Petition of Hiram Watson and Others to the Sangamon County Commissioners' Court,  March 18311The Honl[Honorable] the County Commissioners Court of Sangamon County at the March term for 1831.2
We the undersign’d petitioners would represent to your Honl body, that whereas it represented to us that there is a vacancy in the office of constable in the Springfield district, and whereas the Statute in such cases made and provided, authorises your Honl Court to fill such vacancy upon petition.3
We therefore request you to fill sd[said] vacancy with some suitable person4
|William B Rice||8|
|15||John H Robertson||15|
|18||Ben. F. Dillard||18|
|19||Gunnell S Mc Kinnie||19|
|20||Andrew Mc Kinnie||20|
|21||John J. Darden||21|
|23||Charles P. Cabaness||23|
|26||John D Johnston||26|
Petition for constable to fill Smith Vacancy
1Hiram Watson authored the petition. Abraham Lincoln signed his own name as well as those of John Hanks and John D. Johnston.
At their March 1831 term, the Sangamon County Commissioners’ Court received a petition signed by 304 citizens of the Springfield district, of which this petition was a part, requesting the court to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Adam Smith. Smith may have resigned because he had been found guilty of assault and battery on Absalom Burnett and fined $4. Although the General Assembly had changed the procedure in 1827, the Sangamon County Commissioners’ Court, satisfied that “a majority of the voters of this district” had signed the petition, granted the request and appointed William Constant as constable.
Minutes, 8, 11 March 1831, Sangamon County Commissioners’ Court Record Book C, 162, 191, Illinois Regional Archives Depository, University of Illinois Springfield, Springfield, IL.
2Zachariah Peter, Josiah B. Smith, and Garret Elkin composed the Sangamon County Commissioners’ Court in 1831.
History of Sangamon County, Illinois (Chicago: Inter-State, 1881), 50.
3Beginning in 1827, Illinois law required the clerk of the county commissioners’ court to order judges of election in the appropriate district to hold an election for constable within twenty days to fill the vacancy.
“An Act to Provide for the Election of Justices of the Peace and Constables,” 30 December 1826, Revised Code of Laws of Illinois (1827), 255-59.
Autograph Document Signed, 2 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL)