city, seat (1827) of Vermilion county, eastern Illinois, U.S. It lies on the junction of forks of the Vermilion River (there bridged) near the Indiana border, about 35 miles (55 km) east of Champaign. Early inhabitants of the area included Miami, Kickapoo, and Potawatomi Indians, and a number of trails passed through or terminated there. The location of salt deposits a few miles west of the village provided the primary incentive for early settlement. Shortly after Vermilion county was organized in 1826, Dan Beckwith and Guy W. Smith, two early settlers who were interested in the saltworks, offered to donate a tract of land for a county seat. The offer was accepted, and the new county seat was named Danville in honour of Beckwith. Abraham Lincoln practiced law in the city in the 1840s and '50s.
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