Pawnee is a village in Sangamon County, Illinois, United States. The population was 2,647 at the 2000 census, and 2,550 at a 2009 estimate. It is part of the Springfield, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Pawnee was founded, by virtue of getting a Post Office, in 1854. Originally the community was called 'Horse Creek', which was an improvement from the nearby 'Dead Horse Creek' (where a dead horse was found in the creek Southwest of town), but the petition for a Post Office sent to the postmaster in Springfield, Illinois, was denied under that name. 'Pawnee' was suggested on the grounds that it was fashionably Native American for the time. Justus Henkle was the first settler in the township, and he came to the area in 1818.
Abraham Lincoln used to travel through Pawnee en route to Springfield, Illinois via the Black Diamond Road on the SE side of town, and sometimes the Pawnee Road on the SW side. The Black Diamond Road appears to have been so named based on a nearby coal mine of the same name.