3 May 2005
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally Published 1885
Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society
Pages 809 - 813
ACTS OF THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
The first meeting of the Commissioners’ Court was held at the house of William D. Dudley, in Lyndon Township, May 16, 1839. Nathaniel G. Reynolds, Elijah Worthington and John B. Dodge qualified as Commissioners. Guy Ray was appointed, and took the oath of office as Clerk of the Board, having given satisfactory bonds for the faithful discharge of the duties of the office.
The second meeting was held at the school-house near the residence of Mr. Dudley.
The county was divided into 11 road districts, bounded as follows:
Road District No. 1 to comprise that portion of the county south of Rock River and east of township line between ranges 5 and 6 east. William W. Durant to be Supervisor.
Road District No. 2 to comprise that portion of the county south of Rock River, east of the west line of section 35, township 19 north, range 4 east, to line of range 5 east. Erastus G. Nichols, Supervisor.
Road District No. 3 to comprise all the territory south of Rock River, west of section 35, township 19 north, range 4 eat. James Rowe, Supervisor.
Road District No. 4 to comprise all that part of Elkhorn precinct north of the township line running east and west between townships 21 and 22 north. Joseph Nelson, Supervisor.
Road District No. 5 to comprise all that portion of Elkhorn precinct lying south of the east and west line between townships 21 and 22 north. Nelson Mason, Supervisor.
Road District No. 6 to comprise all that part called Genesee precinct. Ivory Colcord, Supervisor.
Road District No. 7 to comprise all the territory east of the center of township 26 north, range 4 east. David Hazard, Supervisor.
Road District No. 8 to comprise all the territory west of the east line of range 4 east. Arthur Putney, Supervisor.
Road District No. 9 to comprise all the territory in Union precinct. John W. Stakes, Supervisor.
Road District No. 10 to comprise all the territory in Fulton precinct. John Baker, Supervisor.
Road District No. 11, to comprise all the territory in Albany precinct. Gilbert Bukingham, Supervisor.
All persons subject to road labor were each required to labor on the roads five days.
Assessors for the different precincts were appointed as follows: Union, Henry Boyer; Portland, Ebenezer Seely; Elkhorn, John W. McLemore; Genesee, William Wick; Fulton, Hosea Jacobs; Albany, Lewis Spurlock; Little Rock, Chauncy G. Woodruff.
After appointing assessors in the various precincts, Court adjourned till Monday, June 3, 1839.
On the 3rd of June the Court met, but transacted no business, adjourning till the following day.
The first business transacted was the appointment of John Wick, Assessor of Genesee precinct, instead of William Wick, who declined to serve.
A petition was presented asking the formation of an election precinct, to be known as Round Grove, and bounded on the east by Elkhorn River; on the north and west by the north and west line of township 21, range 6 east; also by the west line of township 20, range 6 east; to Rock River; on the south by Rock River. The elections to be held at the school-house in Round Grove. The petition was signed by R. J. Jenks, Charles C. Jenks, William Pilgrim, N. P. Thompson, Joel Harvey, Caleb Plummer, William H. McLemore, John Washy, Levi Gaston, Joseph Jones, Samuel Higby,, Thomas Matthews, Earle A. Somers, George Higby, W. Morrison, John Van Tassel, F. Simonson, Clement D. Nance. The petition was granted with a change in the boundary line, the east line being made township 21, range 6 east, and Elkhorn Creek. R. J. Jenks, George Higby and Joel Harvey were appointed Judges of Election.
A petition was received from Fulton City, urging the Board not to grant license for the sale of ardent spirits by the drink. This petition was signed by Daniel Reed, William Ross, Richard L. Mills, Elijah K. Webb, John H. Prentiss, H. Chenery, A. Phelps, W. Knight, W. V. Ives, Henry Bond, Lewis Graves, H. F. Rice, Moses W. Jenks, Reuben S. Rhodes, Nathan Scott, John Morgan. It is supposed the request of the petitioners was compiled with, as there is no entry of license being granted.
George P. Dennis was appointed Special Constable at this session to serve the notices of the Court.
The rates of toll for ferriage across Rock River were made as follows:
One person 12 ½
Wagon or carriage drawn by two horses 75
For every additional ox or horse 12 ½
Wagon drawn by one horse 37 ½
Cart drawn by horses or oxen 50
Cattle, hogs, goats, each head 6 1/4
Sheep, each 3
The ferriage was to be free for citizens of the county, the Court appropriating the sum of $40 per year as compensation to the owner of the ferry for that purpose.
John W. McLemore was appointed Collector of taxes for the year 1839.
The Court adjourned to meet at the house of Dr. Stickel, in Lyndon, the first Tuesday in July.
At this meeting the Commissioners drew lots for the term of office. Nathaniel G. Reynolds drew for one year; Elijah Worthington for two years; John B. Dodge for three years.
Judges of Election were appointed at this term for the various precincts.
At the December, 1839, meeting, Simeon S. Page was allowed $30 for use of his ferry during the past season. Edward S. Gage was allowed $65 for the same purpose, and William Knox $20 in addition to what had already been allowed him for the same purpose.
The Clerk was authorized to employ Jonathan Haines to make a seal for the county, either of copper, brass or silver.
At the March, 1840, term of the Court, Hosea Jacobs, William Sampson and Hiram Harmon appeared and qualified as County Commissioners. The first named drew the ticket for term of service which expired the first Monday in August, 1840. William Sampson drew for the term that expired the first Monday in August, 1841. Hiram Harmon drew for the term which expired the first Monday in August, 1842.
Caleb Clark was authorized to keep a ferry across the Mississippi River at Fulton city for the period of one year on the payment of a license fee of $10. The rates of toll were fixed as follows:
For each footman $ .25
Man and horse .75
Head of cattle .25
Two-wheel carriage 1.00
Yoke of oxen and wagon loaded 1.50
Additional ox or horse .25
Head of hogs or sheep .12 ½
One horse and wagon 1.00
The Clerk of the Commissioners’ Court was authorized to call upon the Clerk of Commissioners’ Court of Ogle County for a transcript of the election of all justices of the peace and the time of qualification, together with a transcript of the boundaries of election precincts.
John W. McLemore was appointed Assessor for the county.
Simeon M. Coe contested the election of William Sampson, and on the 31st day March Van J. Adams, Daniel Brooks and A. C. Jackson, Justices of the Peace, sat as a court to hear and determine who was entitled to the seat. After hearing the evidence they decided that Mr. Coe was entitled to the certificate of election and instructed the Clerk of the Commissioners’ Court to make out and certify to him the fact of his election. It was accordingly done, and Simeon M. Coe appeared at the June term and took the oath of office.
It was ordered by the Court that its members should draw by lot for the term of service. Mr. Harmon objected, probably on the ground that he had already drawn, and that Mr. Coe should serve the time drawn by Mr. Sampson. His protest was not heeded. Hosea Jacobs drew one year. Simeon M. Coe drew three years. Mr. Harmon refused to draw.
D. B. Young was appointed School Commissioner.
At the December, 1840, term it was ordered that Portland Precinct be divided into three precincts, as follows: All the territory south of Rock River in Whiteside County,, and east of the line north and south through the center of township 6 east of the fourth principal meridian, to be known as Rapids Precinct, the place of holding elections to be at the house of Edward Atkins; all the territory south of Rock River and west of Rapids Precinct, lying east of a certain slough, between Hiram Underhill;s and Richard Potter’s, on the south line of the county, thence northeasterly along the center of said slough and its outlet into Rock River, to be known as Prophetstown Precinct, and the place of holding elections to be at the house of Asa Crook; and all the territory west of Prophetstown Precinct, and south of Rock River, to remain as Portland Precinct, the place of holding elections to be at the house of Ebenezer Seely. William W. Durant, Daniel Brooks and L. H. Woodworth were appointed judges of election of Rapids Precinct; Asa Crook, Jabez Warner and N. G. Reynolds, of Prophetstown Precinct; and Daniel Blaisdell, William S. Crane, and Simeon Fuller, of Portland Precinct.
Guy Ray, Clerk of the Court, was allowed $7.80 for returning votes of August election for representative to Jo Daviess Country. On the same day Lyndon township was authorized to reorganize into a school district, and Edward S. Gage license to run a ferry across Rock River at Prophetstown.
Lyndon Township was authorized to organize into a school district.
Lewis D. Crandall, Arthur Putney and A. Smith were authorized to solicit subscriptions fo the construction of a bridge over the Meredosia River, near Rock River, on the mail route from Lyndon to Stephenson, and to expend the same in the construction of the bridge according to a plan to be furnished by Hosea Jacobs, provided it was done without cost to the county.
At the March session, in 1841, John Scott was authorized to operate a ferry across Rock River, at Como, by paying a license fee of $5. He was permitted to charge as ferriage “for each two-horse or ox wagon, with team, 50 cents; single wagon and horse, 25 cents; man and horse, 18 3/4 cents; footman, 6 1/4 cents; head of cattle, 6 1/4 cents; head of sheep or swine, 6 1/4 cents.
David and Samuel Mitchell wee authorized to operate a ferry across the Mississippi river at Albany.
At the April, 1841, term, Guy Ray, resigned the position of Clerk of the Commissioners; Court. Theodore Winn was appointed Clerk pro tem.
The following order was placed upon record: “Whereas, by virtue of an act of the General Assembly of the State of Illinois, passed on the 21st day of February, 1839, providing for the location of the county seat, or seat of justice, for Whiteside County and State aforesaid. To the end, therefore, we, the County Commissioners in and for said county, from a fair and impartial examination of the poll books now in the Clerk’s office of the County Commissioners; Court, do verily believe that the people of said county have placed the county seat at the town of Sterling, in said county; do therefore order the Circuit and County Commissioners’ Court to be holden in and at the town of Sterling, in said county, and do direct this order to be put on the record of this Court, and that a copy of this order be served upon the Sheriff of this county, and also on the Clerk of theCircuit Court.”
The June term of the Court was held at Sterling, commencing June 8.
Royal Jacobs was allowed three months additional time in which to complete a horse ferry-boat to be run across the Mississippi River at Fulton. Mr. Jacobs was the assignee of A. M. Wing and others. He was required to give bond to run the ferry according to law.
The following order was entered upon the records: Whereas, by virtue of an act of the General Assembly of this State, passed and in force Feb. 21, 1839, entitled “An act to locate the county seat of Whiteside, and provide for election of county officers,” elections have been held in said county, pursuant to said law, and at the election held on the 23rd day of September, 1839, for the location of said county seat, the following was the result: Sterling received 264 votes; Lyndon received 253, and Windsor 4 votes. By virtue of said result, and in pursuance of said law, the County Commissioners, by an order entered on the record of said Court, declared Sterling the county seat of said county. And, further, the said Court now in session, and holding their June term, hereby order and direct that the Clerk of this Court proceed to the Land Office at Dixon and receive and obtain of an from the proper officers a full and complete title by pre-emption, as provided by law for the use and benefits of said county, for the southwest fractional quarter of section 22, township 21, range 7 east of the fourth principal meridian; that being the fractional quarter upon which the town or point, Sterling, Is now located, and that being the quarter now claimed by said Commissioners for the use of said county, by virtue of said location of the county seat, and in pursuance of law in such cases made and provided, directed by said Court this 8th day of June, 1841.
Whereas, the proprietors of the towns of Harrisburg and Chatham, at the Rapids in Elkhorn Precinct, have untied the said town plats, and have agreed to change the names of said towns to that of Sterling; and, whereas, by an act to locate the county seat of Whiteside, it shall be lawful for individuals of said county to offer donations of lands to the county of Whiteside whereon to locate the seat of justice of said county, the proprietors of said Sterling offer the following donations: Eighty acres of land bounded as follows: Beginning at a point in Broadway and Fourth Street, being the center of said town, thence west 50 rods, thence north 120, thence east 80 roods, thence south 120 rods, thence west 30 rods to the place of beginning, containing 60 acres, and to be deeded to the Commissioners by the proprietors of the part of the town formerly known as Harrisburg; also 20 acres adjoining and being partly between said 60 acres and the river, to be bounded by streets and alleys, and extending west to the section line of 21, and to be deeded to the Commissioners by the proprietors of that part of the town formerly know as Chatham; and further, the proprietors of each of the above named places offer and agree to pay to the County Commissioners $1,000 for county purposes, and to be paid in equal payments in three, six, nine and twelve months from the day and date of the location of the county seat, making in the whole a donation of 80 acres of land and $1,000; provided the public buildings for said county shall be placed in block 58, west of Broadway, being a central position in said town.”
The offer was dated at Sterling, May 3, 1839, and was signed by Nelson Mason, J. D. Barnett, Hezekiah Brink, E. Worthngton, Hugh Wallace.
The Commissioners accepting the offer made, spread an order upon their records in which it was provided that the sum of $2,000 received from the proprietors of the town of Sterling should not become a part of the general fund of the county, but was to be used solely for the purpose of erecting the county buildings on block 58 of the town of Sterling.
Robert L.. Wilson was appointed a Commissioner of the part of the county to superintend the sale and conveyance of the lots of the county in the town of Sterling.
At the September term Daniel Blaisdell appeared as one of the Commissioners. John Roy gave bonds as Clerk of the Commissioners’ Court.
R. L. Wilson made his report in relation to the disposal of the real estate of the county. He sold lots amounting to $583.37 ½, and reported that he had taken notes for the sum of $2,000, offered by the proprietors of the town, all of which was amply secured.
Jacob Whipple was appointed an agent in the following Terms:
“Ordered, that Jacob Whipple be and he Is hereby appointed an agent to make contracts on behalf of the county of Whiteside for all necessary materials for the erection of public buildings in said county, and he hereby empowered to collect, sue for and receive moneys now due or hereafter to become due and payable to said county and for said purposes in such sums and at such times as he may deem necessary for the erection of said buildings, not to exceed $2,000, and that he proceed to do the same without unnecessary delay after giving a bond with good security approved by the Clerk.”
It was further ordered “That the Court-House to be erected for the county of Whiteside to be 37 feet long by 30 feet wide; lower story eight feet high; upper story eleven feet high in the clear; passage through the lower story seven feet wide; balance of lower story to be divided into four rooms; house to be covered with white pine shingles, and finished in a plain and substantial manner. That our agent issue specifications and receive proposals for the building of said Court-House without unnecessary delay and report to our next Court.
At the December, 1841, term of the Court the order in relation to the size of the Court-House was amended to as to read that the Court-House should be 40 feet square, the lower story nine feet high n the clear, the upper story 12 feet high, in the clear, with a passage ten feet wide in the lower story, which was to be divided into six rooms.
Col. Whipple was removed as agent for making contracts for material to be used in the erection of the Court-House, and William Sampson appointed in his place, in January, 1843. He was authorized to demand of Whipple all contracts, money, or other valuables in his possession belonging to the county. Mr. Sampson reported to the Commissioners that he called on Whipple, as directed, and was sent by him to R. L. Wilson, but could get no satisfaction.
At the March, 1843, term; William Sampson was appointed an agent to settle with Col. Wilson, Commissioner appointed by the Court to dispose of the real estate donated to the county, the proceeds of which were applied in the erection of county buildings. The order was subsequently rescinded.
The County Commissioners met at their June term, at Lyndon, that town having been selected as the county seat by the Commissioners appointed by an act of the General Assembly, approved Feb. 28, 1843. Daniel Blaisdell, David Mitchell and Henry Boyer, Commissioners, were present.
William Sampson was again appointed agent of the county for the purpose of making contracts for material to be used for public buildings.
At the March term in 1844, Jacob Whipple resigned the position of agent for the county to superintend the erection of public buildings, and Joel Harvey was appointed in his place.
At the March, 1845, term it was ordered that the people of Sterling have the use of the Court-House for religious services, and that Rev. George Stebbins have the use of two rooms for school purposes.
The June 1847, term, of the Court was held at Sterling.
At the March, 1848, term, Thomas W. Trumbull made demand on the Commissioners that they should deed back to him certain real estate which he had donated for county purposes at Lyndon, the seat of justice having been removed to Sterling. M. S. Henry was appointed Commissioner to deed Mr. Trumbull the land claimed.