In force, Feb.[February] 27, 1841.
Returns of election
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly2, That the east half of range four and all of range five, in townships fourteen and fifteen north, shall be added to and constitute a part of the county of Stark, said addition being nine miles east and west, and twelve miles north and south, out of the south east corner of the county of Henry: Provided, That an election shall be held in said county of Henry, at the usual places of holding elections, on the first Monday of April next, to vote for or against a division of said county, and if it shall appear that a majority of the legal voters of said county of Henry are in favor of the territory above described being attached to and
<Page 2>hereafter forming a part of the county of Stark, it shall be considered a part of said county of Stark; but if a majority of the legal voters of the said county of Henry are opposed to the division of said county, then the territory described in the foregoing part of this section shall remain and continue a part of Henry county.3 The election shall be conducted, notice given and returns made in the same manner as now required by law in the election of justices of the peace and constables; Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to prevent the location of the county seat of Stark county, as provided in the second or any subsequent section of this act.
Com’rs[Commissioners] to locate county seat
Time and place of meeting
Oath of commiss’rs[Commissioners]
Donation for county seat
Compensation of com’rs
Vote for location of county seat
Vote against location
Sec. 2. That John Dawson, Peter Van Bergen and William F. Elkin,4 Esquires, all of the county of Sangamon, and State of Illinois are hereby appointed commissioners to locate the town of Toulon the county seat of Stark; they or any two of them shall meet at the house of William H. Henderson, in said county, on the second Monday in April next, or as soon thereafter, as may suit their convenience, and being first duly sworn by some justice of the peace, that they are not directly or indirectly interested in, or the owners of any real estate in the county of Stark, nor will not be in any way such owner during their services in locating said county seat, and that they will truly and faithfully discharge the duties assigned them by this act, without partiality or favor. They shall then proceed to locate the town of Toulon, the county seat aforesaid, having due regard, in making said location, to the present and future population of said county, the promotion of the general good of the whole county, the eligibility of the site, and as near as may be, after duly considering all the other provisions of this act, to the geographical centre of said county. Said commissioners shall before making said location, obtain by donation from the owner or his legally authorized agent or attorney, at least ninety rods square of land,5 to be conveyed by deed with general warran(ty,) to the county commissioners of the county of Stark, and their successors in office, to be disposed of as hereinafter provided; the title to the land so donated, shall be indefeasible, and upon said land so donated shall be located the town and county seat aforesaid. Said commissioners shall receive the sum of three dollars each for each day they may be necessarily employed in making said location, and in going to and returning from said county, to be allowed by the court and paid out of the treasury: Provided, however, That an election shall be held at the different precincts in the county of Stark on the third Monday in April next, at which election poll books shall be opened with two columns, one for and the other against making said location. Notice of said election shall be given by the clerk of the county commissioners’ court. He shall post up at each election precinct, or place of holding elections, written advertisements, giving at least
<Page 3>ten days’ notice of said election, returns of said election shall be made on the day succeeding the election to the county commissioners, who shall open and canvass the same, and if it shall be found that a majority of votes given are in favor of said location, then and in that case said location shall be made; but if it shall appear that a majority are opposed to said location, then and in that case said location shall be postponed until said county shall determine by a vote of a majority to make said location; and the county commissioners are hereby authorized at any time they may think the majority of said voters require it, to order an election for the purpose of ascertaining the will of the majority, and the county commissioners shall give notice to the commissioners appointed to locate said county seat whenever it shall be ascertained that it is the will of a majority of the voters of said county, that it shall be located, and said locating commissioners are to make the same at any time they shall be notified as aforesaid.6
County commiss’rs to lay off & sell lots
Conveyance of lots
Notice of sale
Proposals for county buildings
Pay of contractors
Male and female academy
Lots for public purposes
Sec. 3. So soon as the county seat is located, it shall be the duty of the county commissioners of the county aforesaid to lay off and have surveyed the town of Toulon according to such plan as they may deem most advisable, and then to sell the same on a credit of eight, sixteen and twenty-four months;7 the purchaser shall give his notes with good personal security, to be approved of by the commissioners, who shall execute a bond to the purchaser to convey to him, his heirs or assigns, such lot or lots as he may purchase at said sale, said bonds are to be conditioned upon the payment of the purchase money, and not otherwise. Notice of said sale shall be given by advertisements in three public newspapers, at least thirty days prior to said sale, and also, in said advertisements notice shall be given that said commissioners will receive sealed proposals for building a court house and jail for said county, which proposals shall be opened ten days after the sale of the lots aforesaid shall have closed, and the contracts given to the lowest responsible bidder or bidders: Provided, Said commissioners may not consider all of said bids unreasonably high; the contractor or contractors giving bond and security, to be approved of by the commissioners, for the faithful performance of said contracts; said bonds shall be made to the commissioners and their successors in office. The contractors shall receive the notes of the purchasers of lots in payment for the public buildings in the following manner: one fourth at the time of executing their bonds, one fourth when the foundations are laid, one fourth when the buildings are covered in, and the remainder when completed and received. The commissioners shall apply all or so much of the proceeds of the sale of lots in the town of Toulon as shall be sufficient to erect durable and respectable buildings, and any overplus shall be applied to the building of a female academy in said town, and the balance, if any, to the building (of) a male academy in said town. And it is hereby made the du-
<Page 4>ty of the commissioners of said county to select suitable lots and designate them upon the plan of said town prior to the sale for the following purposes: one for a male and one for a female academy, one for a jail, and four for the purpose of erecting houses of public worship, to be conveyed to the society of christians who shall first build thereon.
Duty of school com’r[commissioner] to pay over school fund
Sec. 4. That the school commissioners of the county of Henry and Knox are hereby required to pay over to the school commissioner of the county of Stark, upon his application, a just and equitable proportion of the school funds of said counties, agreeably to the additions made from Henry and Knox respectively to the county of Stark, whether said funds be in money, bonds, notes, or other securities. Also, should any school sections be sold in the townships thus added, it shall be paid over in like manner.
Persons prohibited selling lots for one year
Sec. 5. That for the purpose of aiding the sale of lots in the town of Toulon, and causing them to bring the greatest amount of money, the person or persons making the donation, upon which the town of Toulon shall be located, are hereby inhibited, as well as those who may purchase of said donee or donees, from surveying or making any addition or additions to the said town of Toulon, or selling any lot or lots for the period of twelve months from the sale of lots in said town.8
Approved, February 27, 1841.
1Milton Carpenter introduced HB 161 in the House of Representatives on February 3, 1841. The House amended the bill by adding the names “Peter Van Bergen” and “William F. Elkin.” On February 6, the House tabled the bill. On February 13, the House took up the bill, amending it by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting a substitute. The House passed the bill as substituted. On February 18, the Senate referred the bill to the Committee on Petitions. The Committee on Petitions reported back the bill on February 20 with an amendment, in which the Senate concurred. The Senate passed the bill as amended on February 22. On February 23, the House tabled the Senate amendments. On February 24, the House took up and rejected the Senate amendments. On February 26, the Senate refused to recede from their amendments, appointing senators to a committee of conference to resolve the differences between the two houses. The House concurred with the Senate request for a committee of conference, appointing representatives to that committee on February 26. The committee on conference reported back the bill on February 27, recommending that the House concur with the Senate amendments. The Senate and House concurred with the report, and the House concurred with the Senate amendments. On February 27, the Council of Revision approved the bill, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 316, 336, 343, 386, 473, 477-78, 500, 525, 529, 549, 555, 569; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 312, 343, 360, 372, 399, 415-416, 434, 436.
2On February 13, the House of Representatives replaced the original bill with a substitute.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 386.
3For the third and last time, voters in Henry County rejected the removal of from 36 to 108 square miles from their territory. In April 1837, they rejected the creation of Coffee County from part of their territory. In March 1840, they rejected the addition of a portion of Henry County to Stark County, derailing the designation of a county seat for Stark County. Finally, in April 1841, Henry County voters again rejected the addition of a portion of their county to Stark County.
Michael D. Sublett, Paper Counties: The Illinois Experience, 1825-1867 (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), 34-39; An Act for the Formation of the County of Coffee; An Act to Locate the County Seat of Stark, and to Extend the Limits of Said County.
4On February 3, 1841, the House of Representatives added Peter Van Bergen and William F. Elkin.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 316.
6For 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. In 8 of the 23 cases where a commission specified the location of the county seat, including that of Stark County, the General Assembly specified the name of the town when located. In this case, commissioners designated the location of the new town of Toulon, but voters also had the opportunity to ratify the commissioners’ choice.
Sublett, Paper Counties, 14-18.
The commissioners did not meet until May 17, 1841, at the house of William H. Henderson. They located Toulon on land owned by John Miller in the southwest quarter of section 19 of Township 13 North, Range 6 East of the Fourth Principal Meridian, the current location of the town. Miller and his wife conveyed the property to Stark County on July 28, 1841.
J. Knox Hall, ed., Stark County, Illinois, and Its People, 2 vols. (Chicago: Pioneer Publishing Company, 1916), 1:76-77, 112.
7The original plat of Toulon, prepared in August 1841, included sixteen blocks with ten lots each. In mid-September, bidders purchased 122 lots for from $5 to $86 per lot.
Hall, Stark County, Illinois, 1:112-13.
Printed Document, 4 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly (Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841), 98-101, GA Session 12-2,