Eastern Communities

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Clark County


Platted in 1835, Marshall served as the welcome to Illinois for National Road travelers. The town was founded by Col. William B. Archer and Joseph Duncan, a future Illinois governor. The community was named for John Marshall, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Archer, along with founding Marshall, was Clark County’s first county clerk and circuit clerk. He served two years in the Illinois House of Representatives before two terms in the state senate. He was assigned the rank of Colonel during the Blackhawk War.

The influx of settlers to the community resulted in the county seat being moved there in 1838. An original stone arch bridge from the National Road era can be seen on the west side of town. Abraham Lincoln was a frequent visitor to Marshall during his circuit riding days and developed some lifelong friendships in the town.

Col. Archer was a member of the Illinois delegation to the 1856 Republican National Convention and addressed the group following Lincoln's nomination for vice-president on the William C. Fremont ticket. Archer said he had been acquainted with Lincoln for 30 years, describing him as "pure a patriot as ever lived." When Lincoln's toughness was questioned, Archer emphatically responded, "He's strong mentally---he's strong physically---he's strong every way." Lincoln lost the VP nod to New Jersey’s William L. Dayton.

From 1950-1964, Marshall was the site of the Handy Writers Colony, which nurtured the writing of several authors, including James Jones.

See Marshall


An Ohio native, Joseph Martin, purchased land in 1832 that he would plat a year later as the town he named for himself. With the construction of the National Road underway, the town’s early prosperity was directly related to the trail. Two men, Fitch and Redman, opened the first store which became the gathering place of the townspeople. Martinsville's economy has since relied on agriculture and oil. The Ohio Oil Company, a subsidiary of Standard Oil, operated a large tank farm west of Martinsville. According to an 1883 Clark County history book, Martinsville had a reputation for its horse-racing. In 1935 American thoroughbred horse racing trainer, Dale Baird, was born in Martinsville. At the time of his 2007 death, Baird had more wins, 9,445, than any other trainer in the sport's history.

The former Odd Fellows Hall also served as a gymnasium and a ballroom / opera house on its third floor. Visitors will enjoy the Lincoln School, a one-room brick school built in 1880 and a museum since 1988. Martinsville is also home to the Rowe Foundry, a family owned business since 1898 that saw its origin in a blacksmith shop.

See Martinsville


The origin of this town can be found in a settlement named Cumberland. A Post Office, named after Zadoc Casey, was established at Cumberland in 1838 but was discontinued nine years later. Cumberland is now part of the city of Casey. The original town was first platted in 1851 and surveyed in 1853. John Lang, a founding father, built the National House Hotel. The first store was started by John Cole.

Casey was one of many towns along the National Road that grew thanks to the oil boom of the early 20th century. By 1907, around 2,000 oil wells had been drilled in the immediate Casey area. Casey’s Fairview Park was a spinoff of these prosperous years and at one time featured a racetrack. Visitors to Casey will observe a sign acknowledging native son, David Hanners, a 1989 Pulitzer Prize winning reporter.

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Cumberland County


Located on the Embarras River, Greenup was named for William Greenup, supervisor of National Road construction in Illinois. Platted in 1834, the town's lifeline was the National Road which brought settlers and travelers. For several years, Greenup was the county seat. Abraham Lincoln was the defense attorney for an 1847 manslaughter case that was heard at the Cumberland County court in Greenup. Local legend claims that Lincoln, his father, and a cousin helped build the original covered bridge over the Embarras River. Another legendary visitor was Frank James who participated in the 1900 Cumberland County Fair as the honorary starter of the horse races.

The town is nicknamed the "Village of the Porches" for its distinctive downtown architecture. A future military museum is housed in the former public library, a 1904 Carnegie funded project. Visitors will enjoy the local historical society museum and adjoining train museum, located in the original 1870 two-story depot. The community is also home of Quinn Broom Works, a family owned business since 1925.

See Greenup


Founded in 1844 as Pleasantville, the town initially benefited from its location on the National Road. In its early years, the village had a mill, log church and was a stagecoach stop for the Terre Haute to St. Louis line. According to local lore, there was a "great stamping ground" near town where men engaged in friendly boxing matches. But, by 1870, Pleasantville was on the verge of disappearing. The arrival of the Vandalia Railroad line led to a resurgence and the renaming of the town to Jewett. At its peak, Jewett had several stores, churches, and a school.

See Jewett

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