In force, Mar.[March] 2, 1839.
AN ACT to relocate the seat of justice of the county of De Kalb.1
To vote for or against removal.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That, on the second Monday in May next, an election shall be held in the county of De Kalb at the usual places of holding elections therein, to be conducted in all respects, as near as practicable, as other elections; at which time the legal voters of said county shall vote for or against a removal of the seat of justice of said county of De Kalb; and if it shall appear, from the returns of said election, that a majority of all the votes shall be in
<Page 2>favor of its remaining where it is at present located, then no further proceeding shall be had, but the county seat shall remain where it is.2
If 2d election be necessary.
Sec. 2. If it shall appear that two-thirds of the votes given at said election shall be in favor of removing said seat of justice from Orange, its present location, then, and in that case, a second election shall be holden, as aforesaid, on the first Monday in June next; at which time the legal voters of said county shall vote to establish the said seat of justice either at Brush Point or Cottonville, the points named in the petitions; and the place getting the highest number of votes given at said second election shall forever remain the permanent seat of justice of said county.
Sec. 3. At least twenty days’ previous to either of said elections, donations may be offered, to wit: The friends of Orange shall file, with the treasurer of said county, a good and sufficient bond to the acceptance of the officer, binding themselves to donate to said county the sum of three thousand dollars for the erection of a court house, to be erected on the land now owned by the county; and, in case of a second election, the proprietors of Cottonville and Brush Point shall, respectively, file bonds with the treasurer of said county, binding themselves to make the county a deed, with covenants of a general tenure, for one hundred and sixty acres of land for the erection of a court house, or shall file a bond with the treasurer aforesaid to erect a good and durable court house, and finish the same in size and general structure of the present court house in Kane county; either of which as shall best suit the proprietors of said places.
Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the county commissioners’ court to cause special entries to be made of record of the result of said elections, and file and preserve said returns or poll-books for inspection; and in case of removal, it shall be the duty of said county commissioners to dispose of the real estate at present belonging to said county, and apply the same to the erection of county buildings.
In case of removal.
Sec. 5. In case the seat of justice shall be removed, all the public offices of the county shall be removed to the place selected, as soon as buildings are provided for the same; and the courts thereafter shall also, as soon as county buildings are erected, be holden there.
Courts, where held.
Sec. 6. That the courts of said county shall be holden as heretofore at Cottonville until county buildings are erected, any act to the contrary notwithstanding.
Approved, March 2, 1839.
1Responding to a petition from citizens of De Kalb County, Daniel T. Moore of the Committee on Counties, of which Abraham Lincoln was also a member, introduced HB 378 in the House of Representatives on February 20, 1839. The House passed the bill on February 26. On March 1, the Senate also passed the bill without amendment. That same day, the Council of Revision approved the bill, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 387, 456, 505, 524, 578, 593, 602; Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 437, 479-80.
2According to a county history, the laws passed by the General Assembly were not circulated for several months after the end of the session, so supporters of removing the county seat to Coltonville opened a poll-book with no announcement of the election, recorded a dozen votes, and declared the county seat moved to Coltonville. In contrast, election returns filed with the Secretary of State indicate that the vote was 135 for removal from Orange/Sycamore and 152 against removal. However, the county seat seems to have been moved to Coltonville. Jesse C. Kellogg, the clerk of the county commissioners court, refused to deliver the books of the county. He was arrested, tried before a justice of the peace, but released. The controversy continued, and the General Assembly passed An Act Permanently to Locate the Seat of Justice of the County of De Kalb in 1840.
Henry L. Boies, History of DeKalb County, Illinois (Chicago: O. P. Bassett, 1868), 384, 388; Secretary of State, "Election Returns, Petitions, and Papers," Record Series 103.032, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL.
Printed Document, 2 page(s),
Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Eleventh General Assembly (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1839), 243-44, GA Session: 11-1,