return.[7]

Working under the direction of the American Protective League,[8] the mob of men and women was reported to be as large as 400 persons, many who began storming homes of suspected pro-Germans and IWW supporters. They were dragged from their homes to a stand where, under threat of being tarred, they were forced to kiss the American flag and sign a pledge of loyalty. These actions were continued into the early morning and resumed the next day. More than 100 homes were visited, including that of former County Clerk William C. Seehausen, who was forced to kiss the flag next to a boiling pot of tar. Brothers Harry and John Mlekush were socialists who had flown the red flag from their home, but were forced to replace it with a U.S. flag and sing "The Star-Spangled Banner."[9]

The police did nothing to stop the attacks, claiming citizens were exercising their patriotic duty during a special emergency.[9] Chief of Police Benjamin G. Volentine stated "No official report of a disturbance has been made to me. The only report I have received is that there are a lot more Americans in Staunton today than there was yesterday."[10] Nine alleged "pro-Germans" were arrested on February 13.[6]

Metzen claimed he had walked naked for three hours before being helped by some farmers who gave him clothing. When he returned to Chicago the Chicago Bar Association moved that he be disbarred for unprofessional conduct.[7] Oberdan made it to Worden, Illinois where he was treated by a physician.[11] Two months later U.S. Marshal Vincent Y. Dallman reported 82 "German alien enemies" living in Staunton.[12] In May the Staunton Vigilance Corps of the State Council of Defense posted signs that demanded that only English be spoken in public.[13] The German language was also dropped from the curriculum at Zion.

The area press gave enthusiastic support to the actions. The Staunton Star-Times announced that "the members of Local Union 755 [were] to be heartily congratulated on what they accomplished." Other district papers not only supported them but implied that such actions were required elsewhere in the area. The Mt. Olive Herald congratulated the vigilantes and issued a warning: "To Staunton belongs the honor of being first in the county in a real loyalty demonstration...In the future, anyone with pro-German tendencies will do well to keep their mouths shut." The Gillespie News commended the citizens and explained that while "we are not believers in mob violence...under the existing circumstances we are for it, and every man who took part in the Staunton demonstration should be given a medal." The Chicago Tribune commended the crowd for its "zealous Americanism". (Source 4) The governor of Illinois, Frank Orren Lowden, also supported what the local union did. "The people in Staunton who took the ‘Pros to a cleaning are not mobs...They were the best citizens that can be found in the great state of ours." (Source 4)

Great Depression and World War II

o Post Office Mural "Going to Work" (Ralf Henrikson, completed 1941). Note: This mural, often mistakenly referred to as WPA art, was funded by the Treasury Department administered Section along with several others in Illinois, was the subject of a documentary film about art completed with federal sponsorship during the Great Depression. The film, which was tentatively titled Silver Lining, was sponsored by the Illinois Bicentennial Commission and the Illinois Arts Council. (Source 5)


Staunton is located at 39°0′39″N 89°47′16″W / 39.01083°N 89.78778°W / 39.01083; -89.78778 (39.010777, -89.787711).[15]

According to the 2010 census, Staunton has a total area of 3.088 square miles (8.00 km2), of which 3.06 square miles (7.93 km2) (or 99.09%) is land and 0.028 square miles (0.07 km2) (or 0.91%) is water.[16]


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: [17]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[18]

As of the census[19] of 2010, there were 5,139 people and 2,258 households in the city. The population density was 1,678.3 inhabitants per square mile (647/km2). There were 2,153 housing units at an average density of 943.6 per square mile (364.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.6% White, 0.3% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.01% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.74% of the population.

In 2000, there were 2,020 households, out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.6% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city, the age distribution of the population showed 25.6% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.8 males.

The median income for a Staunton household rose from $35,893 in 2000 to $43,720 in 2010, and the median income for a family was $44,630 at the turn of the millennium. Males had a median income of $35,000 versus $21,121 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,905. About 4.0% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.0% of those under age 18 and 4.0% of those age 65 or over.

The city reached its peak population in 1920, with a population of 6,027.[19][20][21][22][23] It suffered a decline until 1950, when it reached 4,047.

Population of Staunton and nearby cities and villages

1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000
US 76,212,168 92,228,531 106,021,568 123,202,660 132,165,129 150,844,547 179,325,671 203,210,158 226,545,805 248,709,873 281,421,906
Illinois 4,821,550 5,638,591 6,485,280 7,630,654 7,897,241 8,712,176 10,081,158 11,113,976 11,426,596 11,430,602 12,419,293
Staunton 2,786 5,048 6,027 4,618 4,212 4,047 4,228 4,396 4,744 4,806 5,030
Livingston† 1,092 1,365 1,447 1,115 999 964 916 949 928 825
Litchfield 5,918 5,971 6,215 6,612 7,048 7,208 7,330 7,190 7,204 6,883 6,815
Edwardsville 4,157 5,014 5,336 6,235 8,008 8,776 9,996 11,070 12,480 14,579 21,491

†No census data gathered for Livingston in 1900, since it was not yet incorporated.

As the above data shows, Staunton experienced quite robust growth in the early part of the 20th century. Compared to other cities/villages in the area, Staunton has held its own relatively speaking. While standouts such as Edwardsville have continued to experience robust growth even to this day, Staunton's modest growth is favorable when compared to neighboring Livingston.


The City of Staunton is split into four wards in order to maximize efficiency in civic maintenance and representation. The city is divided into its east and west by Union Street and into its north and south by Main Street. The first, second, third, and fourth wards are in the northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest corners respectively. Each ward is represented on the city council by two alderman, one serving a four-year term, and one serving a two-year term.



The Staunton Star-Times has been Staunton's newspaper since 1878.[24]

Kwik-Konnection was a well-circulated newspaper as well.

Notable people


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  2. ^ Kilduff, Mary (1989). Staunton in Illinois. Staunton: Mary Kilduff. LCCN 92184331
  3. ^ War-Time Prosecutions and Mob Violence, published by the National Civil Liberties Bureau, 1919.
  4. ^ a b Labor, Loyalty, and Rebellion: Southwestern Illinois Coal Miners & World War I, Carl R. Weinberg, 2005.
  5. ^ "Mob Goes After I.W.W." East St. Louis Daily National Live Stock Reporter, Feb. 13, 1918.
  6. ^ a b c "Drag Pro-Germans from Homes; Force Kissing of American Flag, in Illinois" New Castle News, Feb.13, 1918.
  7. ^ a b "Slacker's Lawyer Gets a Coat of Tar and Feathers," Freeport Journal-Standard, Feb. 14, 1918.
  8. ^ "Tar and Feathers for the Alleged Preachers of Disloyalty," Mansfield News, Feb. 13, 1918.
  9. ^ a b "Staunton Sees Another Night of Excitement," Centralia Evening Sentinel, Feb. 14, 1918.
  10. ^ "Tar Treatment Makes Patriots," Washington Post, Feb. 14, 1918.
  11. ^ "Tar and Feathers Taken Back Home," Washington Democrat, Feb. 15, 1918.
  12. ^ Arlington Heights Cook County Herald, Apr. 12, 1918.
  13. ^ "Get Notice to Speak English," Burlington Gazette, May 17, 1918.
  14. ^ "New Deal/WPA Art Project". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  16. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  17. ^ "NASA Earth Observations Data Set Index". NASA. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  18. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  19. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  20. ^ "US Census Bureau, Census '90"
  24. ^