Birkbeck, Morris

Birkbeck, Morris

Birkbeck, Morris, 1764-1825, English pioneer in the United States. One of the most advanced agriculturists in England, he had a huge farm in Surrey. In 1817 he emigrated to the United States. He and another English traveler, George Flower, sought to create a settlement in Illinois. The two quarreled, but the undertaking resulted in the occupation of thousands of acres of land and the founding of Albion, Ill. Birkbeck's Notes on a Journey … to the Territory of Illinois (1818, repr. 1968) and Letters from Illinois (1818, repr. 1968) helped to bring European settlers to the fertile prairies of the Middle West and are invaluable historical sources.
Albion is a city in Edwards County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,933 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Edwards County.


Albion is located at (38.377300, -88.061028). In it, Illinois Route 130 and Illinois Route 15 meet.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km²), of which, 2.1 square miles (5.5 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (2.28%) is water.


Albion was founded soon after the end of the War of 1812 by a colony of Englishmen led by George Flower. The American settlers in Edwards County, many of them veterans of that war, mostly from Kentucky, viewed the English colony with great suspicion.

Flower came to America in 1816. He and Morris Birkbeck, another Englishman, met and agreed to explore the western country with the idea of starting a colony of their own countrymen. After a long journey through Ohio, Indiana, and the Illinois Territory, they were so impressed with the beauty of the countryside around Boultinghouse Prairie that they knew they had found what they were looking for. They bought all the land they could afford, and eventually brought over from England more than 200 settlers, £100,000 in capital, and a carefully thought out selection of livestock and agricultural implements. The area became known as the English Settlement.

In 1824, the county seat of Edwards County was moved from Palmyra to Albion. Residents of Mount Carmel felt the county seat should be in Mount Carmel and not Albion. Four companies of militia marched from Mount Carmel toward Albion to seize the county documents stored in the courthouse. The situation was resolved by separating Wabash County from Edwards County at the Bon Pas Creek in 1824. The divided counties remain two of the smallest in Illinois.


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,933 people, 861 households, and 538 families residing in the city. The population density was 903.8 people per square mile (348.8/km²). There were 957 housing units at an average density of 447.5/sq mi (172.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.71% White, 0.16% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 0.21% from other races, and 0.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.57% of the population.

There were 861 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 24.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 83.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,476, and the median income for a family was $36,917. Males had a median income of $26,182 versus $17,375 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,747. About 8.6% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.0% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.

Notable residents


4.A History Of Edwards County, Illinois, Volume One, 1980 Library of Congress Card number 80-70649

External links


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