Vermilion County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Illinois
Illinois's location within the U.S.
|Founded||January 18th, 1826|
|• Total||901.28 sq mi (2,334.3 km2)|
|• Land||898.37 sq mi (2,326.8 km2)|
|• Water||2.91 sq mi (7.5 km2) 0.32%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||91/sq mi (35/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Vermilion County is a county in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Illinois, between the Indiana border and Champaign County. It was established in 1826 and was the 45th of Illinois' 102 counties. According to the 2010 United States Census, it had a population of 81,625, a decrease of 2.7% in 2000. It contains 21 incorporated settlements; the county seat and largest city is Danville.
Vermilion County is part of the Danville, Illinois, Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Vermilion County is named after the Vermilion River, which passes through the county and empties into the Wabash River in Indiana near Cayuga; the river was so named because of the color of the earth along its route.
The area which became Vermilion County was under the flag of France from 1682 to 1763, as part of New France. It was taken over by Great Britain for fifteen years after the French and Indian War; it then became part of the colonies after the Revolutionary War when the area was ceded to Virginia, titled "the Illinois County of Virginia". Later it was part of the Indiana Territory, then the Illinois Territory, and finally the state of Illinois. The county was created on 18 January 1826, from a portion of Edgar County. There was an unorganized territory to the north and west which was attached to the county; Champaign and Iroquois counties were formed from part of this territory in 1833. The remainder was used to create Ford County in 1859, the last Illinois county to be formed.
The county's saline springs were a strong attraction to early explorers; they were mentioned as early as 1801. Joseph Barron, an interpreter fluent in several Native American languages, stated in an affidavit that he was present at the "Vermilion Salines" that year. The production required 100 gallons of water for one bushel of salt and proved to be profitable from the first run (1822–1829), when salt became less expensive and the venture was no longer economical.
The area's first settlement was made in 1819 near these saline springs, by the Treat, Beckwith, and Whitcomb. James Butler, from Ohio, followed in 1820 and settled in the Catlin area; within a few years, the settlement grew to encompass several families and became known as "Butler's Point". In the southern part of the county, Henry Johnson built a cabin west of present-day Georgetown; this area was known as "Johnson's Point". The southern portion of the county was soon filled with small settlements. Most settlers in Vermilion County came from the American South, who had left because of their opposition to slavery.
Some of the early settlers were of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers. They founded the settlement of Vermilion Grove in the south part of the county, one of the county's first settlements and the site of the county's second public school.
The county has strong ties to Abraham Lincoln, who practiced law in Danville from 1841 to 1859 with Ward Hill Lamon; Lamon later served as Lincoln's bodyguard. Lincoln spoke in Danville during his 1858 campaign for a seat in the US Senate. Lincoln gave the speech in his stocking feet from the balcony of Dr. William Fithian, a prominent local physician. The Fithian home is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as the Vermilion County Museum; visitors can see Lincoln memorabilia including a bed in which Lincoln slept.
The various stages in the evolution of Vermilion County are shown below.
Vermilion County is located along the eastern border of Illinois; its northern border is about 95 miles (153 km) south of Chicago.
Vermilion County in Illinois and Vermillion County in Indiana are two of twenty-two counties or parishes in the United States with the same name to border each other across state lines. According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 901.28 square miles (2,334.3 km2), of which 898.37 square miles (2,326.8 km2) (or 99.68%) is land and 2.91 square miles (7.5 km2) (or 0.32%) is water. The land in Vermilion County consists mostly of various forms of silt loam. Lake Vermilion, a man-made 1,000-acre (400 ha) reservoir, is the county's largest body of water, located northwest of Danville. It provides the city's culinary water, and also provides recreation opportunities.
Several towns were established in the county which no longer survive. In some cases, the coming of the railroads helped to define the best locations for settlements, and as a result some existing towns were abandoned. When Lake Vermilion was created, the town of Denmark was flooded and now lies at the bottom of the reservoir.
Township government was adopted in Vermilion County in 1851, and eight townships were created:
Eleven additional townships were created in the following decades:
The Vermilion County Conservation District operates four parks:
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources manages three areas in the county:
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Vermilion County is in the humid continental climate region of the United States along with most of Illinois. Its Köppen climate classification is Dfa, meaning that it is cold, has no dry season, and has a hot summer. In recent years, average temperatures in Danville have ranged from a low of 17 °F (−8 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1994 and a record high of 112 °F (44 °C) was recorded in July 1936. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.99 inches (51 mm) inches in February to 4.70 inches (119 mm) inches in June.
Four railroad lines pass through or into the county, all intersecting in the Danville area; this results in many different railroad crossings throughout the city:
The Vermilion Regional Airport is located northeast of Danville.
For 2014, Vermilion County had a workforce of 35,643 people; 32,584 were employed and 3,059 (8.6%) were unemployed.
There are 12 school districts in the county that provide primary and secondary education. There are two post-secondary educational institutions: Danville Area Community College, a public two-year community college, and Lakeview College of Nursing, a four-year private institution (both located in Danville).
Based on the 2000 census, Vermilion County is part of the Illinois' 15th congressional district; the Illinois Senate districts 52 and 53; and the Illinois House of Representatives districts 104 and 105.
Each township has a supervisor. The township board consists of the supervisor and four members elected at large from the township.
The Vermilion County Board is controlled by Republicans. Larry Baughn (R) of Hoopeston serves as Chairman. The Vermilion County Circuit Court is led by Judge Thomas O’Shaugnessy.
|US Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 81,625 people, 32,655 households, and 21,392 families residing in the county. The population density was 90.9 inhabitants per square mile (35.1/km2). There were 36,318 housing units at an average density of 40.4 per square mile (15.6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 82.5% white, 13.0% black or African American, 0.7% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 1.5% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.2% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 21.2% self-identified as American, 18.9% as German, 10.1% as Irish, and 9.1% as English.
Of the 32,655 households, 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.5% were non-families, and 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.96. The median age was 39.8 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $39,456 and the median income for a family was $49,429. Males had a median income of $40,107 versus $30,104 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,218. About 14.6% of families and 18.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.0% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.