Murphysboro is a city in and the county seat of Jackson County, Illinois, United States. Established in September 1843, Murphysboro is the second county seat of Jackson County. Its birth is tied to the disastrous fire that destroyed the courthouse in the first county seat, Brownsville. The fire proved to be the catalyst to move the county seat to a more central location. The name was decided for the new town when William C. Murphy’s name was drawn from a hat containing the names of the three commissioners who chose the new location, a 20-acre (81,000 m2) tract of land donated by Dr. John Logan and Elizabeth Logan. Logan County, Illinois, is named after Dr. Logan.
The son of the site’s donors, Major General John A. Logan, later became a volunteer general in the Civil War. General Logan is also remembered for a distinguished political career, serving as Illinois’ US Senator, as well as for running for Vice President in 1884. At the time of his death he was considered a presidential hopeful. Logan’s greatest legacy, however, is his creation of Memorial Day as a national holiday.
On March 18, 1925, 234 people were killed when the Tri-State Tornado hit Murphysboro. Murphysboro was essentially destroyed. Another F5 affected the area on December 18, 1957, the latest tornado of that strength recorded during a year.
On May 8, 2009 a derecho windstorm destroyed houses, brought down power lines, and left the town without electricity for a week. The surrounding woodlands and recreational trails were heavily impacted.
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,295 people, 3,704 households, and 2,129 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,751.3 people per square mile (1,062.8/km²). There were 4,183 housing units at an average density of 865.6 per square mile (334.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.82% White, 15.80% African American, 0.39% Native American, 1.03% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 1.10% from other races, and 1.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.72% of the population.
There were 3,704 households out of which 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.8% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% were non-families. 37.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the city the population was spread out with 14.7% under the age of 18, 40.6% from 18 to 24, 18.5% from 25 to 44, 13.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females there were 104.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,551, and the median income for a family was $34,987. Males had a median income of $28,216 versus $20,011 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,527. About 15.8% of families and 21.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.4% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.