About Pike County, Illinois
County Seat: Pittsfield
Pike County was formed on January 31, 1821 out of Madison
County. It was named in honor of Zebulon Pike, leader of the Pike
expedition in 1806 to map out the south and west portions of the
Louisiana Purchase. Pike served at the Battle of Tippecanoe, and was
killed in 1813 in the War of 1812.
Prior to the coming of the first European settler to Pike
County, French traders, hunters, and travelers passed through the
native forests and prairies. Originally Pike County began on the south
junction of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. The first county seat
was Cole's Grove, a post town, in what later became Calhoun County. The
Gazetteer of Illinois and Missouri, published in 1822, mentioned
Chicago as "a village of Pike County" containing 12 or 15 houses and
about 60 or 70 inhabitants.
The New Philadelphia Town Site was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places in 2005 and designated a National Historic
Landmark in 2009. Founded by Frank McWorter, an early free black
settler in Pike County, it was the first town founded by a black man in
the United States. McWorter had invested in land there sight unseen
after purchasing the first few members of his family out of slavery. In
1836 he founded the town of New Philadelphia, near Barry. He was
elected mayor and lived there the rest of his life. With the sale of
land, he made enough money to purchase the freedom of his children.
After the railroad bypassed the town, its growth slowed and it was
eventually abandoned in the 20th century. The town site is now an
In the early 21st century, Pike County acquired notability as
a whitetail deer hunting center, especially for bowhunting.
Communities of Pike
Barry, Pittsfiled, Griggsville
Baylis, Detroit, El Dara, Florence, Hull, Kinderhook, Milton,
Nebo, New Canton, New Salem, Pearl, Perry, Pleasant Hill, Time, Valley
Atlas, Barry, Chambersburg, Cincinnati, Derry, Detroit,
Fairmount, Flint, Griggsville, Hadley, Hardin, Kinderhook, Levee,
Martinsburg,, Montezuma, Newburg, New Salem, Pearl, Perry, Pittsfield,
Pleasant Hill, Pleasant Vale, Ross, Spring Creek
Atlas, Chambersburg, East Hannibal, Fishhook, Maysville, Pike,
Rockport, Seehorn, Straut, Summer Hill
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