AN ACT to incorporate the city of Springfield.
Boundaries and general powers.
Body politic and corporate.
Name and style.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That the inhabitants of the town of Springfield, in the county of Sangamon, and State of Illinois, be and they are hereby constituted a body politic and corporate, by the name and style of the City of Springfield, and by that name shall have perpetual succession, and may have and use a common seal, which they may change and alter at pleasure.
Sec. 2. All that district of country enclosed with the following boundaries, to wit: Being in Sangamon county and State of Illinois, one mile square; the State House is (being) the centre of (said city of Springfield.)
City to be divided into wards.
Sec. 3. The President and Board of Trustees of the town of Springfield, shall on or before the first day of March next, or as soon thereafter as practicable, divide the said city of Springfield into four wards, as nearly in population as practicable, particularly describing the boundaries of each.2
What lands may be annexed to.
Sec. 4. Whenever any tract of land adjoining the city of Springfield shall or may have been laid off into town lots and duly recorded as required by law, the same shall be annexed to and form a part of the city of Springfield.
Sec. 5. The inhabitants of said city, by the name and style aforesaid, shall have power to sue and be sued, to implead and be impleaded, defend and be defended in all courts of law and equity, and in all actions whatever. To purchase, receive and hold property, real and personal, beyond the city, for burial grounds, as for other public purposes, for the use of the inhabitants of said city. To sell, lease, convey or dis-
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pose of property real and personal for the benefit of the city, and to improve and protect such property, and to do all other things in relation thereto as natural persons.
Of the City Council.
Mayor and Aldermen.
Sec. 1. There shall be a City Council, to consist of a Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
Sec. 2. The Board of Aldermen shall consist of one member from each ward, to be chosen by the qualified voters for two years.
Qualifications of Aldermen.
Sec. 3. No person shall be an Alderman unless at the time of his election he shall have resided six months within the limits of the city, and shall be at the time of his election a bona fide free-holder in said city, and twenty-one years of age, and citizen of the United States.3
Office when vacant.
Sec. 4. If any Alderman shall after his election, remove from the ward for which he is elected, or cease to be a free-holder in said city, his office shall thereby be vacated.
Classes of Aldermen.
Sec. 5. At the first meeting of the City Council the Aldermen shall be divided by lot into two classes, the seats of those of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year, and of the second class at the expiration of the second year, so that one-half of the Board shall be elected annually.
Elections and returns.
Sec. 6. The City council shall judge of the qualifications, elections, and returns of their own members, and shall determine all contested elections.
Sec. 7. A majority of the city council shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members under such penalties as may be prescribed by Ordinance.
Expulsion of members.
Sec. 8. The city council shall have power to determine the rule of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly conduct, and with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members elected, expel a member.
Journal of proceedings.
Sec. 9. The city council shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time, publish the same, and the yeas and nays when demanded by any member present, shall be entered on the Juornal.
Aldermen may not hold offices under city.
Sec. 10. No Alderman shall be appointed to any office under the authority of the city, which shall have been created or the emoluments of which shall have been increased during the time for which he shall have been elected.
Sec. 11. All vacancies that shall occur in the Board of Aldermen, shall be filled by election.
Oaths of office
Sec. 12. The Mayor and each Alderman, entering upon the duties of their office, shall take and subscribe an oath “That they will support the Constitution of the United States, and of this State, and that they will well and truly perform the duties of their office to the best of their skill and abilities.”

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Tie, how determiend.
Sec. 13. Whenever there shall be a tie in the election of Aldermen, the Judges of election shall certify the same to the Mayor, who shall determine by lot in such manner as shall be provided by ordinance.
Stated meetings.
Sec. 14. There shall be twelve stated meetings of the city council in each year, and at such times and places as may be prescribed by ordinance.
Of the chief Executive officers.
Mayor, how elected.
Sec. 1. The chief executive officers of the city shall be a Mayor, who shall be elected by the qualified voters of the city, and shall hold his office for one year, and until his successor shall be elected and qualified.
Qualifications for Mayor.
Sec. 2. No person shall be eligible to the office of Mayor, who shall not have been a resident of the city for one year next preceding his election, or who shall be under twenty-one years of age, or who shall not at the time of his election be a bona fide freeholder in said city, and a citizen of the United States.4
Office of Mayor.
When vacant.
Sec. 3. If any Mayor shall, during the time for which he shall have been elected, remove from the city, or shall cease to be a freeholder in said city, his office shall be vacated.
Tie, for Mayor.
Sec. 4. When two or more persons shall have an equal number of votes for Mayor, the Judges of election shall certify the same to the city council, who shall proceed to determine the same by lot in such manner as may be provided for by ordinance.
Contested election.
Sec. 5. Whenever an election of Mayor shall be contested, the city council shall determine the same, in such manner as may be provided by ordinance.
Vacancy, how filled.
Sec. 6. Whenever any vacancy shall happen in the office of Mayor, it shall be filled by election.
Of Elections.
First election.
Annual election.
Sec. 1. On the third Monday of April next, one election shall be held in each ward of said city, for one Mayor for the city, one alderman from each ward, and forever thereafter, on the third Monday of April after, each year there shall be an election held for one Mayor for the city, and two aldermen from two of the wards, the first election held for Mayor and Aldermen shall be held, conducted, and returns thereof (made) as may be provided by ordinance of the present Trustees of the town of Springfield.
Qualifications of voters.
Sec. 2. All free white male inhabitants, citizens of the United States, of the age of twenty-one years, who are entitled to vote for State officers, and who shall have been actual residents of said city six months next preceding said election, shall be entitled to vote for city officers: Provided, That said voters shall give their votes for Mayor and aldermen in wards in which they respectively reside, and in no other; and
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that no vote shall be received, at any of said elections, unless the person offering such vote, shall have been an actual resident of the ward where the same is offered, at least ten days next preceding such election.5
Of the Legislative powers of the city council.
Tax to be levied.
Sec. 1. The city council shall have powers and authority to levy and collect taxes upon all property, real and personal, within the city, not exceeding one-half per cent. per annum upon the assesed value thereof, and may enforce the payment of the same in any manner prescribed by ordinance not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and of this State.
Officers to give bond and take oath.
Sec. 2. The city council shall have power to require of all officers appointed in pursuance of this charter, bonds with penalty and security for the faithful performance of their respective duties as may be deemed expedient, and also to require all officers appointed as aforesaid to take an oath for the faithful performance of the duties of their respective offices upon entering upon the discharge of the same.
To borrow money.
Common schools.
Sec. 3. To establish, support, and regulate common schools, to borrow money on the credit of the city: Provided, That no sum or sums of money shall be borrowed at a greater interest than six per cent. per annum, nor shall the interest on the aggregate of all the sums borrowed and outstanding ever exceed one-half of the city revenue arising for taxes assessed on real property within the corporation.
Contagious diseases.
Quarantine laws.
Sec. 4. To make regulations to prevent the introduction of contagious diseases into the city, to make quarantine laws for that purpose, and enforce the same.
Expenses of city.
Sec. 5. To appropriate and provide for the payment of the debt (and) expenses of the city.
Sec. 6. To establish hospitals, and make regulations for the government of the same.
Health of inhabitants.
Sec. 7. To make regulations to secure the general health of the inhabitats, to declare what shall be a nuisance, and to prevent and remove the same.
Wells and pumps.
Sec. 8. To provide the city with water, to dig wells and erect pumps in the streets for the extinguishment of fires, and convenience of the inhabitants.
Improvement of streets.
Sec. 9. To open, alter, widen, extend, establish, grade, pave, or otherwise improve and keep in repair streets, avenues, lanes and alleys.
Sec. 10. To establish, erect, and keep in repair, bridges.
Wards and boundaries.
Sec. 11. To divide the city into wards, and specify the boundaries thereof, and create additional wards, as the occasion may require.
Lamps and posts.
Sec. 12. To provide for lighting the streets and erecting lamp posts.
Night watches.
Sec. 13. To establish, support, and regulate night watches.

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Sec. 14. To erect market houses, establish markets, and market places, and provide for the government and regulation thereof.
Sec. 15. To provide for erecting all needful buildings for the use of the city.
Public grounds.
Sec. 16. To provide for enclosing, improving, regulating all public grounds belonging to the city.
To license and tax merchants, &c.[et cetera]
Sec. 17. To license, tax, regulate auctioneers, merchants and retailers, grocers, taverns, ordinaries, hawkers, pedlars, brokers, pawn brokers, and money changers.
Carriages, drays, &c.
Sec. 18. To license, tax and regulate hacking, carriages, wagons, carts and drays, and fix the rates to be charged for the carriage of persons, and for the wagonage, cartage, and drayage of property.
Porters and porterage.
Sec. 19. To license and regulate porters and fix the rates of porterage.
Sec. 20. To license and regulate theatrical and other exhibitions, shows and amusements.
Disorderly houses.
Sec. 21. To tax, restrain, prohibit and suppress, tipling houses, dram shops, gaming houses, bawdy and other disorderly houses.
Fire companies.
Sec. 22. To provide for the prevention and extinguishment of fires, and to organize and establish fire companies.
Chimneys, flues, & pipes.
Sec. 23. To regulate the fixing of chimneys and the flues thereof, and stove pipes.
Combustible materials.
Sec. 24. To regulate the storage of gunpowder, tar, pitch, rosin, and other combustible materials.
Walls and fences.
Sec. 25. To regulate and order parapet walls and partition fences.
Weights and measures.
Sec. 26. To establish standard weights and measures, and regulate the weights and measures to be used in the city, in all other cases not provided for by law.
Lumber and materials.
Sec. 27. To provide for the inspection and measuring of lumber and other building materials: and for the measurement of all kinds of mechanical work.
Inspection of hay, lime, &c.
Sec. 28. To provide for the inspection and weighing of hay, lime, and stone coal, the measuring of charcoal, fire wood, and othor fuel, to be sold or used within the city.6
Beef, pork, &c.
Sec. 29. To provide for and regulate the inspection of tobacco, and of beef, pork, flour, meal, and whiskey in barrels.
Weight of bread.
Sec. 30. To regulate the weight, quality, and price of bread sold and used in the city.
Sec. 31. To provide for taking the enumeration of the inhabitants of the city.
Removal of officers.
Sec. 32. To regulate the election of city officers, and provide for removing from office any person holding an office created by ordinance.
Jurors and witnesses fees.
Sec. 33. To fix the compensation of all city officers and regulate the fees of jurors, witnesses and others, for services rendered under this act or any ordinance.
City police.
Fines and forfeitures.
Sec. 34. To regulate the police of the city, to impose fines, and forfeitures and penalties, for the breach of any ordi-
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nance, and provide for the recovery and appropriation of such fines and forfeitures, and the enforcement of such penalties.
Billiard tables, &c.
Sec. 35. The city council shall have exclusive power within the city, by ordinance, to license, regulate, and suppress and restrain, billard tables, and from one to twenty pin alleys, and every other description of gaming or gambling.
Sec. 36. The city council shall have power to make all ordinances which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers specified in this act, so that such ordinance be not repugnant to, nor inconsistent with, the constitution of the United States or of this State.
Style of.
Sec. 37. The style of the ordinances of the city shall be: “Be it ordained by the city council of the city of Springfield.”
When to take effect.
Sec. 38. All ordinances passed by the city council shall, within one month after they shall have been passed, be published in some newspaper published in the city, and shall not be in force until they shall have been published as aforesaid.
How proven.
Sec. 39. All ordinances of the city may be proven by the seal of the corporation, and when printed and published by authority of the corporation, the same shall be received in evidence in all courts and places without further proof.
Of the Mayor.
Casting vote of Mayor.
Sec. 1. The mayor shall preside at all meetings of the city council and shall have a casting vote and no other. In case of non-attendance of the mayor or at any meeting, the board of aldermen shall appoint one of their own members chairman, who shall preside at that meeting.
Special meetings.
Sec. 2. The Mayor or any two aldermen may call special meetings of the city council.
Duties of Mayor
Sec. 3. The Mayor shall at all times be active and vigilant in enforcing the laws and ordinances for the government of said city; he shall inspect the conduct of all subordinate officers of said city, and cause negligence and positive violation of duty to be prosecuted and punished: he shall from time (to time) communicate to the aldermen such information, and recommend all such measures, as in his opinion may tend to the improvement of the finances, the police, the health, security, comfort and ornament of the city.
In case of riot Mayor may call on inhabitants.
Fines for refusal.
Sec. 4. He is hereby authorised to call on any male inhabitant of said city over the age of eighteen years to aid in enforcing the laws and ordinances; and in case of riot, to call out the militia to aid him in suppressing the same, or in carrying into effect any law or ordinance, and any person who shall not obey such call shall forfeit to the said city a fine not exceeding five dollars.
Exhibit of books and papers.
Sec. 5. He shall have power whenever he may deem it necessary to require of any of the officers of the said city an exhibit of his books and papers.
To extend all arts.
Sec. 6. He shall have power to execute all acts that may
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be required of him by any ordinance made in pursuance of this act.
Mayor commissioned as justice peace.
Sec. 7. He shall be commissioned by the Governor as a justice of the peace for said city and county, and as such shall be a conservator of the peace in the said city; and shall have power and authority to administer oaths, issue writs and processes under the seal of the city, to take depositions, the acknowledgements of deeds, mortgages, and all other instruments of writing, and certify to the same under the seal of the city, which shall be good and valid in law.
Exclusive jurisdiction.
Sec. 8. He shall have exclusive jurisdiction in all cases arising under the ordinances of (the) corporation, and concurrent jurisdiction with all justices of the peace in all civil and criminal cases within the limits of the city, arising under the laws of the state, and shall receive the same fees and compensation for his services in similar cases.
Salary of Mayor.
Sec. 9. He shall also have such jurisdiction as may be vested in him by ordinance for the purpose of enforcing the health and quarantine ordinances and regulations thereof, and he shall receive for his services such salary as shall be fixed by ordinance of the city.
Mayor may be indicted for mal-conduct.
Sec. 8. (10.) In case the mayor shall at any time be guilty of palpable omission of duty, or shall wilfully and corruptly be guilty of oppression, mal-conduct, or partiality in the discharge of the duties of his office, he shall be liable to be indicted in the circuit court of Sangamon county, and on conviction; he shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars; and the court shall have power, on recommendation of the jury, to add to the judgment of the court, that he be removed from office.
Proceedings in Special Cases.
Where private property taken to open streets.
Sec. 1. When it shall be necessary to take private property, for opening, widening, or altering any public streets, lanes, avenue, or alley, the corporation shall make a just compensation therefor to the person whose property is so taken; and if the amount of such compensation cannot be agreed upon, the mayor shall cause the same to be ascertained by a jury of six disinterested freeholders of the city.
Petition by owners for widening streets.
Sec. 2. When the owner(s) of all the property and (on any) street, lane, avenue, alley, proposed to be opened, widened or altered, shall petition therefor, the city council may open, widen, or alter such street, lane, avenue, or alley, upon conditon to be prcseribed by ordinance, but no compensation shall in such case be made to those whose property shall be taken, for opening, or altering such street, lane, avenue, or alley, nor shall there be any assessment of benefits or damages that may accrue thereby to any of the petitioners.
Damages, how assessed.
Sec. 3. All persons empannelled to enquire into the amount of benefits or damages which shall happen to the owners of property proposed to be taken for opening, widening, or altering any street, lane, avenue, or alley, shall be first sworn to that
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effect, and shall return to the mayor their inquest in writing, and signed by the Jurors.
Benefits and injuries.
Sec. 4. In ascertaining the amount of compensation for property taken for opening, widening, or altering any street, lane, avenue, or alley, the jury shall take into consideration the benefit as well as the injury happening by such opening, widening, or altering such streets, lanes, avenues, or alley.
Inquest may be set aside.
Sec. 5. The mayor shall have power, for good cause shown within ten days after any inquest shall have been returned to him as aforesaid, to set the same aside, and order a new inquest to be made.
Special tax to improve streets.
Sec. 6. The city council shall have power by ordinance to levy and collect a special tax on the holders of the lots in any street, lane, avenue, or alley, or part of any street, lane, avenue, or alley, according to their respective fronts owned by them, for the purpose of paving and grading the side walks, and lighting such streets, lanes, avenues, or alleys.
Miscellaneous Provisions.
Citizens exempt from road and county tax.
Sec. 1. The inhabitants of the city of Springfield are hereby exempted from working on any road beyond the limits of the city, and from paying any tax to procure laborers upon the same, and from any tax for county purposes except upon real estate:7 Provided, The corporation shall support and provide for all the resident paupers of said city, and pay the expenses of the circuit court in all criminal cases arising out of the offences of any citizen of said city, as also jail fees which may accrue therefrom, viz: boarding and lodging of criminals, or charges that may be just and equitable.
Labor on streets.
Refusal to labor.
Sec. 2. The city council shall have power for the purpose of keeping the streets, lanes, avenues, or alleys in repair, and require any male inhabitants in said city of twenty one years of age to labor on said street, lane, avenue, or alleys, not exceeding three days in each and every year; and any person failing to perform such labor when duly notified by the supervisor, shall forfeit and pay not to exceed one dollar per day for each day so neglected or refused.
Punishment of offenders.
Sec. 3. The city council shall have power to provide for the punishment of offenders, by imprisonment in county or city jail in all cases when such offenders shall fail or refuse to pay the fines and forfeitures which may be recovered against them.
Annual statements.
Sec. 4. The city council shall cause to be published annually, a full and complete statement of all moneys received and expended by the corporation during the preceding year, and on what account received and expended.
Ordinances of trustees in force.
Sec. 5. All ordinances and resolutions passed by the president and trustees of the town of Springfield shall remain in force until the same shall have been repealed by the city council hereby created: Provided, No contract or agreement shall be affected thereby.
Suits and actions, how prosecuted.
Sec. 6. All suits, actions, and prosecutions, instituted, com-
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menced, or brought by the corporation hereby created, shall be instituted, commenced, and prosecuted in the name of the city of Springfield.
Fines, &c. accruing—how vested.
Sec. 7. All actions, fines, penalties, and forfeitures, which have accrued to the president and trustees of the town of Springfield, shall be vested in, and prosecuted by, the corporation hereby created.
Property of town vested in city.
Sec. 8. All property, real and personal, heretofore belonging to the president and trustees of the town of Springfield for the use of the said inhabitants of said town, shall be, and the same is hereby, declared to be vested in the corporation hereby created.
Charter not to invalidate acts of town.
Sec. 9. This charter shall not invalidate any act done by the president and trustees of the town of Springfield, nor divest them of any right which may have accrued to them prior to the passage of this act.
Duty of trustees of town to issue proclamation.
Sec. 10. The President and trustees of the town of Springfield shall, immediately after the passage of this law, within the limits of the city of Springfield, issue their proclamation for the election of officers, and cause the same to be published in all the newspapers in said city, for four weeks in succession prior to the day of election for said officers.
Appeals allowed.
Sec. 11. Appeals shall be allowed from the decision in all cases arising under the provisions of this act, or any ordinance passed in pursuance thereof, to the circuit court of Sangamon county, and every such appeal shall be taken and granted in the same manner and like effect as appeals are taken from, and granted by, justices of the peace to the circuit court under the law of this state.
Office of Mayor when vacant filled by Mayor pro tem.
Sec. 12. Whenever the mayor shall absent himself from the city, or shall resign, or die, or his office shall otherwise be vacated, the board of aldermen shall immediately proceed to elect one of their number president, who shall be the mayor pro tem.
Act declared public.
Sec. 13. This act is hereby declared to be a public act, and may be read in evidence in all courts of law and equity in this state without proof.
Acts repealed.
Sec. 14. All acts or part of acts coming within the provisions of this charter, or contrary to or inconsistent with its provisions, are hereby repealed.
Jurisdiction of city marshall and officers.
Sec. 15. The city marshal, or any other officer authorised to execute writs or other process issued by the mayor, shall have power to execute the same any where within the limits of the county of Sangamon, and shall be entitled to the same fees for travelling as are allowed to constables in similar cases.
Act to be published.
Meeting of legal voters.
Time when to adopt or reject this act.
Sec. 16. It shall be the duty of the president and trustees of the town of Springfield, immediately after the passage of this act, to cause the same to be published two weeks in succession in two of the public journals printed in said town, and thereafter give notice for a public meeting of the legal voters of said town, who shall have been resident citizens thereof
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at least six months preceding said meeting, to be held at the court house on the first Monday of April next, for the purpose of then and there voting for the adoption or rejection of this act. The majority of the legal voters there present shall determine the adoption or rejection of the same; Provided, That at any subsequent meeting, like notice being given as aforesaid, the same may be adopted and take effect immediately thereafter.8
Approved by the Council, Feb.[February] 3, 1840.
1Archer G. Herndon introduced SB 65 to the Senate on January 6, 1840. The Senate laid it on the table on January 11. The Senate took the bill back up on January 16 and amended it by striking out three sections and adding the 16th section. The Senate passed the bill on January 23. Two days later, Abraham Lincoln motioned that the House of Representatives refer the bill to a select committee, on which he was a member. Lincoln reported back on January 30 and recommended amendments, to which the House concurred. The House passed the bill the next day by a vote of 51 yeas to 28 nays, Lincoln voting nay. The Council of Revision approved the bill on February 3 and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1839. 11th G. A., special sess., 236, 252, 293, 313, 327; Illinois Senate Journal. 1839. 11th G. A., special sess., 88, 102, 118, 169, 232, 233, 243, 453.
2Abraham Lincoln was a member of the last board of trustees for the town of Springfield and supervised the elections of officials to replace the old board when the town became a city.
3In 1841, the General Assembly passed an act that repealed the United States citizenship requirement.
4In 1841, the General Assembly passed an act that repealed the United States citizenship requirement.
5In 1841, the General Assembly passed an act that repealed the United States citizenship requirement.
6Stone coal” refers to hard, shiny anthracite, which is the most desirable type of coal for fuel. Anthracite is rarer and burns more cleanly than the soft bituminous form.
Barbara Freese, Coal: A Human History (New York: Basic Books, 2003), 111-12.
7The House of Representatives passed an amendment on January 30, 1840, adding “except upon real estate” to this sentence.
Journal of the House of Representatives (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1840), 293.
8The Senate passed an amendment adding the final section on January 16, 1840.
Journal of the Senate (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1840), 118.

Printed Document, 10 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Eleventh General Assembly, at their Special Session (Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1840), 6-15,GA Session: 11-S,