Illinois Incorporation Act of 1831

Due to the increasing migration of people into Illinois and the resulting number of new settlements, the Illinois Legislature passed "An Act to Incorporate the Inhabitants of Such Towns as May Wish to be Incorporated" on February 12, 1831. The law led to a large number of towns becoming incorporated throughout the state during the 1830s.

According to the law, a town could be incorporated when 150 white males, who were at least 21-years of age and had resided in the town for at least six months or owned property, met and two-thirds approved the measure. The law then required the town elect five trustees who would select one of their members as president and assume the power of establishing town ordinances as well as approving shows and markets. The trustees were also required to maintain the town's infrastructure. The town government could levee a property tax, provided it did not exceed fifty cents on every hundred dollars, and impose various fines and fees. Elections would be held every year and trustees would be paid out of the town treasury. The incorporation could be nullified with another 2/3 majority vote and all funds remaining in the treasury would pass to the relevant county government. When a town incorporated, that act automatically repealed all previous legislation regulating its governance.

"An Act to Incorporate the Inhabitants of Such Towns as May Wish to be Incorporated," 12 February 1831, Laws of Illinois (1830), 82-87.