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Olney, Illinois

City: Olney

County: Richland

State: Illinois

Lat/Long: 38.7167, -88.0833

Olney, Illinois, is the county seat of Richland County. After the Illinois General Assembly created Richland County in February 1841, voters in the new county selected the area which would become Olney as the new county seat. Given the choice of naming the new seat of government, the citizens selected the name Olney. Surveyors platted the village shortly thereafter, and in November 1841, the U.S. Post Office Department established a post office in Olney. Between 1841 and 1847, Olney had no special political organization, but in August 1847, the townspeople voted to incorporate Olney as a village. The village grew slowly until 1855, when the opening of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad spurred economic and demographic growth. In 1855, the population had risen to 4,100. The Illinois General Assembly would incorporate Olney as a city in 1867.

Counties of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland, Illinois, Historical and Biographical (Chicago: F. A. Battey, 1884), 618-19, 710-11, 712, 714; James N. Adams, comp., Illinois Place Names (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Society, 1989), 462; "An Act to Incorporate the City of Olney," 9 March 1867, Private Laws of Illinois (1867), 1:824-35.