A small riverside community that located on the wet side of the levee, Shokokon traces its origins to 1836 when Robert McQueen platted a village of 16 square blocks, attracted by the relatively good river access. For a number of years, residents could take a ferry from Shokokon across the river to Iowa.

Map of area around Shokokon, IL

Map of area around Shokokon, IL (Henderson County Library)

Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, considered expanding his base from Nauvoo by establishing another Mormon community at Shokokon in 1843. He visited a couple of times and preached to the locals, but plans were abandoned as Smith got embroiled in conflict at and around Nauvoo.

The village never had more than 300 residents, and when the railroad bypassed the village it got considerably smaller. In 1869, most of the commercial buildings were moved a couple of miles southeast to be near the new Carthage and Burlington Railroad railroad station at Carman.

In the 20th century, a number of summer residences were built at the village, which are elevated high enough above ground to stay dry during most periods of high water.

Next stop upriver: Gulfport.

Next stop downriver: Carman.

©Dean Klinkenberg, 2015

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By |2018-10-17T16:16:36+00:00July 20th, 2015|Illinois|2 Comments

About the Author:

Dean Klinkenberg, the Mississippi Valley Traveler, is on a mission to explore the rich history, diverse cultures, and varied ecosystems of the Mississippi River Valley, from the Headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. He is the author of Rock Island Lines, a mystery, and several guidebooks for the Mississippi Valley.


  1. Dean Klinkenberg June 21, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Hi, Megan. Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. Megan Gray June 21, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this information as my mom’s family built one of those summer homes in 1920. The 100 years flood in 1998 took it…and your info is all that stands left of what we lovingly refer to as Shok. Originally the name was spelled Chaquokon…meaning something along the lines of… high on the bluff in Blackhawk-eze.

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