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Formation of Bureau Co.
Submitted by Bob Johnson. Source: Map & Sketches of Bureau County, ILL, 1867, by N. Matson


During the winter of 1836-7, the people of Bureau began to agitate the subject of forming a new County, the great distance of part of the settlement from the County Seat, and the river, at some seasons of the year, overflowing its banks, making it almost impossible to get to Hennepin to transact business, made the division a matter of absolute necessity.

A petition was forwarded to the Legislature, and on the 28th of February, 1837, an act was passed creating the County of Bureau, fixing its boundaries, as it now stands, except the towns of Milo and Wheatland, which ewere afterward added on the formation of Stark and Marshall Counties; the provisions of the act were not to be carried into effect unless a majority of the voters in the County approved of it. The election came off on the first Monday in April, and was one of the most exciting ever witnessed in the County. On the West side of the river, within the prescribed limits of Bureau, voting en masse for-while the East side voted against the proposition; it was carried by a majority of 30. When the result was known there was great rejoicing by the citizens of Bureau, in Princeton; there were firing of guns, bonfires, torch-light processions and other tokens of joy. On the East side of the river, especiallu at Hennepin, the feeling was very different, they contended that the election was fraudulent and unfair, and bu that means had been cheated out of their rights.*

Three Commissioners were appointed to locate the County seat. They met in May and located the same at Princeton. An election was held on the first Monday of June, following, when Robert Masters, Arthur Bryant, and William Hoskins were elected County Commissioners; Cyrus Langworthy, Sheriff; Thomas Mercer, Clerk; and John H. Bryant, Recorder.

*On the day of elections Hennepin sent a delegation to Princeton, to guard the poles, and challenge voters; they soon got into an agreement with these having different views of the matter, all parties got very much excited, they finely left in disgust, returned to Hennepin, and said every boy of sixteen had voted and some women dressed in men's clothes. There is  no doubt that many illegal otes were cast on both sides of the river; but it was contended that the ends to be obtained would justify the means. The author of these sketches, although a minor, was forced into the ranks and compelled to vote. It was some years aftrerward, before this County could poll so large a vote as on that occasion.



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