In force Jan.[January] 20, 1841.
An ACT to authorize the removal of the seat of justice of Adams County.1
Election for removal of county seat
Returns of election
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That an election shall be held in the county of Adams, on the first Monday of August, eighteen hundred and forty-one, at the usual places of holding elections in said county, for the removal of the seat of justice of said county, at which election, the clerks thereof shall open two columns, one for Quincy, the other for Columbus, and shall take and record the votes of each qualified voter, for one of the aforesaid places as the seat of justice for said county. The said election shall be conducted, and the returns thereof made in the same manner as is provided in ordinary cases of the election of justices of the peace. The clerk of the county commissioners’ court shall immediately after the receipt by him of the election returns, in the presence of two justices of the peace, open the election returns, compare them, and certify the same to the county commissioners’ court, and the place having the greatest number of votes shall be, and remain the seat of justice in said county as hereinafter provided.2
Duty of county commis’rs
Sec. 2. If, at such election, Columbus shall receive the greatest number of votes for said seat of justice, then it shall be the duty of the county commissioners’ court of said county, without delay, to cause to be erected, purchased, or rented, suitable buildings in the town of Columbus for a court house, clerk’s office, sheriff’s office, and recorder’s office, after which the county commissioners’ court shall cause proclamation to be made and published in some public newspaper of said county, declaring and making known, that from and after a day to be therein named, not exceeding thirty days from the date thereof, the seat of justice of said county shall be and remain permanently located at Columbus.3
County officers to reside at county seat
Sec. 3. The county officers whose duty it is to keep their respective offices at the seat of justice, shall, on the day named in the proclamation hereinbefore specified, remove their offices to Columbus.
Approved, January 20, 1841.
1James H. Ralston introduced SB 25 to the Senate on December 8, 1840. The Senate passed the bill on December 11. The House of Representatives passed the bill on January 18, 1841. The Council of Revision approved the bill on January 20, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 109, 110, 115-16, 195, 242; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 56, 62, 65, 70-71, 178, 185, 212.
2The Illinois General Assembly established Adams County on January 13, 1825, and Quincy became the county seat. A group of Adams County residents hoped to relocate the seat of government to Columbus, which was the geographic center of their county. In February 1835, the General Assembly passed an act to hold a referendum regarding the location of the county seat, but voters in August 1835 favored retaining Quincy as the county seat.
“An Act Forming New Counties out of the Counties of Pike and Fulton, and the Attached Parts Thereof,” 13 January 1825, Laws of the State of Illinois (1825), 93; History of Adams County, Illinois (Chicago: Murray, Williamson and Phelps, 1879), 285-88; Federal Writers’ Project of the Work Projects Administration for the State of Illinois, Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide (Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., 1939), 580-81; William H. Collins and Cicero F. Perry, eds., Past and Present of the City of Quincy and Adams County (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1905), 53.
3At the referendum on August 2, 1841, 1,636 voters selected Columbus for the county seat, and 1,545 voters selected Quincy. A month later, the supporters of Quincy filed a petition with the county commissioners’ court charging that there were more than one hundred illegal votes cast for Columbus. Two of the commissioners suspended the removal of the county seat, while the other protested their decision. Despite orders from Judge Stephen A. Douglas in late 1841 and early 1842 to move the county seat, the commissioners refused to do so. Supporters of Quincy appealed Douglas’s order to the Illinois Supreme Court. They also appealed to the Illinois General Assembly, who in February 1843 authorized the creation of Marquette County out of the eastern portion of Adams County, including Columbus. The issue quickly became a statewide party issue between Whigs and Democrats, who were competing for Illinois’s increased representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. In early April 1843, the residents of what would have been Marquette County refused to elect officials for the new county. The Illinois Supreme Court, by a one-vote majority, declared that Marquette County was a fact, even though residents refused to elect county officials. In 1847, the General Assembly authorized the creation of Highland County, which encompassed all of Marquette County and an additional thirty square miles of Adams County. However, the new Illinois Constitution of 1848 declared that all territory that had been stricken off from organized counties but had not been organized into a new county reverted to its original county. The new constitution settled the issue, and Adams County reverted to its original boundaries with Quincy as the county seat.
“An Act to create the county of Marquette, and for other purposes therein mentioned,” 11 February 1843, Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Thirteenth General Assembly (1843), 77-83; People ex rel. Redman v. Wren, 5 Ill. (4 Scammon) (1843) 269-85; “An Act to change the name of the county of Marquette, to organize the same, and to attach a portion of the county of Adams thereto; to provide for the collection of revenue therein, and for other purposes mentioned,” 27 February 1847, Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Fifteenth General Assembly (1847), 38-41; Ill. Const. (1848), art. VII, sec. 3; History of Adams County, Illinois, 285-95; William H. Collins and Cicero F. Perry, eds., Past and Present of the City of Quincy and Adams County (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1905), 53; Michael D. Sublett, Paper Counties: The Illinois Experience, 1825-1867 (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), 75-96; W. A. Richardson Jr., “Many Contests for the County Seat of Adams County, Ill.,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 17 (October 1924), 369-80.
Printed Document, 2 page(s),
Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly (Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841), 94-95, GA Session: 12-2,