In force Jan.[January] 14. 1836.
AN ACT to authorise and require the County Commissioners’ Court of Sangamon County, to build a Bridge over the Sangamon river.1
County c[m]mmissioners to build a bridge.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That the county commissioners’ court of Sangamon county, be, and they are hereby authorised and required to build a bridge across the Sangamon river, at or near Stephenson’s ferry, on the road leading from Springfield to Peoria.2
Sec. 2. The said county commissioners shall commence the building of said bridge, on or before the second Monday in March, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six, and shall have the same completed on or before the first Monday of November following. The said bridge shall be so constructed, as to be at least twenty feet wide, and of sufficient height to let drift wood pass underneath.
To keep bridge in repair.
Sec. 3. The county commissioners of Sangamon county, shall keep said bridge in good repair, so as at all times to afford a safe conveyance for all persons, and their property, over the same.
Expenses to be paid by Sangamon county.
Sec. 4. The expenses of building said bridge, shall be defrayed out of the county treasury of Sangamon county; and should there not be funds in the said treasury to defray the expenses aforesaid, then, and in that event, the county commissioners’ court, of said Sangamon county, are hereby authorised and required to levy a tax on the taxable property of said county, sufficient to defray said expenses, and also
<Page 2>such other expenses as may be, from time to time incurred, in keeping said bridge in repair. And the said commissioners may, from time to time, build and erect such other bridges, and in the same way, as they may think necessary and expedient, as is herein above provided for. This act to be in force from and after its passage.
Approved, Jan. 14, 1836.3
1Archer G. Herndon introduced SB 50 in the Senate on December 24, 1835. The Senate passed the bill on January 4, 1836. On January 6, the House of Representatives referred the bill to a select committee, which referred the bill back without amendment on January 7. On January 11, the House considered the bill in the Committee of the Whole, and Abraham Lincoln proposed sundry amendments, which were approved. The House then passed the bill as amended. On January 11, the Senate declined to concur in the amendments of the House. On January 13, the House, on motion of Abraham Lincoln, receded from their amendments to the bill. On January 14, the Council of Revision approved the bill and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1835. 9th G.A., 2nd sess., 226, 245-46, 252, 274, 286, 305, 318, 334; Illinois Senate Journal. 1835. 9th G.A., 2nd sess., 105-106, 165, 212, 232, 238, 248.
2The Sangamon County Commissioner’s Court selected a committee to determine the best location for a bridge to cross the Sangamon River, and on March 13, 1835, that committee chose Stephenson’s Ferry, located seven miles north of Springfield, Illinois.
Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 14 March 1835, 3:5.
3The commissioner’s court appropriated $12,000 for the construction of the bridge and accepted William Wernwag’s bid of $10,350. Construction was well underway by January 1839, but after Wernwag failed to pay his sub-contractors, lawsuits and his death stalled construction. The covered, single-track bridge was not completed until March 1844.
Order, 12 March 1836, Sangamon County Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Record Book D, 206; Order, 8 June 1836, Sangamon County Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Record Book D, 227; Order, 8 July 1836, Sangamon County Commissioners’ Court Minutes, Record Book D, 235-36; Proposal to Build a Bridge over the Sangamon River, 9 November 1836, Sangamon County Commissioners’ Proceedings Files, December Term 1836, all in Sangamon County Commissioners’ Court, Illinois Regional Archives Depository, University of Illinois, Springfield; Chapter 4: Hoffman v. Wernwag, Lockwood v. Wernwag, Marsh v. Wernwag in Daniel W. Stowell et al., eds., The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases, 4 vols. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008), 49-59; An Act for the Relief of the Creditors of the Late William Wernwag.
Printed Document, 2 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at their Second Session (Vandalia, IL: J. Y. Sawyer, 1836), 189-90, GA Session: 9-2,