Freeport, Illinois

FREEPORT, ILLINOIS, a city and the county-seat of Stephenson county, Illinois, in the N.W. part of the state, on the Pecatonica river, 30 m. from its mouth and about 100 m. N.W. of Chicago. Pop. (1890) 10,189; (1900) 13,258, of whom 2264 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 17,567. The city is served by the Chicago & North-Western, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul, and the Illinois Central railways, and by the Rockford & Interurban electric railway. The Illinois Central connects at South Freeport, about 3 m. S. of Freeport, with the Chicago Great Western railway. Among Freeport's manufactures are foundry and machine shop products, carriages, hardware specialties, patent medicines, windmills, engines, incubators, organs, beer and shoes. The Illinois Central has large railway repair shops here. The total value of the city's factory product in 1905 was $3,109,302, an increase of 14.8% since 1900. In the surrounding country cereals are grown, and swine and poultry are raised. Dairying is an important industry also. The city has a Carnegie library (1901). In the Court House Square is a monument, 80 ft. high, in memory of the soldiers who died in the Civil War. At the corner of Douglas Avenue and Mechanic Street a granite boulder commemorates the famous debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, held in Freeport on the 27th of August 1858. In that debate Lincoln emphasized the differences between himself and the radical anti-slavery men, and in answer to one of Lincoln's questions Douglas declared that the people of a territory, through "unfriendly" laws or denial of legislative protection, could exclude slavery, and that "it matters not what way the Supreme Court may hereafter decide on the abstract question whether slavery may or may not go into a territory under the Constitution." This, the so-called "Freeport doctrine," greatly weakened Douglas in the presidential election of 1860. Freeport was settled in 1835, was laid out and named Winneshiek in 1836, and in 1837 under its present name was made the county-seat of Stephenson county. It was incorporated as a town in 1850 and chartered as a city in 1855.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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