History of Marion

History of Marion, Illinois

After Williamson County was formed in 1839, leaders met to select a new county seat geographically close to the center of the county. The 20 acres of land that was selected and would become the public square was owned and farmed by William and Bethany Benson. Officials met at the Benson log cabin to organize the Williamson County Courthouse on Oct. 7, 1839, and, later, a post office on Jan. 30, 1840. The community was incorporated Feb. 24, 1841, and named Marion after American Revolutionary War hero General Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion.

The city of Marion is home to many historic buildings and landmarks. One such place is Goddard Chapel in Rose Hill Cemetery at the intersection of Routes 13 and 37. The chapel was built in 1918 and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Goddard Chapel was a gift to the city of Marion from the founder of the first bank in Williamson County, Leroy A. Goddard.