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What is Coles County named after? Who was Charles Morton?
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CENTRAL ILLINOIS
THEIR NAMES, OUR PLACES

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.  

Charleston 

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. 

Mattoon

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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