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What is Coles County named after? Who was Charles Morton?
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What is Coles County named after? Who was Charles Morton?

Behind the origins of our community names

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The people of the past live on in the names of places in our region.

Here are the origins of some of those locations. 

Coles County

Named after: Edward Coles

Who he was: The second governor of Illinois, Coles was a fierce abolitionist and the private secretary to President James Madison, who sent him on a diplomatic mission to St. Petersburg, Russia.​

He later became a register of the land office in Edwardsville, where he owned extensive parcels of land. As governor starting in 1822, the state's judiciary system was overhauled and an anti-slavery referendum was passed.  


Named after: Charles Morton

Who he was: In the early 1800s, Morton ran the first store and mill and was the first postmaster in what would become Charleston. He also donated 20 acres to the town. 


Named after: William Mattoon

Who he was: Mattoon was an executive with the St. Louis, Terre Haute and Alton Railroad. In the 1850s, the company built a rail expansion through the region. 

Shelbyville and Shelby County

Named after: Isaac Shelby

Who he was: The first and fifth governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby​ was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 and later served in the Virginia and North Carolina legislatures. Nine states have counties named after him. 

GALLERY: Lake Shelbyville through the years


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