Sangamon County Commissioners’ Court
The Sangamon County Commissioners’ Court was the governing body of Sangamon County from its creation in 1821 to 1848. Under provisions of the Illinois Constitution of 1818, each county was authorized to select three commissioners to transact county business. In 1819, the first Illinois General Assembly created a county commissioners’ court in each county in the state. Each court had three commissioners, and two commissioners constituted a quorum. Qualified voters elected commissioners, who held office for a term of two years. In April 1821, voters in Sangamon County elected the first county commissioners. In 1837, the General Assembly increased the term of commissioners to three years and provided for staggered elections to elect one commissioner each year. The commissioners appointed their own clerk until 1837, when the office became an elected position. The commissioners held four terms of court each year. The county commissioners’ court had jurisdiction throughout the county regarding county revenue, imposing and regulating county taxes, granting licenses, and managing public roads, canals, turnpikes, ferries, and bridges. The county commissioners’ court also had jurisdiction in all probate matters until the General Assembly created the probate court in 1821. The new constitution of 1848 abolished the county commissioners’ court, and the county courts assumed jurisdiction of county business.
Ill. Const. of 1818, Sch. IV; “An Act Establishing the Courts of County Commissioners,” 22 March 1819, Revised Laws of Illinois (1833), 142-44; History of Sangamon County Illinois (Chicago: Inter-State, 1881), 48; “Court Structure,” in Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds. The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln, 2d ed. (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Reference.aspx?ref=Reference html files/Court Structure.html.