Bureau County is part of the Ottawa-Peru, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI Combined Statistical Area. Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park is located partly in this county.
Bureau County was organized out of Putnam County in 1837. It is named for Michel or Pierre Bureau. Their original surname was probably Belleau, but local aboriginals may have had difficulty pronouncing the "l" sound. One or both of the brothers ran a trading post near where Big Bureau Creek empties into the Illinois River from 1776 until 1780 or 1790.
Burea County was a New England settlement. The original founders of Princeton consisted entirely of settlers from New England. These people were "Yankee's", that is to say they were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the 1600s. They were part of a wave of New England farmers who headed west into what was then the wilds of the Northwest Territory during the early 1800s. Most of them arrived as a result of the completion of the Erie Canal. When they arrived in what is now Bureau County there was nothing but a virgin forest and wild prairie, the New Englanders laid out farms, constructed roads, erected government buildings and established post routes. They brought with them many of their Yankee New England values, such as a passion for education, establishing many schools as well as staunch support for abolitionism. They were mostly members of the Congregationalist Church though some were Episcopalian. Culturally Bureau County, like much of northern Illinois would be culturally very continuous with early New England culture, for most of its history.
Like so many other areas in the Midwest, this county was on a "line" of the Underground Railroad. There was a "station" at the home of Owen Lovejoy in Princeton, as well as several other locations throughout the county.