Carrier Mills, IL


Carrier Mills is a village located in Saline County, Illinois. As of the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 1,886.


Carrier Mills is located at 37°41'13" North, 88°37'45" West (37.686923, -88.629149).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 3.2 km2 (1.2 mi2). 3.2 km2 (1.2 mi2) of it is land and 0.81% is water.

From the highschool facing north.


Carrier Mills is located seven miles southwest of Harrisburg, Illinois, where most of the town's citizens do their business and shopping. It was platted in November 1872 for William Housely as Morrillsville, though it was commonly known as Carrier's Mill because of Carrier's lumber and grain mill operation there. It was platted adjacent and north of the newly completed Cairo-Vincennes railroad. In 1873 the first postmaster was appointed to Carrier Mills, (the name the railroad had assigned to the new stop). The Village was incorporated in 1894, and with the advent of the railroad and coal mines, the tiny village amidst timber and farms grew quickly. Today in legal documents it's name remains Morrillsville. In 1905 a series of fires swept through it's downtown forcing them to rebuild in brick. Washington Carrier helped found the town when he built his mill. He financed the building of the train depot in town. According to tradition the old Carrier mansion south of Carrier Mills was burned down due to cult activity.

Coal mining also had a great influence on Carrier Mills. Some dozen coal mines privatly and publicly owned ran around the town. During the towns hay-day some 2,500 people bustled around the busy streets. After the coal mines closed around the state the population dwindled down to nearly 1500 according to the 2000 census. The entire county has suffered dearly from the closing of the coal mines, making Carrier Mills a near ghost town.

Lakeview: A Link to African American Culture

Carrier Mills also has a great African American history and influence. Free blacks founded the small early pioneer settlement of Lakeview a mile south of Carrier Mills shortly after the War of 1812. The History of Saline County (1997) states that "LakeView, a colored community south of town (Carrier Mills), is an older settlement than Carrier Mills. It is the oldest black settlement in Illinois. It was first named Pond Settlement because of the swamp land that surrounded it. According to local tradition free blacks living in the Pond Settlement helped runaway slaves and indentured servants escape from the saline works and the Old Slave House near Equality, Illinois.

Lakeview had it's own school and grocery store along with many homes. In 1850, a Union Church was established near Carrier Mills in Saline Co., Ill. Most members were either Baptist or Methodist. An African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at the home of Irvin ALLEN, who built a one-room log church building on his property. After the church burned they rebuilt and moved the church to Carrier Mills where it sits today. This congregation is now Baber Chapel AME Church. The Lakeview cemetery has become a state historical landmark. The area of Lakeview is still a nearly 100% black area. After the closing of the Lakeview school in the 1950's, many people moved to the east side of Carrier Mills. There was much felt tension between the whites and blacks in the town.


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,886 people, 798 households, and 501 families residing in the village. The population density was 587.2/km2 (1,522.9/mi2). There were 942 housing units at an average density of 293.3/km2 (760.6/mi2). The racial makeup of the village was 84.84% White, 12.94% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. 0.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 798 households out of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.6% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the village the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 23.2% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 24.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 84.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.2 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $25,493, and the median income for a family was $35,037. Males had a median income of $31,458 versus $16,756 for females. The per capita income for the village was $14,314. 17.7% of the population and 13.2% of families were below the poverty line. 23.4% of those under the age of 18 and 16.7% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.