About Henry County
Henry County, Illinois is located in Northwestern Illinois, just 16 miles from the Mississippi River dividing Illinois and Iowa. Henry County is primarily made up of rolling farmland, and is well known for hog, corn, soybean, and cattle production. The area is also dotted with wooded areas, rivers, lakes, and streams.
While much of the county is agricultural in nature, the cities and towns of Henry County feature many manufacturing and business outlets. The county is served by Interstate Highways 80 and 74, plus both freight and passenger rail lines. In addition, Henry County is just 10 minutes from the Quad Cities International Airport.
Henry County features areas of great historical interest, including the Bishop Hill Colony, the Hennepin Canal, the Great Sauk Trail, and other areas reflecting the rich heritage of the region.
Henry County's population in 2000 was 51,020, with the county covering 823.21 square miles.
Henry County was named for Patrick Henry, a lawyer, orator, and statesman of the Revolutionary period, a member of the Continental Congress, and Governor of Virginia.
The county was established Seven Years after Illinois became a state from unorganized territory attached to Fulton County, Illinois on January 13, 1825. The original Henry County ran north to the border of Illinois and Wisconsin and included parts of present-day Carroll, Jo Daviess, Knox, Rock Island, and Whiteside counties.
In 1827, the formation of Jo Daviess County drastically reduced the size of Henry County to about half its present day area. The present borders of Henry County were not established until 1836, and until about 1837, Henry County was attached to Knox County. The present county organization was completed in 1837.
Henry County has known four county seats, including:
- 1837 to 1839 - Richmond
- 1839 to 1840 - Geneseo-Temporarily appointed to house records
- 1840 to 1843 - Morristown
- 1843 to Present - Cambridge