In force March 3, 1837.
AN ACT for the formation of the county of Cass.1
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That all that tract of country within the following boundaries to wit: Beginning at a point in the centre of the main channel of the Illinois river, where a line running through the centre of townships seventeen north intersects the same, in range thirteen west of the third principal meridian, thence east with said line to the east side of the county of Morgan, from thence north to the centre of the main channel of the Sangamon river, thence down said river to the centre of the main channel of the Illinois river, thence down said river to the place of beginning, shall constitute a new county to be called the county of Cass.2
Shall vote for
Notice of election.
Open books at each precinct.
Returns how made.
Clerks shall transmit to Secretary of State
Sec. 2. The county aforesaid is created upon the following conditions, the people of the county of Morgan as the same is now organized, shall meet at the several places of holding elections for Representatives and Senators in said county, on the third Monday of April next, and proceed to vote in the same manner of voting for Representatives and Senators to the general assembly, whether said county shall be created or not.3 The judges of elections in said county shall give twenty days notice of the time and place of holding said elections, by posting notices thereof at six public places in the county, and on said day shall open a poll book at each election precinct in which they shall rule two columns, in one of which they shall set down the votes given for the creation of said county, and in the other column the votes given against the same, and said judges shall conduct said election, and make returns to the clerk of the county commissioners court of Morgan, in the same manner as is now provided by law in the case of elections for Senators and Representatives to the general assembly, and said returns shall be opened and counted in the same manner as in such elections, and if a majority of all the votes given at said election shall be in favour of the creation of said county, a certificate thereof shall be made by the clerk of said county commissioners court under the seal of said court, and transmitted by him to the office of the Secretary of State of the State of Illinois, to be filed in his office as evidence of the existence of said county, and said clerk shall make a like certificate and file the same in his office, which shall be entered of record at the next succeeding term of the said county commissioners court and shall be sufficient to prove the facts therein stated after which said county shall be one of the counties of the State of Illinois. The clerk of the commissioners court of Morgan county shall cause a notice of said election to be
<Page 2>published in all the newspapers published in the county of Morgan.
Time of meeting.
Permanent seat of justice.
Sec. 3. If said county shall be created as aforesaid, the legal voters of said county shall meet on the first Monday of May next, at the several places of holding elections in said new county, and vote for the place where the county seat of said county shall be located, and the place receiving the greatest number of votes shall be the permanent seat of justice of said county, and on the first Monday of August next said county shall proceed to elect all county officers for said county, to be commissioned and qualified as in other cases.4
Owners of land shall donate.
Buildings to be erected.
Corporation shall pay into county treasury
Sec. 4. The owner or owners of the land where said county seat shall be located, shall donate and convey to said county of Cass, at least fifteen acres of land at the place where said seat shall be located, which may be disposed of in the manner the county commissioners court of said county shall deem proper, the proceeds whereof shall be applied to the erection of the court house and jail, and clerks offices of said county, but if the county seat aforesaid shall be located at Beardstown in said county, the corporation of said town shall, within one year from the said location, pay into the county treasury of said county, not less than ten thousand dollars to be applied in the erection of said public buildings.
How vote for Senator &c.[etc.]
Attached to first judicial circuit.
Shall notify Judge.
Shall notify Judge.
Sec. 5. Said county shall vote with the county of Morgan for Senators and Representatives until the next apportionment, and said county shall make a part of the first judicial circuit, and so soon as said county shall be organized, the clerk of the county commissioners court of said county shall notify the judge of the said circuit, and it shall be his duty to appoint a clerk and hold a court in said county at such times as said Judge shall appoint. The seat of justice of said county shall be located at Beardstown, until the public buildings shall be erected. But if the county seat shall be located at Beardstown, and said corporation of Beardstown shall not pay to the treasurer of said county, said ten thousand dollars for the purpose of erecting said public buildings within one year after the location of said county seat, then the county commissioners court of said county shall locate the county seat at some other point near the centre of said county, when the quantity of land mentioned in the fourth section of this act shall be donated as therein provided.
Sec. 6. The school funds belonging to the several townships in said county, and all notes and mortgages pertaining to the same, shall be paid and delivered over to the school commissioners of said county of Cass, by the school commissioners of the county of Morgan, so soon as the
<Page 3>said county shall be organized, and the commissioners of school lands shall be appointed and qualified according to law, together with all interest arising out of said money, that has not been heretofore expended for schools within that part of Morgan county now proposed to be set off into the county of Cass. This act shall take effect according to the conditions thereof, from and after its passage.
Entitled to one representative.
Sec. 7. In case said county of Cass shall be created under the provisions of this act, then until the next apportionment of Senators and Representatives to the general assembly, the said county shall be entitled to one Representative to the general assembly, and shall at the next election vote with the county of Morgan for one Senator, also at every succeeding election for said Senator, and the county of Morgan shall be entitled to five representatives and two Senators.
Approved, March 3d, 1837.
1On February 13, 1837, Newton Cloud introduced HB 249, originally titled “A Bill to Provide for Contingencies,” in the House of Representatives. On February 24, following several unsuccessful attempts by select committees to add amendments, the House passed the bill, and referred it to the Senate. At the same time, on the suggestion of Joseph Morton, the House changed the title of the bill to “An act for the formation of the county of Cass.” On March 1, following the addition of an amendment by a select committee, the Senate passed the bill. On March 3, the Council of Revision approved the bill, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1836. 10th G. A., 1st sess., 574, 648-49, 670-71, 707, 775, 816, 829; Illinois Senate Journal. 1836. 10th G.A., 1st sess., 525-526, 540-541, 564-565, 583, 604.
2Between statehood in 1818 and 1867, the Illinois General Assembly authorized the creation of 104 Illinois counties. During Lincoln’s four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives, the General Assembly authorized 38 counties. The General Assembly allowed voters in the affected county or counties to accept or reject the creation of the new county in only twelve of those cases, including this one. In four instances, a majority of voters rejected the creation of the new county. The Illinois Constitution of 1848 made such referenda mandatory in the creation of new counties.
Michael D. Sublett, Paper Counties: The Illinois Experience, 1825-1867 (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), 12-14, 22; Ill. Const. (1848), art. VII.
3Voters in Morgan County approved the creation of Cass County “by a small majority.” Of the approximately one thousand votes cast, those opposed to the formation of the county were in the majority by 48 votes. However, the judges of election rejected the election returns from the Lucas precinct because they were sent by mail instead of delivered by an election official and those of the Meredosia precinct because a citizen who was neither an election judge nor clerk delivered them. No one opened a polling place in Naples precinct. Without these votes, the election resulted in a small majority in favor of the creation of Cass County. The Illinois General Assembly declared Cass County to be a county and Beardstown to be its seat through An Act in relation to the County of Cass.
Sangamo Journal, 6 May 1837, 2:2; Illinois Patriot (Jacksonville), 20 April 1837, 2:2; J. N. Gridley, “The County Seat Battles of Cass County, Illinois,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 7 (October 1914), 169.
4For the 38 counties authorized by the General Assembly during Lincoln’s four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives, the General Assembly appointed commissioners to designate the county seat in 23 instances, allowed the voters of the new county to select the county seat in 11 instances, and designated the county seat directly in the remaining 4 instances.
Sublett, Paper Counties, 14-18.
Printed Document, 3 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Tenth General Assembly (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1837), 101-03, GA Session: 10-1