In force 21st July, 1837.
AN ACT to incorporate the town of Ottawa, and for other purposes.
Residents incorporated body politic and corporate.
Power to lease lands.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That the resident inhabitants of the town of Ottawa, in Lasalle county, are hereby constituted a body politic and corporate, to be known by the name of the President and Trustees of the Town of Ottawa; and by that name shall be known in law, and have perpetual succession, may sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, defend and be defended in courts of law and equity, and in all actions and matters whatsoever, may grant, purchase, receive, and hold real and personal property within the limits of said town, and no other, (burial ground excepted;) may lease, sell, and convey the same for the benefit of said town. They shall have power to lease any lands that now are or which may hereafter be reserved and appropriated to the use of said town, and to do all other lawful acts as natural persons; may have a common seal, and break and alter the same at pleasure.
Boundaries of the town of Ottawa.
Sec. 2. That all that district of country contained in section eleven, the south half of section two, the north half of section fourteen, the west half of section twelve, the northwest quarter of section thirteen, the southwest quarter of section one, the southeast quarter of section ten, and the west half of the northeast quarter of section twelve, in township thirty-three north, of range three east, of the third principal meridian, together with all additions that are now laid out beyond the above de-
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scribed limits, and recorded as additions to said town, is hereby declared to be within the limits or boundaries of the town of Ottawa.
Divided into three wards.
First ward.
Second ward.
Third ward.
Sec. 3. That this incorporation shall be divided into three wards, to wit: all that part which lies north of the Illinois river, and west of Fox river, shall constitute the first ward; all that part which lies south of the Illinois river, shall constitute the second ward; and all that part which lies north of the Illinois river and east of Fox river, shall constitute the third ward; and the taxes collected for public improvements, within the said respective wards, shall be expended under the direction of the board of trustees for improvements within their respective wards in which they are raised.
Powers vested in seven trustees.
Sec. 4. The corporate powers and duties of said town shall be vested in seven trustees, who shall form a board for the transaction of business; three of whom shall reside in the first ward, three in the second ward, and one in the third ward, until said third ward shall contain twenty-five voters, from and after which time there shall be elected from the residents of said ward three trustees; and the corporate powers and duties of said town shall then and thereafter be vested in nine trustees instead of seven, but all elections for trustees in said town shall be by general ticket.
Trustees when elected.
Sec. 5. The trustees shall be elected annually, on the first Monday in September, by the persons residing in said town qualified to vote as hereinafter mentioned, to serve for one year, and until their successors are elected and qualified; they shall be citizens of the United States, twenty-one years of age, shall possess a freehold estate within the limits of said corporation, and shall have resided in said town one year next preceding the election.
Power to appoint all officers
Sec. 6. That the board of trustees shall appoint their president from their own body, shall appoint all other officers of their board, and shall be the judges of the qualifications, elections, and returns of their own members; a majority shall constitute a board to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as the board may provide; they may determine the rules of proceeding, punish their members for disorderly conduct, and by a vote of two-thirds of the whole number elected, expel a member; and make such other rules and regulations for their own government as to them may seem proper and expedient.
Who shall not vote.
Sec. 7. No person shall vote for trustees of said town unless he be qualified to vote for representatives to the General Assembly, and shall moreover (after the first general election) have paid a corporation tax, or shall have
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bona fide owned a freehold within the corporate limits of said town for at least three months next preceding the election at which he offers his vote.
Power to collect taxes.
Night watches.
Storage of gun powder.
To fix compensation of officers
Sec. 8. That the board of trustees shall have power to levy and collect taxes upon all real estate and personal property within the town, not exceeding one per centum upon the assessed value thereof; to make regulations to secure the general health of the inhabitants; to prevent and remove nuisances; to establish night watches; to erect lamps in the streets and light the same; to regulate and license ferries, and erect and keep in repair bridges, and regulate the tolls thereof within the limits of said town; to improve and preserve the navigation of the Illinois and Fox rivers below and within the limits of the corporation; to restrain and prohibit shooting, horse-racing, houses of ill fame, gaming and other disorderly houses; to provide for licensing, taxing, and regulating or prohibiting billiard tables, theatrical and other shows, or other amusements; to regulate and license merchants, inn keepers, groceries, auctions and pedlers; to establish and regulate markets, and erect market houses; to borrow money; to regulate, grade, pave, improve, open, extend, widen, and keep in repair streets, side walks, avenues, lanes, alleys, drains, and sewers, to keep the same clean and free from incumbrances; to provide for the preservation and extinguishment of fires, by establishing and regulating a fire department; to dig wells and erect pumps on the streets for the convenience of the inhabitants, or construct aqueducts; to supply the town with water; to regulate the storage of gunpowder, and all other combustible materials; to establish and enforce quarantine law; to regulate the police of the town; to regulate the election of the town officers, and to fix their compensation; and from time to time to pass such ordinances to carry into effect the ordinances of this act, and the powers hereby granted, as the good of the citizens may require; and to impose fines and forfeitures for the breach of any ordinance, and to provide for the collection of the same.
Special tax how collected.
Sec. 9. That upon the application of the resident owners of two-thirds of the real estate belonging to the residents on any street or parts of a street, it shall be lawful for the board of trustees to levy and collect a special tax on all the lots on said street, or parts of a street, according to their respective fronts, for the purpose of grading or paving the side walks on said street or parts of a street.
Persons injured how compensated.
Sec. 10. That the board of trustees shall make adequate compensation to any person or persons who may be injured by opening, widening, extending or improving, any street, lane, alley, avenue, or side walk, within the limits of the town, under the provisions of this act; to ascertain
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which the board shall cause to be summoned twelve good and lawful men, freeholders and inhabitants of said town, not directly interested, who, after being duly sworn for that purpose, shall enquire into and take into consideration as well the benefits as the injury which may accrue to the party, and estimate and assess the damages which would be sustained by reason of the opening, extension, widening, grading or improving of any street, avenue, lane, alley or sidewalk; and shall, moreover, estimate the amount which other persons will be benefitted thereby, and shall contribute towards compensating the persons injured; all of which they shall return to the board of trustees, under their hands and seals, and the person or persons who shall be benefitted and so assessed shall pay the same in such manner as shall be provided, and the residue, if any, shall be paid out of the town treasury.
Ordinances to be published.
Sec. 11. All ordinances shall be published, and posted in three of the most public places in said town, within ten days after they are passed, and if there be a newspaper in the town shall also be published therein, within said ten days.
Lots sold may be redeemed.
Sec. 12. That when any real estate in said town shall have been sold by the authority of the corporation, for non payment of any tax that may have been levied upon the same, the same shall be subject to redemption by the owner or owners thereof, his, her or their agent or agents, within one year after the same shall have been sold, on paying to the treasurer of the board of trustees of said town, for the use of the purchaser or purchasers, double the amount of taxes for which the same was sold, together with cost for selling the same; and if not redeemed by the owner or owners, then the same shall be subject to redemption by any judgment creditor, his, her or their agent, within fifteen months after the same shall have been sold, on paying as above specified; but, should the said lots or part of lots, or real estate, so sold for the non payment of taxes as aforesaid, not be redeemed within the time specified, then, and in that event, it shall be the duty of the president of the board of trustees of said town, to execute a deed with special warranty, signed by the president and countersigned by the clerk thereof.
Duty of trustees
Sec. 13. It shall be the duty of the board of trustees to cause to be paid to the owner or owners of lots or real estate all moneys which may have been paid to the treasurer by them, over and above the amount of the taxes for which they were sold, and the cost of selling the same.
Officers of board.
Sec. 14. The officers of said board of trustees, (in addition to the president,) shall consist of one clerk, one treasurer, one assessor and collector of taxes, one surveyor,
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two street commissioners, two measurers of wood and weighers of grain, and such other officers as the trustees may deem necessary for the good of said town.
Fire companies
Sec. 15. That the president and trustees of said town shall, whenever they may deem it necessary, order the formation of fire engine companies, and fire hook and ladder companies. The fire engine companies to contain each, from fifteen to thirty able bodied men of between the ages of eighteen and fifty years, and no more. The fire hook and ladder companies, to contain each from ten to twenty able bodied men and no more; which companies shall be formed by voluntary enlistment, and shall be officered and governed by their own by-laws; every member of said companies shall be exempt from military duty, and from serving as jurors; and whenever a member of said companies shall have served twelve years he shall receive a discharge from the incorporation, signed by the president, and shall forever thereafter be exempted from further jury or military duty, except in case of insurrection or invasion.
Officers to take oath.
Sec. 16. That every officer of said corporation shall, before entering upon the duty of his office, take an oath or affirmation before some judge or justice of the peace, to support the constitution of the United States and of this state, and faithfully to discharge the duties of his office.
Sec. 17. That the foregoing provisions of this act shall take effect so soon as they shall have been accepted by the inhabitants of said town, and not before, in manner following, to wit: an election shall be held at the court house in said town, on the first Monday in September next, to be conducted by any two or more of the then resident justices of said town, or judges of the election, (and it is hereby made the duty of said justices either to serve as judges at said election, or to appoint three competent persons residents of said town to serve in their stead,) at which all persons qualified to vote for representatives to the General Assembly, shall be entitled to vote either for or against this charter, and if a majority of all the votes given be for the charter, then the said judges shall determine the time and place of holding the first general election, which shall not be more than fourteen days, nor less than seven, after the acceptance of the charter, and shall publish notice thereof for at least four days before the day appointed for such election; at which election it shall be the duty of two or more of said justices to serve as judges or to appoint others to serve in their stead, as herein before directed; but if the charter shall not be accepted as aforesaid, then any two of the resident justices of the peace in said town may, from time to time, whenever they shall be petitioned to that effect by a majority of the householders residing in said town and corporation,
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cause an election to be held as aforesaid, until the charter shall be accepted as aforesaid; they shall then proceed as hereinbefore provided; and the trustees who shall be elected at the first general election, shall continue in office till the day hereinbefore designated for the annual election of trustees and until their successors are elected and qualified.
Approved, July 21st, 1837. 2
1William Stadden introduced SB 33, originally titled “A Bill to Establish the County Seat of the County of Dekalb,” in the Senate on July 15, 1837. The Senate referred the bill to a select committee. The select committee reported back the bill on July 18 with an amendment, in which the Senate concurred. The Senate passed the bill as amended, amending the title so as to read “A Bill to Incorporate the Town of Ottawa, and for Other Purposes.” The House of Representatives concurred on July 21. On July 21, the Council of Revision approved the bill and the act became law.
Journal of the House of Representatives of the Tenth General Assembly of the State of Illinois, at a Special Session of the General Assembly, Begun and Held in the Town of Vandalia, July 10, 1837 (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1837), 114, 154, 157; Journal of the Senate of the Tenth General Assembly of the State of Illinois, at a Special Session, Begun and Held in Vandalia, July 10, 1837 (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1837), 57, 85-86, 120, 136, 146.
2On July 18, 1837, the Senate amended the bill, originally titled “A Bill to Establish the County Seat of the County of Dekalb,” by amending the title.
Journal of the House of Representatives of the Tenth General Assembly of the State of Illinois, at a Special Session of the General Assembly, Begun and Held in the Town of Vandalia, July 10, 1837 (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1837), 86.

Printed Document, 6 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at their Special Session (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1837), 96-101, GA Session: 10-S,