Vermilion County, located about 150 miles directly south of Chicago, runs along the eastern border of the state in central Illinois. The county is named after the Vermilion River, which runs through the county, and is named as such because of the color of the earth along its banks. The major city is the county seat of Danville, but both the town and the county are quite small in size. Banking, therefore, is highly dependent on both rural and consumer loans in Vermilion County. |
The history of the city can be traced as far back as the late 17th century when French explorers claimed the area for their country. Though the red soil gave the river and the county its name, it was the black color of coal that established the economy of the area. As early as those French explorers in the late 1600s, coal was discovered in the area. However, it wouldn’t be until well after Illinois achieved statehood in 1818 that the extent of the coal reserves was actually recognized. In fact, the county wouldn’t see mining begin in earnest until the 1860s—long after the county itself was created on January 18, 1826.
Yet, it was the existence of saline springs in the county that drew the first European settlers to the area as early as 1801. These springs were also where the first settlement was made in the county by Seymour Treat in 1819, along with the Beckwith and Whitcomb families, who founded the city of Danville. This settlement grew to encompass a number of families and became known as Butler's Point, named after one of the settlers, James Butler, who followed from Ohio in 1820. It was the production of this saline that proved to be profitable and drove the economy in the 1820s and 1830s before coal became the bedrock of the economic engine. Coal would then be the primary industry in the area until the 1940s when coal mines began to shut down.
Today the area is known for its recreational attractions, which evolved after the closed mines were converted to lakes and state and county parks were opened around these lakes. The banking business in the county reflects this economic condition in the number of consumer loans in Vermillion County that they offer.
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