In force, Mar.[March] 2, 1839.
AN ACT for the formation of the county of Stark, and for other purposes.1
Part of Bureau county.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That township fourteen north, range eight and the west half of nine, east of the fourth principal meridian, shall hereafter constitue and be part of the county of Bureau.
Boundary of Stark co.
Election for county.
Examination of poll-books.
Part of Knox.
Sec. 2. That townships twelve and thirteen north, of ranges five, six, and seven east, and township fourteen north, of ranges six and seven, east of the fourth principal meridian, shall constitute a new county, to be called Stark:2 Provided, however, That townships number twelve and thirteen, of range number five east, shall not constitute or compose any part of the county of Stark, except upon the condition that a majority of the legal voters in said township shall consent
<Page 2>thereto; and to enable the said voters to decide the question and give or withhold their consent, an election shall be held at the house of Henry McClanahan, on the third Monday of March, under the superintendence and direction of Jonathan Hodgson, Esq.[Esquire], Silas Richards, Henry McClanahan, and Conrad Emery, who shall act as judges and clerk of said election, and whose duty it shall be to attend at the time and place aforesaid, and hold an election. A poll-book shall be opened, with columns headed in favor of and against being included in the said county of Stark; and the legal voters aforesaid shall be permitted to vote for either proposition. The polls shall be kept open from nine o’clock, A.M., to five o’clock, P.M.; and upon receiving the votes, said judges and clerk shall certify the result upon the poll-book, and within five days thereafter deliver the said book, certified as aforesaid, to the clerk of the county commissioners’ court of Knox county; and said clerk shall, in the presence of two justices of the peace of said county, or two of the county commissioners, open and examine the said poll-book and compare the certificate with the votes given, and thereupon make duplicate certificates of the result of said election, which shall be signed by said clerk and justices or commissioners as aforesaid; and if it shall appear that a majority of said votes are in favor of being included in the county of Stark, the said township shall be included in said county; otherwise, said township shall continue to form and constitute a part of the county of Knox.3 One of the certificates made as aforesaid shall be transmitted to the Secretary of State, to be by him filed with the enrolled bill enacting the county; and one shall be entered of record in the county commissioners’ court of Knox county; but if the majority of said votes shall be against being included in said county, the certificates shall be transmitted and recorded as aforesaid, and the boundaries of the county of Stark shall be as fixed in the foregoing section, excluding the townships aforesaid. If the persons herein appointed to act as judges and clerk of said election, or any one of them, shall fail or refuse to act, the voters, when assembled, shall select others to act in their stead, who shall execute this act as though they were named herein. Notice of said election shall be posted up at three places in the said township, at least five days preceding said election, by Henry McClanahan.
Com’rs[Commissioners] to vacate & locate all roads.
Sec. 3. That the county commissioners’ courts of the counties of Bureau, Putnam, Marshall, and Stark, are hereby authorized and empowered to vacate, locate, and relocate, all roads within their respective counties, and to use and exercise exclusive jurisdiction in the premises.
Sec.4. The county commissioners, when elected, of the county of Marshall, are hereby authorized and empowered, and it is hereby made their duty, to commence suit against the treasurer of Putnam county and his securities, for the sum of three thousand two hundred and ninety dollars, with interest thereon at the rate of twelve per cent. per annum from the
<Page 3>time of loaning the same until paid, it being the one-third part of the sum appropriated by the “Act establishing and maintaining a general system of internal improvement,” to the county of Putnam, apportioned and paid over to said treasurer of Putnam county by the Fund Commissioners, and, by the “Act establishing the county of Marshall,” given to said county of Marshall, unless said treasurer of the county of Putnam shall promptly upon demand pay to the commissioners of the county of Marshall said sum of three thousand two hundred and ninety dollars, with interest as aforesaid, Provided, however, That nothing in this act shall be so construed as to release the present commissioners of the county of Putnam from any liability which they may have incurred by illegally authorizing the funds aforesaid to be used for any other object except that for which they were legitimately appropriated.
Com’rs of Stark to demand proportion of $200,000.
To bring suit.
Sec. 5. The commissioners of the county of Stark, when elected, shall proceed immediately to demand of the county treasurer of Putnam county the one-sixth part of nine thousand eight hundred and seventy dollars, paid him by the Fund Commissioners, together with twelve per cent. per annum interest upon the one-sixth part of the sum aforesaid; and should the treasurer of the county of Putnam fail promptly to pay over the sum aforesaid, then it is hereby made the duty of the county commissioners of the county of Stark, to bring suit against the treasurer of Putnam county and his securities for the sum aforesaid, it being one thousand six hundred and forty-five dollars, together with interest as aforesaid from the time of loaning said money until paid—said sum being hereby appropriated to the county of Stark, to be applied agreeable to the provisions of “An act to establish and maintain a general system of internal improvement:” Provided, however, That nothing in this act shall be so construed as to release the present commissioners of the county of Putnam from any liability which they may have incurred by illegally authorizing the fund aforesaid to be used for any other object except that for which they were legitimately appropriated.
Road across river bottom.
Sec. 6. The county commissioners’ court of the county of Putnam is hereby fully authorized and empowered to construct a road across the river bottom opposite the town of Hennepin, in the county of Bureau, and, together with the county commissioners’ court of the county of Bureau, to exercise such control over said road, when constructed, as may be agreed on by them.
Voters to choose judges of election for co.[county] officers.
Notice of election.
Sec. 7. That the legal voters of the county of Stark shall meet at the house of Elijah McClanahan, sr., in said county, on the first Monday in April next, and proceed to choose their own judges and clerks, who, after being duly sworn, shall proceed to open the polls and hold an election for the purpose of electing county officers. It shall be the duty of Moses Boardman, or, in case of his absence, any justice of the peace within
<Page 4>the bounds of said county, to give at least ten days’ notice of the time and place of holding said election, and, when said election is over, to give certificates of election to the persons elected county commissioners, and make returns to the Secretary of State for county officers.
Duty of commissioners.
Sec. 8. The county commissioners of said county of Stark shall meet at the house Elijah McClanahan, senior, within ten days after their election, and, after being qualified, shall proceed to lay off said county into justices’ districts and road districts, and order elections for all justices of the peace and constables, to levy a tax for all county purposes for the present year, unless the revenue law shall be changed, and to do and perform all the duties required of county commissioners’ courts by law.
Court, when held.
Sec. 9. The courts of said county shall be held at such place as the county commissioners’ court may designate, until a suitable preparation can be made at the county seat; which county seat, when located, shall be called Toulon.4 Said county shall form a part of the same judicial circuit with the counties of Putnam and Marshall; and the circuit court shall be held for said county twice in each year, at such time as the judge of the said circuit may designate.
Senator and Rep.[Representative] district.
Sec. 10. The qualified voters of the county of Stark, in all elections except county elections, shall vote with the Senatorial and Representative district composed of the counties of Peoria, Putnam, Bureau, and Marshall, until otherwise provided by law, but shall make election returns to the Secretary of State in the same manner that is now required by law from other counties in this State.
Duty of county clerk.
Sec. 11. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the county commissioners’ court of Stark county to make the returns of election for Representative to the General Assembly to the clerk of the county of Putnam, and the returns for Senator to the county of Peoria, and shall proceed to compare said election returns as is now required by law in the Senatorial and Representative districts.
Sec. 12. The school commissioner of the county of Putnam shall, upon the application of the school commissioners of the counties of Marshall and Stark, pay over all moneys, books, and papers, relating to schools which may be in his hands belonging, or which should of right belong, to the counties of Marshall and Stark.
Approved, March 2, 1839.
1On February 20, 1839, Representative John Moore of the Committee on Counties, which included Abraham Lincoln among its members, introduced HB 342 in the House of Representatives. on February 23, the House amended and passed the bill. On February 28, the Senate referred the bill to a select committee. On February 28, the Senate amended and passed the bill. On February 28, the House concurred in the Senate amendments. On March 2, the Council on Revision approved the bill and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 456, 473, 494, 563, 582, 597; Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 407, 448, 449-450, 466, 488.
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. 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. The boundaries described here were the same as those proposed two years earlier for Coffee County, with the exception of a township from Henry County.
Michael D. Sublett, Paper Counties: The Illinois Experience, 1825-1867 (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), 12-14, 22, 38; Ill. Const. (1848), art. VII; An Act for the Formation of the County of Coffee.
3Voters in these two townships in Knox County voted forty-four to one in favor of joining Stark County.
Sublett, Paper Counties, 38
4Although this act specified the name of the county seat, it did not specify its location. It took two more acts and two more years for commissioners to establish the site of Toulon.
Printed Document, 4 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Eleventh General Assembly (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1839), 229-32, GA Session: 11-1,