In force, Jan[January] 19, 1839.
AN ACT to establish the county of Marshall.1
Boundaries of a new co.[county] to be called Marshall.
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That all that tract of country lying within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the northeast corner of township number thirty north, of range one, west of the third principal meridian; running thence south on the third meridian line to the southeast corner of township twenty-nine north, of range one west; thence, west on the line dividing township twenty-eight and twenty-nine north, the southern boundary line of Putnam county, to the Illinois river; thence, continuing with the southern boundary of Putnam county across the Illinois river westward, on the line dividing townships eleven and twelve north, to the southwest corner of township twelve north, of range eight, east of the fourth principal meridian; thence, north, on the range line between ranges seven and eight, to the northwest corner of township thirteen north, or range eight, east of the fourth principal meridian; thence east, with the line dividing townships thirteen and fourteen north, to the Illinois river; thence down the river to the northwest corner of township number thirty north, of range two, west of the third principal meridian; and thence, on the line dividing townships thirty and thirty-one north, to the place of beginning; shall be erected into a county, to be called the county of Marshall.2
Commissioners to locate county seat.
Time and place of meeting.
To be sworn.
Should town be selected, owners thereof shall donate certain lots; or, in lieu of lots, $5,000.
If county seat is located on land not laid off in lots, 20 acres to be reserved for use of said county
Sec. 2. That William Ogle of Putnam county, D. G. Sailsbury of Bureau county, and Campbell Wakefield of McLean county, are hereby appointed commissioners to locate the seat of justice for the said new county.3 The said commissioners, or a majority of them, shall meet at the town of Lacon, on the first Monday of April next,4 or as soon thereafter as may be; and being first duly sworn, before some justice of the peace, faithfully to take into consideration the convenience of the people, the situation of the settlements, with an eye to future population and eligibility of the place, shall proceed to locate the county seat of said county.5 If said commissioners shall select any town already laid off, they shall require the proprietors or owners of said town to donate to said new county of Marshall, for the purpose of erecting public buildings, a quantity of lots of an average value with the remaining ones, which together shall amount to twenty acres of land, or shall donate and give, in lieu thereof, the sum of five thousand dollars, to be paid, by three equal instalments to the county within eighteen months from the time the county seat shall be located; and if said commissioners should locate said county seat on land not having been laid off into town lots, they shall secure the title to a quantity of land, not less than twenty acres, to and for the use of said new county, and on which the public buildings shall be erected.
Election for county officers
Returns of election to be made by justices.
Sec. 3. That the legal voters of said county of Marshall shall meet at the respective places of holding elections, the last Monday in February next, and proceed to elect county officers; and returns of said elections shall be made by the judges and clerks to the justices of peace within the said county.6 Said justices shall meet at the town of Lacon within seven days after the said election, and proceed to open the returns, and in all things perform the duties required by law of the clerks of commissioners’ courts, and justices of the peace in like cases.
County Commissioners, when & where to meet.
Officers to be commissioned
Sec. 4. That the county commissioners elected under this act shall meet at the town of Lacon within ten days after their election, and, being first duly qualified, shall proceed to appoint a clerk, and lay off the county into justices’ districts; and all officers elected under the provisions of this act shall be commissioned and qualified as required by law; shall hold their offices until the next general election, and until their successors are qualified.
Courts of co., when and where held.
Court twice each year.
Time set by judge.
Sec. 5. The courts of said county shall be held at such place as the county commissioners shall designate, until a suitable preparation can be made at the county seat. Said county shall constitute a part of the sixth judicial circuit; 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.
County shall vote with district in all elections except county.
Sec. 6. The qualified voters of the county of Marshall in all elections, except county elections, shall vote with the district to which they belong until otherwise provided by law, but shall make election returns to the Secretary of State in the same manner that is required by law from other counties in this State.
Pay of com’s for locating county seat.
Sec. 7. The commissioners appointed by this act to locate the county seat shall each be paid the sum of three dollars per day, out of the county treasury of said county, for each day they may be employed in making the said location.
For Senator Peoria.
Sec. 8. It shall be the duty of the clerks of the commissioners’ courts of the said county of Marshall and the county of Bureau to make returns of election for representatives to the clerk of the county of Putnam; and the returns for Senator to the clerk of the county of Peoria; and shall proceed to compare said election returns as is now required by law in other senatorial and representative districts.
Sec. 9. That the county of Bureau and Henry shall extend north to the line dividing townships eighteen and nineteen north. This act to be in force from and after its passage.
Notice time and place of holding elections.
Sec. 10. The justices of peace, or any one of them, residing within the county of Marshall, are hereby authorized and required to give at least fifteen days’ notice of the time and place of holding the election required to be held under the provisions of this act, by posting up written or
<Page 3>printed notices of said election, at the place of holding elections in the different election precincts in said county.
If not paid, fund commissioners pay to co. Marshall.
Sec. 11. The county of Marshall shall be entitled to one-third part of the money which has been or may be paid to the county of Putnam under the provisions of the act, entitled “An act to establish and maintain a general system of Internal Improvements,” approved February 27, 1837, appropriating two hundred thousand dollars to those counties through which no railroad or canal was authorized to be constructed by said act; and if the money has not been paid to the county of Putnam, the Fund Commissioners shall pay the said one-third to the county of Marshall; but, if payment has been made to said county of Putnam, the county commissioners of Putnam county shall make the aforesaid payment. 7
Approved, January 19, 1839.
1In response to a petition calling for the establishment of Marshall County, John Moore introduced HB 13 to the House of Representatives on December 12, 1838. The House passed the bill on January 1, 1839. On January 11, the Senate referred the bill to a select committee. The committee reported back the next day with amendments, which the Senate approved and passed the amended bill. On January 14, the House passed the amended bill. The Council of Revision approved the bill on January 19, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 59, 114, 126, 138, 152, 153, 207, 210, 217, 220, 246; Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 125, 127, 158, 160-161, 169, 175.
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.
4The Senate added this phrase in an amendment passed on January 12, 1839.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 160.
5The commissioners met and selected Lacon as the county seat of Marshall County.
John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne, Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois (Chicago: Pioneer Publishing Company, 1907), 17-18.
6The Senate substituted the word “last” for “first” and filled in the word “February” on January 12, 1839.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 160.
Printed Document, 3 page(s),
Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Eleventh General Assembly (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1839), 43-45, GA Session: 11-1,