The township of Liverpool is larger in area than average and contains
timberland, swampy areas, and bottom lands that were
once covered by a chain of lakes prior to drainage for
The first settlers in 1826 were the Joseph and Elizabeth
Wilcoxen Allens families of Kentucky and North Carolina, the John
Farrises of Kentucky, the Joseph Smiths, and the Seth Hilton
family. Settlers usually arrived by boat; one
passenger brought a cholera epidemic that swept through the area in
1848, killing thirteen people.
Early Liverpool businesses included: Mrs. Hilton, the itinerant cobbler, a
grist mill (1833), and a saw mill (1835). A Baptist church was
established in 1930.
In 1850, interested merchants from Liverpool and Canton
organized to subscribe to the construction of a plank road between
Although the Illinois law of 1847 forbade the
construction of tollhouses and tolls, the builders erected three
tollhouses along the route. The road was short-lived because of
the construction of the railroad and of a toll-free road to
Copperas Creek Landing in Banner, which rerouted much of the trade
away from Liverpool.
By 1860, two storage warehouses were in operation, as well as
beef- and pork-packing plants, coopering, grain markets (corn, rye,
and wheat), a wood market, a coal market, and flat boat and
steamboat companies. Commodities included pecans, furs, and
By the turn of the century, Liverpool had thirty years of
prosperity based on harvesting the river. The town was on the Eagle Packet
Company's line. At this time fishing was the main
industry, with reports of one-day hauls of up to 125,000 pounds of
fish that were processed, packed in ice, and sent to St. David (ten
miles north on the railroad) for shipment. Fishing remained
important until shortly after 1915, when the Thompson Lake Drainage
and Levee District was formed to drain many of the backwater lakes
to create more farmland and build levees for flood protection,
moving and killing millions of fish.
Also begining at the end of the nineteenth century, hunters came to
Liverpool for the waterfowl seasons. There were four hotels and fifty
guides that brought in about $70,000 a month during the season.
When the lakes were drained, the habitat and food source of the
waterfowl disappeared, causing a great reduction in hunting.
Today the population of Liverpool is about 150. Landmarks
include the Warren Boathouse and the site of another boathouse sided the exterior with decorative patterns of mussel
shells embedded in mortar.