Fairfield is the county seat of Wayne County, Illinois, United States, the site of Frontier Community College, Fairfield Community High School, Fairfield Memorial Hospital, and Airtex; an auto parts manufacturing facility. The population was 5,154 at the 2010 census.
Fairfield is most famous for being the hometown of the Shelton Brothers Gang, notorious bootleggers who failed in defeating the Harrisburg, Illinois based Birger Gang to control criminal activities in Southern Illinois. During the first half of the 20th century gang leaders Carl, Earl and Bernie Shelton made Fairfield a household name of the time. Based on testimony of Charlie Birger himself, the Shelton Brothers were convicted for a 1925 unsolved mail carrier robbery of $15,000 and were sentenced to 25 years much to the relief of the denizens of Fairfield and surrounding villages. Soon after the Shelton Gang disappeared as Birger dominated bootlegging in Southern Illinois until he himself was hanged in Benton. for the murder of West City. Mayor Joe Adams in 1928.
Fairfield was the hometown of Kenneth Michael Kays, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism during the Vietnam War, and Country music singer-songwriter Lance Miller.