In force, Jan. 7, 1841.
An ACT to vacate the town plat of the town of Livingston.1
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That John McGhee, the proprietor of the town of Livingston, situate in township twenty-five north, range one east of the third principal meridian, in the county of McLean, be, and he is hereby authorized to vacate the survey and plat of the said town: Provided, That the
<Page 2>said John McGhee shall be the owner of the entire plat of said town, and shall make out such vacation, in writing, which shall be acknowledged before some justice of the peace, and recorded in the recorder's office in said county.
Plat of Cicero vacated.
Sec. 2. That the town plat of the town of Cicero, in the county of Sangamon, be vacated: Provided, That John Latham and Archibald Constant, or the heirs of them or either of them, be the sole proprietors of said town at the passage of this act.
Blocks of Caledonia vacated.
Sec. 3. That blocks numbered six, seven, eight and nine, of the plat of the town of Caledonia, in the county of Putnam, are her by vacated: Provided, That P. G. Young be the sole proprietor of said blocks at the passage of this act.2 3
Approved, January 7, 1841.
1John Moore introduced SB 2 to the Senate on November 27, 1840. The Senate referred the bill to a select committee on November 30. The committee reported back on December 2 and recommended an amendment, to which the Senate concurred. The Senate passed the bill on December 5. Abraham Lincoln moved that the House of Representatives refer the bill to a select committee. The House agreed and placed Lincoln on that committee. Lincoln reported back on December 12 and recommended amendments, to which the House concurred. The House passed the amended bill on December 14. The Senate concurred with the House amendments on December 17. The Council of Revision vetoed the bill as unsuitable to become a law on December 19, and returned it to the Senate with its report that objected to the fourth section as a violation of private rights. The Senate concurred and re-passed the bill on December 21. On December 22, the House re-passed the bill. The Council of Revision approved the amended bill on January 7, 1841, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 88, 94, 112, 115, 131, 146, 149; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 23, 28, 37, 46, 78, 87, 92, 93, 102, 107, 128, 147.
2The House of Representatives passed an amendment on December 12 adding sections 2 and 3, as well as a 4th section that was subsequently stricken by the Senate on December 21.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 112; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 102.
3Illinois experienced a time of intense land speculation in the 1830s that resulted in a number of “paper towns,” settlements that were platted and available for sale but where few or no people actually lived. Many of the proprietors of these settlements abandoned them during and after the Panic of 1837. As a result, the General Assembly received a large number of petitions for vacation during their sessions from 1838 to 1841. In 1841, the legislature passed an act setting parameters for proprietors to vacate town plats themselves. Vacating a plat gave owners greater flexibility in the use, fencing, and sale of the property.
An Act to Vacate Town Plats; Alasdair Roberts, America’s First Great Depression: Economic Crisis and Political Disorder after the Panic of 1837 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012), 19, 33, 38; James E. Davis, Frontier Illinois (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), 210-11; Robert P. Howard, Illinois: A History of the Prairie State (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1972), 196.
Printed Document, 2 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly (Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841), 315-16, GA Session 12-2,