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In force Feb.[February] 27, 1841.
An ACT for the formation of the county of Woodford.
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Boundaries.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That all that section of country situated within the following boundaries, to-wit: Beginning at the south-west corner of Livingston county, thence on a straight line to the north-west corner of the south-west quarter of section twenty, townships twenty-five north, range one east of the third principal meridian; thence south to the north-west corner of the south-west quarter of section twenty-nine, township and range aforesaid; thence west to the Tazewell county line; thence north one and a half miles; thence west to the centre of township twenty-five north, range two west, of the third principal meridian; thence north to the line between townships twenty-six and twenty-seven; thence west to the Illinois river; thence with said river to the north-west corner of Tazewell county, thence with the northern boundary of Tazewell and McLean counties to Livingston county; thence south to the place of beginning; which shall constitute a county to be called Woodford.
Election of officers.
Jurisdiction.
Sec. 2. There shall be an election held on the second Monday in April2 next, at the town of Versailles, and at each of the places of voting for justices of the peace and constables in the limits of the said county of Woodford. The election shall be conducted by the present judges of elections in said county, who have been appointed by the counties of Tazewell and McLean, in accordance with the election laws of this State, at which election the legal voters of the said county of Woodford, shall elect all county officers for said county, who shall be qualified and commissioned as similar officers are of other counties of this State. Said officers, so elected and qualified, shall hold their offices until the next ensuing general election for such officers now provided by law and shall have the same jurisdiction and discharge all the duties within the limits of the said county of Woodford, that are
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required by law of similar officers of other counties of this State.
Poll books when returned.
Sec. 3. Within five days after said election, the judges of elections at the different places of voting, shall return the poll books of said election to the town of Versailles, in said county, directed to Matthew Bracken, John W. Brown, and Morgan Buckingham, three acting justices of the peace within the limits of said county; and the said justices shall meet in the said town of Versailles, within seven days after said election, and proceed to open said election returns, and do and perform all the duties in relation to said returns that now are required of clerks of county commissioners’ courts by law in relation to similar returns.
Judge of 8th circuit to appoint clk. &c.
Sec. 4. As soon as the county officers shall have been elected and qualified as provided for in this act, the county shall be considered organized, and the clerk of the county commissioners’ court shall give notice of the same to the judge of the eighth judicial circuit, who shall appoint a clerk of the circuit court, and hold courts in the said county, at the town of Versailles, until the county seat of said county shall be located as hereinafter provided for. Said county of Woodford shall form a part of the eighth judicial circuit until otherwise provided by law.
Suits commenced how disposed of.
Sec. 5. Suits and indictments that have been commenced or may hereafter be commenced, in the circuit courts of Tazewell or McLean counties, by any of the citizens living in the limits of the county of Woodford, before the organization thereof, shall not be affected by this act; but all suits, so commenced, shall be decided in the circuit courts of the counties of Tazewell or McLean, where they originated.
All officers heretofore elected to hold their offices.
Sec. 6. All justices of the peace and constables elected in the counties of Tazewell or McLean, who reside in the limits of the county of Woodford, shall hold their offices and have jurisdiction in the said county of Woodford, as though they had been originally elected in said county.
School fund of county
Sec. 7. The school funds belonging to the several townships in said county, and all notes and mortgages pertaining to the same, shall be paid and delivered over to the school commissioner of the county of Woodford, by the school commissioners of the counties of Tazewell and McLean, so soon as said county shall be organized, and the commissioner of school lands appointed and qualified according to law; together with all interest arising out of said money that has not been heretofore expended for school purposes in those parts of Tazewell and McLean counties, now included in the county of Woodford.
Temporary location of county seat
Proviso.
Notice of election by clk.
Election for county seat.
Donation to county seat
Sec. 8. The seat of justice of said county shall be temporarily located in the town of Versailles for the term of two years from and after the organization of said county: Provided, The inhabitants of said town furnish a good and suitable house for holding courts and for other public business, free of
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charge to said county; but on their failing to comply with said condition, the county commissioners may remove the same to such place where suitable buildings can be procured. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the county commissioners’ court to issue writs of election to the judges of elections in the several precincts of said county to hold an election, to be governed in all respects by the laws of this State in relation to the election of members of the General Assembly, within thirty days from and after the expiration of the above said two years, to locate and establish the seat of justice. The place receiving a majority of all the votes polled shall be the permanent seat of justice of Woodford county, but if more than one place shall have been voted for, and no one having received a majority of all the legal votes polled, the clerk aforesaid shall issue writs of election, as in the first case, for a second election, within twenty days from the first election, but no place or places shall be voted for but the two having received the greatest number of votes at the first election; nor shall any place be voted for in either case, unless the proprietor or proprietors shall have first deposited a bond or bonds, for at least fifteen hundred dollars, with good and sufficient security, in the office of the clerk of the county commissioners’ court, for the payment and discharge of such donations as may be offered, which shall be collected by the county commissioners and applied to the erection of public buildings.3
Debt of McLean county how paid
Proviso
Sec. 9. The county commissioners of the county of Woodford, shall at their December term, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, and at their December term annually thereafter, pay out of the county treasury the sum of ninety-five dollars, which sum shall be paid as their portion of the interest due by the county of McLean on the court house debt, and the county commissioners shall also pay after the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-four, in two equal annual instalments, the sum of twelve hundred dollars, as their respective portion of the principal of the aforesaid debt; and when the provisions of this section are fully complied with, the said county of Woodford shall be exempt from all further liabilities to the county of McLean: Provided, however, That the revenue necessary to pay the above principal and interest shall be collected from the inhabitants within that part of Woodford county which is set off from the county of McLean.
Woodford to vote with McLean and Tazewell for senator and representatives
Sec. 10. The legal voters residing within the boundaries of the county of Woodford, shall continue to vote for senators and representatives with the counties of McLean and Tazewell, the same as if no division of said counties had taken place; and the returns of said elections shall be made to the clerks of the county commissioners’ courts of Tazewell and McLean respectively. The circuit court shall be held in said county, at such times as the judge of the eighth judicial circuit may hereafter appoint, until otherwise provided by law.4
Approved, February 27, 1841.
1Milton Carpenter from the Committee on Counties, to which the House of Representatives had referred a petition, introduced HB 157 in the House on February 2. The House re-committed the bill to the Committee on Counties. The Committee on Counties reported back the bill on February 6 with amendments, in which the House concurred. On February 10, the House temporarily tabled the bill. On February 13, the House amended the second section and added two additional sections. The House passed the bill as amended. On February 24, the Senate referred the bill to the Committee on Counties. The Committee on Counties reported back the bill on February 26 with an amendment, in which the Senate concurred. The Senate passed the bill as amended. The House concurred with the Senate amendment on February 26. On February 27, the Council of Revision approved the bill, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 313, 337, 348, 358, 387, 531, 546, 552, 564; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 313, 393, 419-20.
2On February 13, 1841, the House of Representatives amended the bill by striking out “April” and inserting “September.” On February 26, the Senate amended the word back to “April.”
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 387; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 419-20.
3Either the House Committee on Counties or the Senate Committee on Counties replaced the entire text of Section 8 from the bill. The original version of this section appointed three commissioners to locate the county seat for Woodford County.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 337; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 419.
After Versailles served as the county seat for two years, the General Assembly passed another law appointing commissioners to determine the county seat, thereby repealing most of Section 8 of this act. Fearing that the commissioners appointed were biased toward Versailles as the permanent county seat, advocates of other locations succeeded in getting the General Assembly to pass a supplemental act that added two more commissioners to the three already appointed. Three commissioners—Joseph L. Sharp, appointed by the first act, and Levi A. Hannaford and John H. Bryant, appointed by the supplementary act—met at Versailles in June 1843, and decided that the county seat would be Hanover. In February 1845, the General Assembly ratified the commissioners’ actions and the decision of the citizens of Hanover to change the name of the town to Metamora.
The Past and Present of Woodford County, Illinois (Chicago: William Le Baron Jr. & Co., 1878), 244-45; “An Act permanently to locate the county seat of Woodford county,” 28 February 1843, Laws Passed by the Thirteenth General Assembly of the State of Illinois at their Regular Session (1843), 123-24; “An Act supplemental to an act entitled ‘An Act to permanently locate the seat of justice of Woodford county,’” 6 March 1843, Laws Passed by the Thirteenth General Assembly of the State of Illinois at their Regular Session (1843), 127; “An Act to legalize the location of the county seat of Woodford county, and to change the name of the county seat thereof,” 21 February 1845, Laws Passed by the Fourteenth General Assembly of the State of Illinois at their Regular Session (1845), 345.
4Either the House Committee on Counties or the Senate Committee on Counties added Section 10 to the bill.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 337; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 419.
On February 13, 1841, the House of Representatives amended the bill by adding two additional sections, one of which was for a referendum in McLean County on the creation of Woodford County. On February 26, the Senate removed those additional sections.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 387; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 419-20.

Printed Document, 3 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly (Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841), 84-86, GA Session 12-2,