In force, Jan.[January] 20, 1841.
An ACT for the formation of the County of Mason.1
Boundaries of the county of Mason.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That all that part of the counties of Menard and Tazewell, included within the following boundaries, to-wit:
Beginning at the mouth of the Sangamon river, running thence with the channel of said river, to the mouth of Salt creek; running thence with the channel of said creek, until it intersects the range line, between ranges four and five; thence north with said range line, to the north line of Logan county; thence west six miles; thence north to the centre of township twenty-three north, range six, west of the third principal meridian; thence west to the Illinois river; thence with the channel of the said Illinois river to the place of beginning, which shall constitute a county to be called the county of Mason.2
All officers in said boundaries to hold their offices.
Sec. 2. All justices of the peace and constables heretofore duly elected and qualified in and for the county (of) Menard and Tazewell, and who now reside within the aforesaid boundaries of the county of Mason, shall hold their offices in and for the said county of Mason, the same as if no division had taken place.
Election of co.[county] officers.
Returns of election.
Sec. 3. The legal voters residing within the limits of said county of Mason, shall meet at the town of Havana, in said county, on the first Monday in April next, appoint judges and clerks of election and proceed to elect a sheriff, coroner, clerk of the county commissioners’ court, recorder, treasurer, probate justice of the peace, school commissioner, and three county commissioners for said county, and any other county officers pro-
<Page 2>vided by law, to be elected for counties, and the returns of said election shall be made by said judges and clerks, to the justices of the peace in said county of Mason, and any two or more of said justices shall meet at Havana at any time within five days after said election, and proceed to open said returns, make out abstracts of the same, and transmit one to the Secretary of State, and file one with the clerk of the county commissioners’ court of said county of Mason, and to do and perform all other duties now required by law, in like cases of the clerks of the county commissioners’ courts, and justices of the peace.3
Election for county seat.
Sec. 4. The legal voters of said county of Mason shall also, at the time and place, and in the manner specified in the third section of this act, vote for sites or places at which to locate and establish the permanent seat of justice of said county of Mason, and the site or place which shall receive the greatest number of votes, shall be and forever remain the permanent seat of justice or county seat of said county of Mason; and the judges and clerks of said election, are hereby authorized to open columns in their poll books, and receive votes for the same, said election to be conducted in all respects, and returns thereof made in the same manner as provided for in the third section of this act, and of the laws of this State in relation to elections:4 Provided however, That the judges and clerks of said election are not authorized to open columns or receive votes for any site or sites, place or places for said county seat, unless the proprietors or friends of said site or place shall first place in the hands of the judges of said election their promissory note drawn to the county commissioners of Mason county, or their successors in office, for the use of said county of Mason, for the sum of one thousand dollars payable three months after date, with good and sufficient security for the payment of the same, to be approved by the judges of said election, and shall also place in the hands of said judges a bond conditioned for a donation of real estate for the use of said county, on which to erect the public buildings; which donation shall not be less than one block of lots, if the county seat is located at a town already laid off, and not less than twenty acres if on land not heretofore laid off in town lots.
Notes and bonds, where filed.
Sec. 5. The judges of the aforesaid election shall deposit with the county commissioners of said county of Mason, as soon as said court shall be organized, the notes and bonds which may come into their hands in the manner specified in the proviso to the fourth section of this act, and said commissioners after the returns of said election shall have been made agreeable to the provisions of this act, and it shall have been finally decided which point has received the highest number of votes for the county seat, all the aforesaid notes and bonds shall be returned to the persons from whom they were re-
<Page 3>ceived, except those received from the friends or proprietors of that point, at which the county seat has been located.
Duty of school com’r.[commissioner]
Sec. 6. The school commissioner of the county of Mason as soon as he shall be duly elected, qualified, and commissioned, according to law, shall call upon the school commissioners of the counties of Menard and Tazewell, and demand of, and receive from them all notes, bonds, mortgages, or other writings or obligations, which may belong or be coming to said county of Mason; also, the distributive share of the school, college, and seminary fund which said county of Mason shall be entitled to.
Circuit court in said county
Sec. 7. The said county of Mason shall constitute a part of thejudicial circuit, and a circuit court shall be held for said county at some convenient house in the village of Havana until the public buildings shall be erected; the time of holding said court shall be appointed by the judge presiding on said circuit.5 This act to take effect from its passage.
Approved, January 20, 1841.
1Milton Carpenter introduced HB 95 to the House of Representatives on January 9, 1841, in response to several petitions. The House passed the bill on January 13. The Senate passed the bill on January 16. The Council of Revision approved the bill on January 20, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 203, 216, 220, 236, 250, 290; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 161, 167, 172.
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.
3One month later, the General Assembly supplemented this section by adding two additional polling places.
4For 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.
Sublett, Paper Counties, 14-18.
At the election in April 1841, voters cast 186 votes for Havana and 166 votes for Bath as the county seat.
Secretary of State, “Election Returns, Petitions, and Papers,” Record Series 103.032, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; The History of Menard and Mason Counties, Illinois (Chicago: O. L. Baskin & Co., 1879), 419.
Printed Document, 3 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly (Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841), 69-71, GA Session 12-2,