In force March 2, 1837.
AN ACT to organize Henry county.1
Shall meet at.
If on government lands.
Must have a jail.
Must have a jail.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That the county of Henry shall be organized in the following manner to wit:2 For the purpose of fixing the permanent seat of justice of said county, the following persons are appointed commissioners viz: Isaac Murphy of Warren county, Francis Voris of Peoria county, and James Rawalt of Fulton county, who or a majority of whom, being duly sworn before some justice of the peace of this State, faithfully to take into view the convenience of the people, the situation of the settlement, with an eye to the future population and eligibility of the place, shall meet at the house of Doctor Thomas Baker in said county, on the third Monday of June next, or as soon thereafter as may be, and proceed to examine and determine on a place for the permanent seat of justice of said county, and designate the same,3 Provided, That the said county seat shall be located on lands belonging to the United States, if a site for said county seat on such lands can be found equally as eligible as by lands owned by individuals, but if the said location be made upon lands owned by individuals, the owner or owners thereof shall make a deed in fee simple to at least twenty acres of said land to the said county, and the proceeds of such quarter section, if the said county seat shall be located on government lands or of the proceeds of such lands deeded as aforesaid, if it be located on the property of individual or individuals, shall be appropriated to the erection of a sufficient court house and jail.
Where election shall be held.
For sheriff and other officers.
Voters may elect judges of.
Sec. 2. An election shall be held at the house of George Brandenburg in said county, on the third Monday in June next, for one sheriff, one coroner, one recorder, one county surveyor, and three county commissioners, who shall hold their offices until the next general election, and until their successors are qualified, which said election shall be conducted in all respects agreeably to the laws of election,4 Provided, That the qualified voters present may elect from their own number, three qualified voters to act as judges
<Page 2>of said election, who shall appoint two qualified voters to act as clerks.
Sec. 3. Until the public buildings shall be erected for the purpose, the courts shall be held at the house of said George Brandenburg, or at such other place as the county commissioners may direct.5
Notice of election how made.
Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the county commissioners court of Knox county, to give at least ten days notice of the first election of county officers in said Henry county, and shall cause the same to be posted up at three of the most public places in said county.
Compensation of commissioners.
Sec. 5. The commissioners appointed to locate said county seat, shall receive the sum of three dollars for each day by them necessarily spent in discharging the duties imposed on them by this act, to be allowed by the county commissioners court of said county, and to be paid out of the county treasury.
Persons elected may administer oaths.
Meeting of court.
Shall lay off into districts.
Shall lay off into districts.
Sec. 6. After the election of county officers as herein provided, the persons elected county commissioners are hereby authorized to administer the oaths of office to each other, and they are severally authorized to administer the oaths of office to all the county officers, and said commissioners shall, within ten days after the election, meet together as a court, appoint a clerk, and lay off their county into justices districts, and order elections for justices of the peace and constables, at a time to be fixed by them,6 and the persons so elected shall have and exercise the same jurisdiction, hold their respective offices by the same tenure, and be under the same regulations in all respects, as other justices of the peace and constables of this State.
Approved 2d March, 1837.
1On January 10, 1837, Peter Butler introduced SB 64 in the Senate. On January 18, following the addition of amendments by two separate select committees, the Senate passed the bill and referred it to the House of Representatives. On January 26, the House sent the bill to a select committee, which reported it back with further amendments on January 30. On February 6, the House passed the bill and referred it back to the Senate, which concurred with the House amendments on February 10. On February 17, the Council of Revision vetoed the bill and returned it to the Senate with its objections. On February 20, the Senate amended the bill and sought the House’s approval. The House approved the amended bill on February 25. On March 4, the Council of Revision approved the bill, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1836. 10th G. A., 1st sess., 295, 301, 395, 425, 488, 550, 600, 653-54, 723, 803; Illinois Senate Journal. 1836. 10th G. A., 1st sess., 182, 200, 217, 224, 241, 360, 388, 439, 459-60, 462-463, 537, 591, 601-2.
2The General Assembly created Henry County in 1825 out of Fulton County, but it remained attached to Knox County for administrative and judicial purposes. Its size and borders changed several times over the next decade, until the creation of Whiteside County in 1836 gave it its final borders.
“An Act Forming New Counties out of the Counties of Pike and Fulton, and the Attached Parts Thereof,” 13 January 1825, Laws Passed by the Fourth General Assembly of the State of Illinois (1825), 92-96; “An Act forming new Counties out of the Counties of Pike and Fulton, and the attached parts thereof,” 13 January 1825, Laws Passed by the Fourth General Assembly of the State of Illinois at their First Session (1825), 92-96; An Act to Establish Certain Counties.
3For 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.
Michael D. Sublett, Paper Counties: The Illinois Experience, 1825-1867 (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), 14-18.
4At the election on June 19, 1839, at Brandenburg’s Tavern, 58 voters cast ballots. They elected Ithamar Pillsbury, Philip K. Hanna, and Joshua Browning as county commissioners, Joshua Harper as recorder, Arba M. Seymour as surveyor, Robert McCullough as sheriff, and R. R. Stewart as coroner.
Henry L. Kiner, History of Henry County, Illinois, 2 vols. (Chicago: Pioneer Publishing Company, 1910), 1:17-18.
5The county paid George Brandenburg $12 for furnishing a courtroom for one year.
Kiner, History of Henry County, 1:27.
6The Council of Revision originally vetoed the bill because this section conflicted with two provisions of the Illinois constitution. Allowing the clerk of the county commissioners’ court to issue certificates of election to justices of the peace and constables conflicted with Article IV, § 8 of the constitution, which gave the governor the responsibility to issue commissions to justices of the peace. It also conflicted with Article II, § 26, which required all officers to take a prescribed oath of office. The Senate removed the remainder of this section and inserted the following language on February 20, 1837, to address the Council’s objections.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1836. 10th G. A., 1st sess., 460-63; Ill. Const. (1818), art. II, § 26, art. IV, § 8; Niels H. Debel, The Veto Power of the Governor in Illinois, vol. 6, nos. 1-2 of University of Illinois Studies in the Social Sciences (Urbana: University of Illinois, 1917), 39.
Printed Document, 2 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Tenth General Assembly (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1837), 90-91, GA Session: 10-1