In force, Feb. 17, 1841.
Boundaries of Grundy county
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That all that tract of country, lying and being in the county of La Salle, in township thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three and thirty-four north, of ranges six, seven and eight east of the third principal meridian, shall constitute and form a new county, to be called Grundy.2
Election of county officers.
Term of office.
Judges of election
Returns of election how made
Sec. 2. An election shall be held at the house of S. Piney, on the fourth Monday of May next, for the purpose of electing one sheriff, one recorder, one county surveyor, one probate justice, one county treasurer, and three county commissioners, and one county commissioners’ clerk, who shall hold their offices until the next general election, or until their successors in office shall be elected and qualified; said election shall be conducted according to the laws regulating elections in this State.3 Perry A. Claypool, Robert Walker, and John Beard, sen. shall be the judges of said election, and shall make the returns within five days after such election to the county commissioners’ clerk of La Salle county, and the clerk of said county shall give certificates of election, as in other cases for county officers, and the said county of Grundy shall be organized so soon as the said officers shall be elected and qualified.
Comm’rs[Commissioners] to locate county seat.
Sec. 3.4 Ward B. Burnett, Rulief S. Derwyea, and William E. Armstrong, be appointed in conjunction with the commissioners of the Illinois and Michigan canal,5 to locate the seat of justice of the said county of Grundy.6
County seat to be located on canal lands
To be laid off in lots
Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the said commissioners to locate the said seat of justice on the line of the Illinois and Michigan canal, on canal lands, and they shall set apart for this purpose any quantity of the canal lands not exceeding ten acres, and after doing so shall proceed to lay off the said land as a town site, embracing lots, streets, alleys, and a public square, in such manner as they shall deem proper.7
Sec. 5. They shall divide the said lots in equal numbers between the State and the said county, and shall allot to the State and the county alternate lots of equal value, or as nearly so as may be practicable.
Liability of com’rs[Commissioners] for payment of money
Gov. to issue patent to commiss’rs of Grundy county.
Sec. 6. It shall be the duty of the canal commissioners to require of the said county, and the inhabitants thereof, in their corporate capacity, shall be liable to them for the payment of a sum equal to ten dollars per acre for one half
<Page 2>of the whole quantity of land to be located as aforesaid, upon the payment of which sum the canal commissioners shall certify the fact to the Governor, who shall thereupon issue a patent to the county commissioners of said county and their successors in office, for the use of the said county, for that portion of the lots, by number, which shall be allotted to the county; Provided always, That the monies to be received by the canal commissioners, by virtue of this section of this act, shall be applied in aid of the construction of the Illinois and Michigan canal.
Appointment of assessor and collector.
Assessment declared legal
Sec. 7. The county commissioners shall meet on the second Monday of June next, and appoint one assessor, and one collector, and such assessor and collector shall proceed to levy and collect said tax from the taxable inhabitants of said county according to the laws of this State, and said assessment shall be as legal as if the county of Grundy had been organized previous to the first Monday of March, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one.
Place of holding courts.
Grundy attached to 9th judicial circuit.
Two terms o court each year
Sec. 8. The county commissioners shall prepare a place for holding courts in said county until there shall be public buildings erected. The county of Grundy shall be attached to the ninth judicial circuit;8 and the different times of holding courts shall be appointed by the judge in the above named circuit, so as to hold two terms in each year; all suits commenced in La Salle circuit court shall be determined there, although the parties may reside in Grundy county, until after the passage of this act, and the election of officers takes place as provided for in this act.
Sec. 9. It shall be the duty of the school commissioner of La Salle county to pay over and cause to be paid over to the school commissioner of Grundy county, as soon as there may be one appointed, all monies, papers, vouchers, &c. that he or they may have belonging to the said county of Grundy.
Approved, February 17, 1841.
1On January 16, 1841, Milton Carpenter introduced HB 119 in the Illinois House of Representatives. On February 4, the House passed the bill. On February 12, the Illinois Senate passed the bill. On February 17, the Illinois Council of Revision approved the bill, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 234-35, 245, 263, 280, 329, 380, 421, 423-24; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 242, 250, 289, 304.
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.
3On May 24, 1841, 148 voters cast their ballots. Approximately one-third were Irish laborers on the Illinois and Michigan Canal, who were resident in the county for only a short time.
History of Grundy County, Illinois (Chicago: O. L. Baskin & Co., 1882), 143.
4On January 22, the Committee on Canals and Canal Lands proposed an amendment that struck out the third section of the original bill, replaced it, and added three additional sections. The House approved the amendment.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 262.
5The canal commissioners at this time were Isaac N. Morris, Jacob Fry, and Newton Cloud.
The Illinois Free Trader (Ottawa), 26 February 1841, 2:2.
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.
Sublett, Paper Counties, 14-18.
7On January 19, 1841, the House of Representatives debated a provision calling on the State to cede fifteen acres of canal lands for a county seat. Richard G. Murphy, Abram R. Dodge, and other representatives insisted that placing the county seat on canal lands would enhance the value of said lands; John A. McClernand argued that the State had no authority to cede the canal lands, which the Federal Government had given to the State for the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The State was to sell the lands to finance the canal; McClernand feared that ceding the lands to the new county without charge would create a dangerous precedent and eventually force the General Assembly to tax the people of Illinois to pay for the canal.
Illinois State Register (Springfield), 29 January 1841, 2:7.
The requirement that the county seat be located on the Illinois and Michigan Canal limited it two two sites, one in section 7 and the other in section 9 of Township 33 North, Range 7 East of the Third Principal Meridian. Two of the canal commissioners, Fry and Cloud, favored section 7, while commissioners Burnett, Duryea, and Armstrong, and most residents of the county favored section 9. There was a deadlock over the location of the county seat from the summer of 1841 to the spring of 1842. Canal commissioner Morris eventually voted with the other commissioners in favor of section 9, and the little village of Grundy was renamed Morris, in his honor.
History of Grundy County, 187-91.
8When the Illinois General Assembly reorganized all of the state’s judicial circuits six days later, they assigned Grundy County to the Seventh Judicial Circuit.
Printed Document, 2 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly (Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841), 74-75, GA Session 12-2, .