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When Illinois became a state in 1818, the area that is now Marshall county was part of Bond and Clark counties. As more counties were formed, the area became part of Pike, Sangamon, Putnam, and LaSalle counties.
Marshall county was established in 1839 from Putnam county. It was named in honor of John Marshall (1755-1835), who was a soldier during the American Revolution. He served in the US Congress, representing the state of Virginia. And, he served as Secretary of State and Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.
In 1843, the western part of La Salle county became the eastern part of Marshall county.
The western part of Marshall county (area west of the Illinois River) was part of the Military Tract of Land granted to veterans of the War of 1812.