Year-Long Celebration in the Works for Morgan County’s 200th Anniversary

By Jeremy Coumbes on January 31, 2023 at 4:03pm

County leaders have some big plans this year to celebrate today’s 200th anniversary of the formation of Morgan County.

200 years ago today, on January 31st, 1823 which was a Friday, Morgan County was officially founded. County Commissioner Ginny Fanning says even though today’s anniversary has been quiet, big things are in store this year as the days get longer and warmer.

We have been thinking about this for the last year, recognizing that this was coming and the thought process was January 31st was probably not the best day to have a big celebration with not knowing what the weather was going to be like. So we are instead going to celebrate throughout the year, and we have ideas and things planned to keep this 200th year in front of everyone throughout the year.

There will be a special ad in the papers, there will be special runs on the radio stations with a little bit of a history tip or something that is important to Morgan County’s past 200 years.”

According to the official announcement, local historians will be presenting historic talks and walks on the stories that have made Morgan County influential in local, state, and national history.

The county is collaborating with the Morgan County Historical Society and Greg Olson to present the topics in interesting and fun ways. Fanning says the celebration won’t be only in Jacksonville either.

We’re hoping to create some sort of traveling display of sorts that we will take around to our various communities and have on display so we can let people know the value of what we have done in the past. There are lots of other things we are working on and thinking about, and I think it’s going to be hopefully a very exciting year for us.”

Fanning says a pair of local organizations, including the Jacksonville Area Museum, will also be featuring 200th-anniversary exhibits, however, the entirety of the celebration is still in development, and the Morgan County Commissioners ask that anyone who has an idea or would want to help is welcome.

There is going to be a display at the museum, and they have been wonderful partners, also Chautauqua is going to be an awesome partner for us. So we appreciate anybody who is doing anything this year, if they would like to incorporate something with Morgan County’s 200th year, please give us a call. We’d be more than interested to visit with them and see what we can do.”

The exhibits will reportedly utilize pictures, text, and graphics to tell the story of the people of Morgan County.

Fanning says a full schedule of events will be published on the Morgan County website soon. She says any person or organization interested in taking part in the 200th-anniversary celebration can contact the Morgan County Commissioners by calling 217-245-4619 or by email at