Shelby County has a rich and interesting history. Shelby County was created in 1827 and originally included almost all of Moultrie County, Pana, Assumption, and most of Praireton Township in Christian County. Today it is still one of the largest counties in Illinois. The county seat, Shelbyville, is historically linked to Abraham Lincoln, who made numerous visits to Shelby County during his circuit riding days. Early pioneers found abundant wildlife in the forests and prairies. In the 1840s, the pioneers began to break the prairie and found fertile soil. The arrival of the railroad spurred the rich agricultural history of the county that continues to this day. Samuel Moulton, state representative and U.S. congressman from Shelbyville, introduced the bill that established the Illinois Free Public School System. Chautauquas were presented at the Auditorium in Shelbyville, which still exists today, and at Lithia Springs. More than a dozen cities, towns, and villages combine to create a fascinating history of this county.