Did You Know . . .
Fulton County . . .
. . . was named for Robert Fulton who invented the first successful steamboat in 1807.
. . . was part of the lands set aside to be used as payment to veterans of the War of 1812.
. . . was established five years after Illinois became a state in 1823.
. . . extended all of the way to the northern boundary of the state including present day Chicago between 1823 and 1825.
. . . now has a population of 37,069.
During the early years of settlement, Fulton County residents concentrated in many locations around the county. Since that time many of these places have faded away leaving little or no trace on the landscape, surviving only in the annals of our history. Others remain as vestiges of once thriving communities.
For example, just off Illinois Route 78 just south of Canton is Maples Mill where a cluster of homes marks the place where Thompson Maple built a sawmill in the mid-1800s to supply oak planks to surface the wagon road between Canton and the steamboat landing at Liverpool. Just south of Maples Mill, Little America is perched on the Illinois River valley bluff at the junction of today’s US Route 24 and Illinois Route 78. According to local legend it was named for its supposed resemblance to the Antarctic exploration base that bears the same name.
South of Lewistown on US Route 24, on the banks of Spoon River lies Duncan Mills, another town named for its founder’s mill. Here George Duncan established a grist mill in the 1830s that became a center for early commerce. Further south is Summum, the birthplace and early boyhood home of noted musician Smiley Burnett who had a long and successful radio and film career.
Laid out in 1837, Marrietta, located along Illinois Route 95, reached its peak in the days of railroad transportation and once had a depot and full complement of local businesses. Similarly, the town of Fiatt, west of Canton on Illinois Routes 9 and 97 prospered due to the nearby railroad and, in the early 1900s, provided homes for many who worked in the surrounding coal mines.
Although little recognized today, places like Blyton, Breeds, Brereton, Enion, Gilchrist, Monterey, Sepo, and Seyville live on as small residential communities.