In force, Mar.[March] 2, 1839.
AN ACT to establish the county of Hardin.1
Boundary of Hardin county.
Vote for county.
Vote for county.
Duty of officers.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That all that part of the now county of Pope which lies north of the township line dividing township twelve and thirteen, and east of the Grand Prairie creek, shall be created into a new county, to be called the county of Hardin:2 Provided, That a majority of the legal voters of the present county of Pope shall first vote for such new county at the election to be held in said county, on the first Monday of August next; and to afford an oppor-
<Page 2>tunity for such expression of opinion, it shall be the duty of the proper officers of the now county of Pope, in preparing poll-books for said August election, to rule two columns, one for and the other against such division, in which the votes shall be recorded as given for or against, as the case may be; and if it shall appear, from the returns of said election, that a majority of the qualified voters of said county of Pope as now organized shall be in favor of the establishment of the new county of Hardin, as above defined, the fact shall be so certified by the clerk of the county commissioners’ court, under the seal of his office, to the Secretary of State at the seat of Government;3 and the said county of Hardin shall therefore be considered and taken to be permanently and legally established with the aforesaid boundaries.4
Vote for county seat of Hardin.
Sec. 2. The legal voters of the counties of Hardin and Pope shall meet at their respective places of holding elections on the third Monday of August next, and vote for a point or points whereat to locate the seat of justice of each county, respectively; and the place within each county receiving the highest number of votes shall be and forever remain the permanent seat of justice within each county.5
Election of officers of Hardin county.
Sec. 3. The legal voters of the county of Hardin shall also, at the same time and place of holding such elections, proceed to elect all county officers, excepting only justices of the peace and constables and the two county commissioners at present residing within the limits of said new county, who shall continue to act as commissioners of the new county of Hardin in the same manner, and for the same time, as if no division of Pope county had taken place. The legal voters of Pope county shall also at the same time proceed to elect county commissioners, who shall continue in office until their successors are elected and qualified.
Sec. 4. The county commissioners of the said county of Hardin and Pope shall, within ten days after their said election, meet within their respective counties; those within the county of Hardin, at the house of Thomas Cowsut; and those of the county of Pope, at the town of Golconda, and lay off their respective counties into justices’ districts, and do and perform such other duties as is required by law.
Sale of the court house at Golconda.
Sec. 5. It shall be the duty of the county commissioners of the county of Pope, within twelve months from the passage of this act, to proceed to sell, at public auction, the court house in the town of Galconda, (the clerk giving at least four weeks, previous notice) the purchaser giving bond, with approved security, for the payment of the purchase money to the county commissioners of Pope county within a period of not more than two years; and which money when collected shall be paid to the persons to whom the present county of Pope is indebted; and if the sum of money obtained for said court house shall not be sufficient to pay the whole debt which is now due from the county to individuals,
<Page 3>the counties of Hardin and Pope shall each pay an equal proportion of the sum remaining due, according to the amount of taxable property in each county.6
Proportion of $200,000.
Sec. 6. The county of Hardin shall be entitled to its distributive share of the funds received by the county of Pope according to the provisions of the internal improvement law of this State7, and it is hereby made the duty of the county commissioners’ court of the said county of Pope to pay over to the county commissioners of the county of Hardin, within twelve months after the passage of this act, such distributive share as the said new county may be entitled to receive according to the provisions of this section.
Courts, where held.
Sec. 7. The places for holding the circuit and commissioners’ court within each county shall be determined by the county commissioners respectively; and public buildings shall be erected in each county, as soon as the respective county courts shall deem it expedient. The county of Hardin shall continue to form a part of the judicial circuitwith the county of Pope, and shall vote with the county of Pope for a member of the General Assembly, until otherwise provided by law.
Approved, March 2, 1839.
1In response to a petition referred to the Committee of Counties, John Moore introduced HB 174 to the House of Representatives on January 22, 1839. The House passed the bill on January 24. The Senate referred it to a select committee on February 5. The committee reported back on February 15 and recommended several amendments, in which the Senate concurred. The Senate passed the bill on February 19. The House passed the amended bill on February 26. The Council of Revision vetoed the bill on February 28, and returned it to the House with its objections. The House passed an amendment later that day by removing “and public square” from section 5 and passed the bill again. The Senate passed the amended bill the same day as well. The Council of Revision approved the bill on March 2, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 256, 272, 274, 454, 516, 529, 551, 556, 562, 574, 596; Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 221-22, 282-83, 336, 353, 420, 436-37, 457, 460, 479.
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.
The General Assembly named the county in honor of John J. Hardin (1753-1792), Revolutionary War officer and frontiersman, and grandfather of John J. Hardin (1810-1847). In January 1840, the General Assembly straightened the western border of Hardin County through An Act to Amend “An Act to Establish the County of Hardin,” Approved March 2, 1839.
3Curiously, the record of the August 1839 vote sent to the Secretary of State was 343 votes for the division of Pope County and 395 votes against the division.
Secretary of State, "Election Returns, Petitions, and Papers," Record Series 103.032, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL.
4The Senate passed an amendment on February 15, 1839, replacing the text of the 1st section.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 336.
5The Senate passed an amendment on February 15, 1839, replacing “on the first Monday of April” with “on the third Monday of August.”
Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 336.
For 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.
6The Senate passed an amendment on February 15, 1839, adding “according to the amount of taxable property in each county” to the 5th section. The House of Representatives passed an amendment on February 28 removing two instances of the phrase “and public square” to address the objections of the Council of Revision.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 336; Illinois House Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 556.
7Section eighteen, sub-section fifteen, of the internal improvement act appropriated $200,000 to counties through which no railroad or canal was provided at the expense of the State. This money was to be distributed proportionally based on the most recent census. The money was to be used to improve roads, build bridges, and construct other necessary public works. By December 1838, the fund commissioners had distributed $145,510 to sixteen counties. There appears to be some discrepancy on the amount distributed. Krenkel and the Sangamo Journal cite the total as $144,700, but a tabulation of the figures printed in the Sangamo Journal results in $145,510. Pope County had received $9387.50.
John H. Krenkel, Illinois Internal Improvements 1818-1848 (Cedar Rapids, IA: Torch, 1958), 83-84; Sangamo Journal 12 January 1839, 2:1.
Printed Document, 3 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Eleventh General Assembly (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1839), 234-36, GA Session: 11-1,