Carmi lies on the East bank of the Little Wabash River in Southern Illinois. It was the Little Wabash that attracted the first settlers to the area in the period of 1809-1814. The oldest existing house in Carmi was built in 1814. The house, located near the city park, is sometimes open to visitors because of its colorful history. The house was used as a courthouse when White County was founded in 1815, and when Carmi was chartered in 1816. U.S. Senator James Robinsonand his family lived in the home until the 1870’s. The Senator’s granddaughter Mary Jane Stewart occupied the home until 1966. She willed the home and its contents to the White County Historical Society which maintains it as a house museum.
Carmi was named from the Bible in reference to the nephew of Joseph, or so many believe. It was mentioned eight times in Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua and Frist Chronicles. White County was organized in 1815.
Our men have served in the Black Hawk and Mexican wars, the Spanish wars, the great Civil War, World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and now Iraq.
Carmi has had a senator elect in John M. Robinson and has had five different representatives elected who hailed from Carmi. Four presidents, Lincoln, Harry Truman, Barack Obama, Dwight Eisenhower and famous speaker, William Jenning Bryan, have spoke in Carmi, a couple making stops along the railroad campaign.
From humble beginnings as a toddling town in the backwoods frontier, little Carmi has grown into a town of over 5,000, with a pleasant populace.
Leonard White and Lowry Hay were the two joint proprietors of the proposed town site and the county was named after White.