In force, Feb.[February] 1, 1839.
Boundary of the county of Brown.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That all that tract of country lying and and being within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the southwest corner of township two south, of range four west, or the fourth principal meridian;
<Page 2>thence east to the Illinois river; thence up said river to the mouth of Crooked creek; thence up said creek to the township line between townships one and two north; thence west to the range line between four and five west of the meridian aforesaid; thence south with said range line to the place of beginning, shall constitute a new county to be called the county of Brown.2
Comm’rs[Commissioners] to locate county seat, appointed.
Time & place of meeting.
To be sworn.
Sec. 2. That John M. Campbell of Schuyler county, John B. Curle of Adams county, and William W. Baily of McDonough county, be, and they are hereby, appointed commissioners to locate the seat of justice for said county: the said commissioners, or a majority of them, shall meet at the town of Mount Sterling, on the first Monday in June next, or within twenty days thereafter; and after being duly sworn before some justice of the peace, faithfully to perform the duties required of them by this act, shall proceed to locate and establish a permanent seat of justice of said county, having due regard to the geographical situation, present and further population, as well as donations which may be offered for the erection of public buildings;3 and if any donations shall be made for the purposes aforesaid, the said commissioners shall do and perform such acts and things as they may deem necessary, to secure the payment thereof to the county commissioners’ court of said county, for the use of said county.4
Privileges of citizens.
Courts held in Mt. Sterling.
If county seat not placed at Mt. Sterling, comm’rs to locate & name.
Sec. 3. That the citizens of said county hereby created are and shall be entitled to all the privileges allowed, in general, to citizens of other counties in this State; and until public buildings shall be erected for that purpose, the courts shall be held at such place, in Mount Sterling, as shall be provided by the county commissioners’ court of said county; and if the permanent seat of justice shall be located at any place other than Mount Sterling, it shall be the duty of the commissioners hereby appointed to locate the same, and to give it a name: but if they shall select Mount Sterling for the seat of justice, then and in that case, Mount Sterling shall be the name of the said seat of justice.
Returns of election to be made to two justices peace
Duty of justices.
Abstract to be sent to office of Sec.[Secretary] State.
Sec. 4. That an election for county officers shall be held in the said county of Brown, at the several places of holding elections, and by the same judges heretofore appointed by the Schuyler county court, on the first Monday in May next; which election shall be conducted in all respects agreeably to the laws regulating elections. It shall be the duty of the said judges to make returns of the poll-books of said election toRobert N. Curry and James W. Singleton, two justices of the peace at Mount Sterling, within seven days from and after said election: and it shall be the duty of the said justices of the peace to open and compare the said polls, and to make out and deliver certificates to the persons elected, and to return an abstract to the Secretary of State, in the same manner as is now required of clerks of the county commissioners’ courts in such cases: Provided, That this act shall
<Page 3>not be so construed as to repeal out of office any justice of the peace, or constable, who may be in office within the limits of said county, at the passage of this act; but they shall continue to hold their offices the same as if this act had not been passed.
Duty of clerk of Brown co.
Poll books compared at Rushille.
Sec. 5. That at the next general election, and until a new apportionment of representation shall be made among the several counties of this state, the county of Schuyler shall elect one Representative, and the county of Brown one Representative to the General Assembly; and in case a vacancy shall happen in the office of Senator from the county of Schuyler, the said county of Schuyler and the county of Brown shall vote together to fill such vacancy, and until a new apportionment of representation shall be made; and in case of an election for a Senator, it shall be the duty of the clerk of the county commissioners’ court of Brown county, within four days after returns of such election shall be made to him, to meet the clerk of Schuyler county at Rushville, and the two, together, shall compare the polls, and deliver a certificate to the person elected, and also return a transcript of the votes given for Senator to the Secretary of State.
Duty of judge to hold two terms.
Sec. 6. That the said county of Brown shall be attached to and form a part of the fifth judicial circuit; and it shall be the duty of the judge of said circuit to hold two terms of the circuit court in said county, annually, at such time as the said judge shall order and appoint, or at such time as may be provided by law.
Bridge across Crooked cr’k[creek].
Sec. 7. That it shall be the duty of the county commissioners’ court of said county to appropriate, set apart, and pay into the county treasury of Schuyler county, one-half of the sum which shall remain due and payable to Alden and Burton from the said county of Schuyler for building a bridge across Crooked creek,5 after the said county of Sehuyler shall have expended the money already appropriated to that object; the said amount so to be paid by the county of Brown to be made and certified by the county commissioners’ court of Schuyler county, so soon as the amount can be ascertained; and it shall be the duty of the county commissioners’ court of Brown county to provide the means to make such payments annually, and at the time the same become due from the county of Schuyler to the said Alden and Burton.
Sheriff of Schuyler, jurisdiction of.
Sec. 8. That the sheriff of Schuyler county shall have power to collect all taxes, fines, and forfeitures heretofore assessed, and to serve all process necessary to the prosecution and disposal of all causes now pending in the Schuyler circuit court, the same as if no change had been in the boundaries of said county, and as if this act had not been passed.
Pay of com’rs to locate co.[county] seat.
Sec. 9. That the commissioners hereby appointed to locate the seat of justice shall be allowed and paid out of the county treasury of said county, the sum of three dollars per day each.6
Sec. 10. That so soon as the school commissioner of Schuyler county shall be notified by the county commissioners’ court of Brown county, that a school commissioner for that county has been appointed, to deliver said commissioner, all moneys and papers belonging to the several townships in the said county of Brown.
Approved, February 1, 1839.
1William A. Richardson presented the petition of citizens of Schuyler County requesting the creation of a new county and a petition opposing it to the Senate on January 16, 1839, and the Senate referred them to the Committee on Petitions. Richardson presented an additional petition opposing the division on January 18. John D. Wood introduced SB 124 on January 23, and the Senate referred it to the Committee on Petitions. The committee reported back the bill that same day, recommending amendments, in which the Senate concurred. The Senate passed the bill on January 24. The House of Representatives referred the bill to the Committee on Counties, of which Abraham Lincoln was a member, on January 25. The committee reported back the bill without amendment on January 29, and the House passed it. The Council of Revision approved the bill on February 1, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 273, 283, 301-2, 316, 324; Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 175, 185, 210, 214, 221, 249, 254-55, 261, 266.
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.
Michael D. Sublett, Paper Counties: The Illinois Experience, 1825-1867 (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), 12-14, 22; Ill. Const. (1848), art. VII.
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.
Sublett, Paper Counties, 14-18.
John M. Campbell and John B. Curl met on June 15, 1839, and selected Mount Sterling as the county seat.
Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois (Philadelphia: W. R. Brink & Co., 1882), 115.
4The Senate passed an amendment modifying the last sentence of this section on January 23.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 214.
5In October 1837, the county commissioners for Schuyler County ordered the construction of three bridges over Crooked Creek, including one at Alden and Burton’s mill at a cost of $4,000.
Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, 87.
Printed Document, 4 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Eleventh General Assembly (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1839), 52-55, GA Session: 11-1,