Franklin County is a county in Southern Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 39,561. Its county seat is Benton. It is located in the southern portion of Illinois known locally as "Little Egypt".


Franklin County was established on January 2, 1818 and formed from parts of Gallatin and White counties. It was named for Benjamin Franklin. File:Franklin County Illinois 1818.png|Franklin County at the time of its formation in 1818 File:Franklin County Illinois 1839.png|The creation of Williamson County in 1839 reduced Franklin to its current borders.

Coal mining

Coal was mined in Franklin County as early as 1889, at the King Coal Mine, located at Township 5 South, Range 3 East. The high levels of gas found in Franklin County's coal deposits have resulted in mining disasters and explosions over the years. Between 1905 and 1968, there were eleven mine disasters. In 1905, the Zeigler No. 1 mine, located in Zeigler, had an explosion that killed about fifty people. In 1917, an explosion in Old Ben Mine No. 11, located in Christopher, killed 17. The worst explosion occurred in 1951, in the Orient No. 2 Mine in West Frankfort, in which 119 people died. The West Frankfort quadrangle of Franklin County is home to 17 coal mines, according to a 2004 report.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (5.2%) is water. Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area is located in this county.

Climate and weather

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Benton have ranged from a low of in January to a high of in July, although a record low of was recorded in January 1977 and a record high of was recorded in August 2007. Average monthly precipitation ranged from in February to in May. In 1912, a tornado destroyed facilities at the Possum Ridge Mine. On March 18, 1925, Franklin County was among five southern Illinois counties effected by the infamous Tri State Tornado. The storm cut across the southern edge of the county, hitting West Frankfort and destroying most of the northern side of town, causing significant damage to the town's mining facilities. Farther to the east, the village of Parrish was also struck, and was never rebuilt. The storm killed 192 people in Franklin County, injuring hundreds more and leaving scores of people homeless.

Adjacent counties

* Jefferson County (north) * Hamilton County (east) * Saline County (southeast) * Williamson County (south) * Jackson County (southwest) * Perry County (west)

Major highways

* Interstate 57 * Illinois Route 14 * Illinois Route 34 * Illinois Route 37 * Illinois Route 148 * Illinois Route 149 * Illinois Route 154 * Illinois Route 184


As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 39,561 people, 16,617 households, and 10,912 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 18,525 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the county was 97.7% white, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.3% black or African American, 0.3% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.2% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 21.8% were German, 18.7% were Irish, 15.9% were English, 9.4% were American, and 5.7% were Italian. Of the 16,617 households, 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.8% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.3% were non-families, and 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.88. The median age was 41.8 years. The median income for a household in the county was $34,381 and the median income for a family was $43,170. Males had a median income of $39,122 versus $28,950 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,504. About 14.5% of families and 19.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.5% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.



* Benton * Christopher * Orient * Sesser * West Frankfort * Zeigler


* Buckner * Ewing * Freeman Spur * Hanaford * Macedonia * Mulkeytown * North City * Royalton * Thompsonville * Valier * West City 300px|Map of Franklin County, Illinois

Census-designated place

* Mulkeytown


Franklin County is divided into twelve townships: * Barren * Benton * Browning * Cave * Denning * Eastern * Ewing * Frankfort * Goode * Northern * Six Mile * Tyrone



* Franklin, Johnson, Massac, and Williamson County Regional Office of Education #21

Primary and secondary

* Christopher Unit School District #99 * Sesser Unit School District * Benton School District #47 * Frankfort Community Unit School District #168 * Zeigler-Royalton Community Unit School District #188 * Thompsonville Community Unit School District #174 * Ewing-Northern Community Unit School District #115

Higher education

* John A. Logan College Extension Center - West Frankfort


* Franklin & Jefferson County Special Education Cooperative


Because of its strong Southern leanings and opposition to the “YankeeCivil War, the county leaned strongly toward the Democratic Party until the 2000s. It voted for Republican Presidential nominees only in landslide GOP victories, and even Walter Mondale when he came within 3,819 votes of losing all fifty states in 1984 was able to carry Franklin County by 1,011 votes. However, since the turn of the century opposition to the Democratic Party's liberal views on social issues has produced a powerful swing towards the Republican Party.Cohn, Nate
‘Demographic Shift: Southern Whites’ Loyalty to G.O.P. Nearing That of Blacks to Democrats’
''The New York Times'', April 24, 2014
In 2016, Hillary Clinton did fifteen percent worse than any previous Democratic candidate, receiving only 25 percent of the county's ballots.

See also

* National Register of Historic Places listings in Franklin County, Illinois


United States Census Bureau 2007 TIGER/Line Shapefiles

United States Board on Geographic Names (GNIS)

United States National Atlas
{{Coord|37.99|-88.92|display=title|type:adm2nd_region:US-IL_source:UScensus1990 Category:Illinois counties Category:1818 establishments in Illinois Territory Category:Populated places established in 1818 Franklin County, Illinois Franklin County, Illinois Category:Pre-statehood history of Illinois