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Alexander County, Illinois

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Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Alexander County, Illinois.

Official Website


Alexander County was organized in 1819. It was named for William M. Alexander, a physician who practiced in the town of America. The county was initially developed for agriculture and settled by numerous migrants from the Upper South.

Settled largely by white migrants from the Upland South, southern Illinois had many racial attitudes of the South. As blacks settled in Cairo to seek jobs on steamboats, ferries, in shipping and railroads, there were tensions between the racial groups.

There were three lynchings of blacks in Alexander County in the years between Reconstruction and the early 20th century. The county had the second-highest number of lynchings of blacks in all of Illinois. The most notorious of these was the lynching of Will James before a crowd of white spectators estimated at 10,000, in the county seat of Cairo, on November 11, 1909. James was accused of murdering a young white woman. Later that same evening, the mob lynched a white man named Henry Salzner, hanging him in the courthouse square for allegedly killing his wife. Neither man had had a trial, nor was anyone ever prosecuted for the lynchings, even though Illinois had passed an anti-lynching law four years earlier.

Adjacent Counties

Cities, Villages & Communities

  • Cairo (County Seat)
  • Cash
  • Clank
  • Dawleys
  • Diswood
  • East Cape Girardeau
  • Elco
  • Fayville
  • Fort Defiance
  • Future City
  • Gale
  • Golden Lily
  • Klondike
  • McClure
  • Miller City
  • Olive Branch
  • Roth
  • Sandusky
  • Tamms
  • Tankville
  • Tatumville
  • Thebes
  • Unity
  • Urbandale
  • Willard



National Register of Historic Places

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge (part)

Shawnee National Forest (part)

Genealogy Trails

IL GenWeb

Genealogy Village