Image Courtesy of Karen Kruse
The marker is located near the north edge of Paris about 100 yards west of Il. Rt. 1 in extreme edge of Kiwanis Park
Illinois Department of Transportation and The Illinois State Historical Society
Paris lies in the heart of a rich farming area. Most of the land embraced in Edgar County, including Paris, remained Kickapoo hunting grounds until 1819, but the eastern quarter of the county was part of a tract ceded by the Indians in 1819 and offered for sale at Vincennes as early as 1816. Edgar County was established in 1823, and Paris was laid out on twenty-six acres donated by Samuel Vance in April of that year. The Edgar County Courthouse is located at the center of this parcel of land.
Alone or with others, Vance laid out the earliest roads from Paris in 1823-24. The first road, later known as the lower Terre Haute Road, is still being traveled today. A second road ran to Darwin, in Clark County. The fourth road, to the Vermilion salines near Danville, formed part of the Vincennes Trace and is now a section of Illinois Route 1 to Chicago.
At 130 South Central Avenue in Paris is the former home of Milton K. Alexander, Brigadier General in the Illinois Mounted Volunteers during the Black Hawk War of 1832. The house was built in 1826 and enlarged in 1840. Alexander was acquainted with Abraham Lincoln, who as a lawyer frequently came to Paris when Edgar County was in the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Lincoln spoke in Paris on August 6, 1856, on behalf of the Republican presidential candidate, John C. Fremont.
Lincoln spoke in Paris again on September 7, 1858, in his unsuccessful campaign against Stephen A. Douglas for United States Senate. A large proportion of the early settlers in Paris were from the South, and during the Civil War, there were many southern sympathizers called Copperheads. Some of these people were defeated in a minor clash with Union troops in February 1864.
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