|As Menard County was named after this popular Frenchman, it may be interesting to the reader to give a brief account of his life.
Pierre Menard was born in Quebec in the year 1767. He remained in his native city till in his nineteenth year, when his native spirit of adventure led him to seek his fortunes in the Territories watered by the Mississippi and its tributaries. He was soon found in the town of Vincennes, on the Wabash River, in the employ of a merchant, one Col. Vigo. In the year 1790, he formed a partnership with a merchant named Du Bois and they removed their stock to Kaskaskia, Illinois.
Menard, though possessed of but a limited education, was a man of quick perception and of almost unerring judgment. He was candid and honest, full of energy and industry, and these qualities soon marked him as a leader among the scattered population of his adopted home. For a number of years, he was Government Agent for the Indians, and his candor and integrity soon won for him the esteem and friendship of the Indian tribes. This fact secured him great advantage as a merchant, as he could buy their peltries for half price.
Pierre Menard was a member of the Lower House of the Legislature while Illinois was under the Indiana regime, and, from 1812 to 1818, he was a member of the Illinois Legislative Council, being the President of that body. He was Lieutenant Governor from 1818 to 1822, and after that he declined to accept further honors at the hands of the people. He acquired a considerable fortune, but much of it was lost through his liberality in going security for his friends. He died at the good old age of seventy-seven years, in Tazewell County. Such was the man for whom the county of Menard was named.
~ from The History of Menard and Mason Counties, published 1879