In force, Jan. [January] 20, 1841.
An ACT to establish the county of Henderson.1
Bounds of Henderson county.
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the People of the, State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That all that part of the now county of Warren, lying west of range three, west of the fourth principal meridian, be, and the same is hereby created into a new county, to be called the county of Henderson.2
Location of county seat.
Sec. 2. The county seat of said county of Henderson shall be, and is hereby permanently located at the town of Oquawka, in said county of Henderson;3 Provided, the proprietors of said town of Oquawka shall donate and convey to the county commissioners of Henderson county (for the time being) for the use and benefit of said county in fee simple, not less than two hundred of the average unsold or unimproved lots in said town of Oquawka, the proceeds of the sale of said town lots, or so much thereof as may be required, shall be appropriated exclusively to the erection of public buildings.
Sec. 3. In case of the removal of the county seat from said town of Oquawka, the public buildings and lots upon which they may stand, shall revert and become the property of said proprietors and their heirs forever thereafter, and also, all lots remaining unsold at the time of removal.
Election of county officers
Sec. 4. The legal voters of the county of Henderson shall meet at the usual places of holding elections in said county on the first Monday of April, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, and proceed to elect all county officers, excepting one county commissioner,4 and the justices of the peace and constables at present residing therein, who shall continue to discharge the duties of their offices respectively, in and for the county of Henderson, in the same manner as though Warren county had not been divided. The officers elected under the provisions of this act shall hold their offices until the next regu-
<Page 2>lar election, and until their successors are elected and qualified.
Term of office of co. com’rs.
Sec. 5. The county commissioners of said county of Henderson shall meet in the town of Oquawka, on the third Monday of April, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, and after being duly qualified, shall proceed to hold court and perform such duties as are required by law of other county commissioners’ courts. Of the commissioners elected under the provisions of this act, the one receiving the highest number of votes, shall hold his office for the term of three years from and after (the) first Monday in August next; the one receiving the second highest number of votes, shall hold his office for the term of two years from and after that period.5
Sale of lots at county seat.
Sec. 6. The county commissioners of said county shall, whenever in their opinion the interest of said county may demand and require the sale of the whole or any part of the lots donated as aforesaid, proceed to sell the same, in such manner, and on such terms as they may deem most advisable for the interest of said county.
Election returns of officers, how made.
Sec. 7. The election returns for the officers herein provided to be elected, shall be made in the same manner, and within the same time as all other elections, except that the returns shall be made to John B. Patterson, an acting justice of the peace of said county, or in case of his death, or inability to act, any other justice of the peace of said county, who shall call to his assistance two other justices of the peace of said county, and proceed to open the returns of the election, and in all things perform the duties required of the clerk of the county commissioners’ court and justices of the peace in like cases.
Co. com’rs to select town lots.
Sec. 8. The county commissioners’ court at their first term, to be holden on the third Monday of April, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, shall proceed, together with the proprietors of the said town of Oquawka, to select the number of town lots, herein before provided to be donated, and so soon as the selection shall be made and agreed upon, the proprietors shall immediately thereupon, execute a deed in fee simple for said lots, to the county commissioners for the time being, for the use and benefit of said county; which deed, when so made, and acknowledged and received, shall be entered upon the records of said court, and also be recorded as other deeds are in the office of the county recorder.
School com’r[commissioner] of Warren to pay over school funds.
Sec. 9. The school commissioner of Warren county shall pay over to the county commissioners of Henderson county, upon demand being made by the said county commissioners or their legally constituted agent, all monies, notes and other papers, which may be in his hands at the time of such demand, and which may rightfully belong to said county of Henderson by reason of the sale of any school lands located within the county of Henderson, and also its proper proportion of the interest arising from the school, college, and seminary fund;
<Page 3>the basis of which payment shall be made upon the late census of Warren county.6
Officers to take oath and give bond.
Sec. 10. All officers elected under and pursuant to the provisions of this act shall be required to take such oath or affirmation, and give such bond and security, as are, or may be required of like officers in other counties, and for a failure so to do, the same penalties and forfeitures shall apply as in similar cases under the laws of this State.
Tax for State and county purposes.
Sec. 11. It shall be the duty of the county commissioners’ court of the county of Henderson, at their first meeting on the third Monday of April next, as is provided in the fifth section of this act, to proceed to levy a tax for State and county purposes, as is required by the laws in relation to the public revenue, in the same manner as though they had met on the first Monday in March as now required, and shall also do and perform all other things necessary and lawful to insure the collection of the State and county revenue in said county of Henderson.7
Approved, January 20, 1841.
1Wyatt B. Stapp presented a petition from 766 citizens of Warren County to the Senate on December 21, 1840, requesting a division of the county, and the Senate referred it to the Committee on Counties. John Moore introduced SB 65 the next day. The Senate passed two amendments on December 24, adding an 11th section and a clause to the 9th section. The Senate passed the bill on December 28. 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., 162, 206, 220, 239; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 96, 105, 116, 119, 176, 177, 212.
2Between statehood in 1818 and 1867, the Illinois General Assembly authorized the creation of 104 Illinois counties. During Lincoln’s four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives, the General Assembly authorized 38 counties. The General Assembly allowed voters in the affected county or counties to accept or reject the creation of the new county in only twelve of those cases. In four instances, a majority of voters rejected the creation of the new county. The Illinois Constitution of 1848 made such referenda mandatory in the creation of new counties.
Michael D. Sublett, Paper Counties: The Illinois Experience, 1825-1867 (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), 12-14, 22; Ill. Const. (1848), art. VII.
3For 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, including this one.
Sublett, Paper Counties, 14-18.
5Later in the session, the General Assembly adopted an act that provided for one additional county commissioner.
6The Senate passed an amendment on December 24, 1840, adding all of the text from “and also” to the end of the section..
Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 116.
7The Senate passed an amendment on December 24, 1840, adding the 11th Section.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 116.
Printed Document, 3 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly (Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841), 67-69, GA Session 12-2,