In 1814, the land now known as Henderson County was part of the Military Tract. The Village of Oquawka, now the county seat, was just another good place on the Mississippi River to land a canoe. One settler, Isaac Galland, decided that it was also suitable for trading. So in 1827 he built the areas first log cabin. Brothers Summer and Alexis Phelps and their families were the next settlers to establish homes and businesses on the site known as Yellow Banks or by its Indian name Oquawkick. In 1836, the Phelps brothers platted the town and it officially became Oquawka.
For over 150 years, people have found Oquawka a hospitable place to live, work, and visit. Big River State Forest, a 3,000 acre forest complex located northeast of Oquawka features miles of hiking trails for the summer, and snowmobile and skiing paths in the winter. The many miles of sandy fire lanes provide horse-riding trails galore. Boaters have access to the Mississippi with a long sandy beach as well as camping along the water. The upper camping area has amenities such as electrical power, pavilions, and playgrounds. The forest has the distinction of having the only remaining fire tower in Illinois. (http://www.hendersoncountyedc.com/Communities/Oquawka)
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