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Ledford is an unincorporated community in the Harrisburg Township, Saline County, Illinois, United States situated between Carrier Mills and Harrisburg, Illinois. It was named after a well known Ledford family in the area. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the peak of the coal boom in Saline County, it was a thriving mining center home to more than 1000 people.
It lies three miles South of Harrisburg on US 45. At one time, it had a population of 1,100 to 1,400 people. According to an early edition of the Harrisburg Daily Register, there was a time during the first 10 years of the 20th century that the population of Ledford was larger than that of Harrisburg, the county seat. In 1905, Saline County had numerous small slope mines and 15 major shaft mines. Thirteen of these larger mines were along the Big Four Railroad that traveled through Ledford.
Today, Ledford is considered part of Harrisburg, Illinois. Almost all signs of the mining industry are gone. The mines’ air shafts and fans are gone as well as the many coal tipples and mine ponds that dotted the area. The smoke stacks are missing and the air is clean. Gone are the sounds of the tipples hoisting coal, the steam whistles signaling the men, and the occasional snorts of a steam locomotive or the groaning of a streetcar motor. Ledford is a quiet community with a population of only 100 people.