Mt. Sterling, Illinois
The marker is located six miles east of Mt. Sterling, in a rest stop on the south side of US 24, just west of Ripley.
Division of Highways and The Illinois State Historical Society
In 1824 Cornelius Vandeventer, a native of Ohio, became the first permanent settler in this area. Additional pioneers came over the next few years from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. In 1829 Alexander Curry purchased a claim on the site of the future Mt. Sterling. Curry and his family laid out the town in 1834. At that time, this area formed the southern part of Schuyler County. Two years later, attempts were made to move the county seat from Rushville to a location nearer to the center of the county. When these failed Brown County, named after General Jacob Brown, a veteran of the War of 1812, was created on February 1, 1839. Mt. Sterling was named the county seat the same year. It was on a major route of the western migration beginning in 1849 with the discovery of gold in California.
James Washington Singleton came to this area from Virginia around 1834 and lived in Mt. Sterling until 1854 when he moved to Quincy. A doctor, lawyer, and later a railroad executive, he became a brigadier general in the Illinois militia and served in the Mormon War of 1844. He was also a delegate to two Illinois State Constitutional Conventions, a member of the Illinois Legislature, and a member of the U.S. Congress. Stephen A. Douglas held court in Mt. Sterling in 1841-1843 while circuit court judge Abraham Lincoln spoke here on October 19, 1858 while campaigning for the office of U.S. Senator.
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