Chapter IX





THE civil history properly dates from the 23d of January, 1827, which was the period when the act of the legislature creating the county was approved by the Governor, and went into effect. Previous to the meeting of the legislature the people had c onsidered favorably the organization of a new county, and appointed a committee to attend the Meeting of the legislature at Vandalia, the state capital, and procure the passage of an act creating the new county. The committee, it is needless to say, succ eeded in their mission.

Little more than half a century has elapsed, since Shelby county had her birth, yet great have been the changes wrought within the time, and, mighty have been the events and revolutions, the discoveries and inventions that have occurred and been made on t his earth of ours. Perhaps since God "formed the earth and the world," and tossed it from the hollow of his hand into space, so many great things have not been accomplished in any fifty years. Reflection on these cannot fail to arouse wonder and to awak en thankfulness that God has appointed us the place we occupy in the eternal chain of events. Tennyson and Browning, Bryant and Whittier, Lowell and Longfellow have sung; the matchless Webster, the ornate Sumner, the eloquent Clay, the metaphysical Calho un, and Seward, have since reached the culmination of their powers, and sunk into the grave. Macaulay, Thiers, Guizot, and Proude, have written in noble strains the great history of their native lands; and Bancroft and Prescott, and Hildreth and Motley h ave won high rank among the historians of earth. Spurgeon, and Punshon, and Beecher, and Moody, have enforced with most persuasive eloquence, the duties of morality and religion. Carlyle and Emerson, and Stuart still and Spencer have given the results of their speculations in high philosophy to the world. And Abraham Lincoln, who during his earlier years was an occasional practitioner at the bar in this county, has been crowned the saviour of his country and benefactor of mankind; Morse has discovered h ow to bind the subtle fluid, electricity, and send it forth to do the bidding of man. McCormick has given to the wheat-growing belt the reaper, and the ocean cable has been laid by Field, along the "slimy bottom of the deep," and the Atlantic and Pacific have been united by iron bands. Mexico has been conquered, and a magnificent territory added to our western border, and Alaska has been purchased of Russia; the centre of population has traveled 250 miles along the 39th parallel, and many states have be en added to the glorious constellation on the blue field of our flag. Great cities have been created, and populous counties developed. And the stream of emigration is still tending westward. Gold has been discovered in the far west, which has gathered her busy populations, and the great war for the Union has been fought and won.

The act creating the county specified that it should be called Shelby. This name was conferred upon it in honor of Isaac Shelby, whose fame at the time extended throughout the nation. He was a native of Maryland, born December 11th, 1750. He served in the Revolution as a soldier, and afterwards filled many offices in civil life. He died in Lincoln county, Kentucky, July 18th, 1826. In 1771 he removed to the west, and in 1774 served as a lieutenant in an expedition against the Indians. When the revol ution broke out he became a captain of a military company in Virgina. In 1777 he was placed in charge of the commissary department, for the frontier militia. In 1779 he was elected to the house of delegates of Virginia, and, soon after received a Major' s commission, and the next year was promoted to the rank of Colonel for bravery at the battle of King's Mountain. On the 7th of October, 1780, he received a vote of thanks and a sword from the legislature of North Carolina, of which he was elected a memb er in 1781-1782. In 1781 he served in Marion's campaign, and on the organization of the state of Kentucky, in 1792, he was chosen Governor, and held the office four years, and again from 1812 to 1816. In 1813 Governor Shelby joined General Harrison at t he head of four thousand Kentuckians, served at the battle of Thames, and owing to bravery and gallantry displayed at that battle, was presented by Congress with a gold medal. Such in brief is the record of the brave man from whom Shelby county derived i ts name. It was specified in the act creating the county, that the seat of justice and capital of the county should be called Shelbyville, thereby adding an additional honor, if possible to the name of the man they are both intended to perpetuate. Shelby county has been very fortunate in the selection of public officers. They have been from the first men of integrity and capacity, and the affairs have therefore been managed with economy and faithfulness. No base set of men have every gained contr ol to plunder her treasury and destroy her credit, while growing rich upon the spoils of office. The character of her thrifty and moral people has prevented such a misfortune. The citizens of this county have reason to be proud of the past. Never since the county had an existence has the nation called upon the sons of Shelby in vain. Read the chapter on Patriotism, and you will see how many have offered their sword when their country was in danger. They volunteered when Black Hawk made war on defense less or feeble settlements. They volunteered to fight for the honor of the flag in a foreign clime, and the bones of some of Shelby county's sons now lie mingling with the soil of Mexico. They came grandly forward when traitors threatened the nation's l ife, and many laid down their lives that the Union might live; and their bones are now mouldering beneath the soil of the hills and vales, and upon the plains of the sunny south. Shelby county has fostered public schools, and has been rewarded therefor. Her people are intelligent and educated, industrious and enterprising. A great future is yet in store. A great material prosperity, and it is to be hoped a greater intellectual prosperity. After all the best crop, is a crop of chaste noble women, and brave noble men. The county has produced great men in the past. The voice of her sons has been listened to with attention in the higher councils of the nation, and has too been i nspiringly heard upon the battle-field. Great has been the prosperity and growth of this county in the fifty-three years of her existence as a political section of the state. But she has room for thousands more; ten times the population can find support upon her soil, and at a no distant day they will be here. In 1827 the legislature, in session at the capital, Vandalia, passed an act entitled "An act creating the county of Shelby," and appointing commissioners to select a seat of justice, whose names appear in the report which is appended.

"An Act creating Shelby 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 within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the

Page 53

north-west corner of section nineteen, in township nine north, range one east, of the third principal meridian, thence north on the said meridian line, thirty miles to the north-west corner of section nineteen, in township fourteen north; thence east thir ty-six miles to the north-east corner of section twenty-four, township fourteen north, range six east; thence south thirty miles to the south-east corner of section thirteen; thence west thirty-six miles to the place, shall constitute a new county, to be called Shelby.*

SEC. 2. For the purpose of fixing the permanent seat of justice of said county, the following persons are appointed commissioners, to wit: John Hopton, Easton Whiton, and William L. D. Ewing, who, or a majority of them, being first duly sworn befor e some justice of the peace of this state, faithfully to take into view the convenience of the people, the situation of the settlement, with an eye to future population, and the eligibility of the place; shall meet at the house of Barnet Bone, in said cou nty, on the first Monday of April next, and proceed to examine and determine on a place for the permanent seat of justice of said county, and designate the same: Provided, The proprietor or proprietors of said land shall give to the county for the purpose of erecting public buildings, a quantity of land, not less than twenty acres, to be laid out in a square form, and divided into lots of a convenient size, and sold for the purpose of erecting public buildings in said county; but should the proprie tor or proprietors refuse to make the donation its aforesaid, then, in that case, it shall be the duty of the said commissioners to fix on some other place for the seat of justice, as convenient as may be, to the place first selected: Provided, The proprietor or proprietors of the land, shall make a donation of twenty acres of land to be laid out as, above provided for: which. place, when so fixed upon, shall be the count seat of said county.

The said commissioners shall certify, their proceedings to the next county commissioners court, to be held in and for said county; which court shall cause a record thereof to be made in their books.

SEC. 3. Until public buildings shall be erected for the purpose, the courts shall be held at the house of Barnet Bone, in said county.

SEC. 4. An election shall be held at the house of the said Barnet Bone, on the second Monday of April next, for one sheriff, one coroner, and three county commissioners for said county; who shall hold their offices until the next general election, and unt il their successors are qualified; which said election shall be conducted in all respects agreeably to the provisions of the law regulating Elections. Provided, That the qualified voters present, may elect from among their number present, three qua lified voters to act as judges of said election, who shall appoint two qualified voters to act as clerks.

SEC. 5. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the circuit court of said county, to give public notice at least ten days previous to the election, to be held on the second Monday in April next; and in case there shall be no clerk in said county, it shall be the duty of the recorder, or any justice of the peace residing within the limits of said county, and commisioned a justice of the peace for the county

*A law was passed by the Legislature, and approved by the Governor, Feb. 26th, 1830, taking off from the west side of Shelby county, townships eleven, twelve, thirteen, and the south half of fourteen north, range one, east of the third P. M., and the same went to form a part of "Dane," now Christian county. (The said townships are better known to the reader as Pana, Assumption and Prairieton.) At the session of the Legislature in 1842-3, about five townships in the north-cast part of the c ounty, were taken to form a part of Moultrie county. The majority of the citizens of Shelby county willingly assented to the passage of the above Acts. The reader by referring to the outline map in this work, will be able to see the area of territory gi ven to form part of Moultrie County. The majority of citizens of Shelby county willingly assented to the passage of the above Acts. The reader by referring to the outline map in this work, will be able to see the area of territory given to form part of Mo ultrie county.

of Fayette, to give notice of the time and place of holding said election.

SEC. 6. The citizens of the said county of Shelby are hereby entitled in all respects to the same rights and privileges, as are allowed in general, to the other counties of this state.

SEC. 7. The commissioners appointed to locate the seat of justice of said county of Shelby, shall receive the sum of one dollar and fifty cents per day, for each day by them necessarily spent in discharging the duties imposed on them by this act, to be al lowed by the county commissioners' court, and to be paid out of the treasury of said county.

SEC. 8. All that tract of country lying north of the aforesaid county of, and within the present boundaries of the county of Fayette, shall be attached to the said county of Shelby until otherwise provided by law; and for members of the general assembly, said county of Shelby and the attached parts thereof, shall vote with Fayette, Bond, and Montgomery counties; and the clerks of the counties of Bond, Fayette, Montgomery, and Shelby, shall meet at Vandalia, the county seat of Fayette, to compare the numbe r of votes given for senator and representatives to the general assembly, and sign the necessary certificates of election at Vandalia, and forward the same to the person or persons entitled to such certificate of election.

SEC. 9. The county seat of Shelby county, when established, shall be called Shelbyville.

SEC. 10. The north half of township nine north, range one west, all of townships ten, eleven, and twelve, north, range one west of the third principal meridian, shall be attached to the county of Montomery; and the citizens within the tract of country ab ove described shall have the same rights and privileges as the citizens of the county now, or shall hereafter have.

SEC. 11. The said county of Shelby shall be, and is hereby attached to the second judicial circuit.

This. act to take effect from its passage.

Approved, January 23d, 1827.



The law establishing the county, it will be observed, provided for the election of a county commissioners' court, a sheriff and coroner. The election to be held at the house of Barnet Bone, on the second Monday of April, 1827; the vote resulted in the ch oice of John Whitley, Levi Casey and William Weger for commissioners; William Williamson was elected sheriff, and Isaac Martin coroner.

The first meeting of the county commissioners' court was held at the residence of Barnet Bone, and Joseph Oliver was appointed county clerk, in addition to which he perf6rmed the duties of county recorder and circuit clerk. William Williamson was appoint ed surveyor, and laid out the county seat.

Believing it will be of interest to our readers we append some of the early court papers and legal documents as appear on record.


At a special term of the County Commissioners' Court, in the county of Shelby, began and held on Tuesday, the 24th day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven:--

"The Court having taken their seats without a clerk, it is ordered
County Commissioners.
Page 54

by the court, that Joseph Oliver be appointed clerk of this court. And the said Oliver, after his appointment, took the necessary oaths of office, and gave bond with Thomas Robertson, his security, in the penal sum of one thousand dollars, conditioned as the law directs, which is ordered to be filed."

The location made by the commissioners, appointed to fix the county seat of Shelby county, was received by the court and ordered to be entered upon record. Which reads as follows:-

State of Illinois, Shelby County We, the undersigned commissioners, appointed under the authority of the Act creating Shelby County, to locate the seat of justice for the same, being sworn as required by said Act, did meet at Barnet Bone's at the time specified in said law, and from thence proceeded to examine the country, with a view to the selection of a proper and suitable site for said seat of justice, and having satisfied ourselves upon the subject, do unanimously select and agree upon the E. 1/2 of S. E. 1/4, of Section 7, Town 11 North, Range 4 East, as the tract upon which the town of Shelbyville shall be placed.--The public square.--A hickory stake which the said commissioners drove down on said tract, standing betwe en three red oaks--one at the distance of five paces in a northwest direction, one five paces in a north-east direction, and the other four paces in a south-east direction.

Given under our hands this fifth day of April, 1827.

Whiton received six dollars for four days services for locating county seat.

The above tract of laud has been entered in the land office at Vandalia, by Robt. K. McLaughlin, James M. Duncan and James T. B. Stapp, who have severally agreed to make collectively the donation required by law. April 5, 1827.


State of Illinois, Shelby County Be it remembered, that on this day personally came before William Hall, Senr., a Justice of the Peace, in and for said county, John Hopton, Easton Whiton and William Lee D. Ewing, commissione rs under the law, creating Shelby county, to locate the seat of justice for the same, and took the necessary oath required by said law.

Given under my hand this 2d of April, 1827.



The bond of Robt. K. McLaughlin, James M. Duncan and James T. B. Stapp, for the donation to locate the seat of justice for Shelby county, in the penal sum of two hundred dollars, was received by the court and ordered to be filed.

It is further ordered by the court that the clerk of the court receive the bond and have the same recorded.


Ordered by the court, that a tax of one-half per cent be levied on the following property for the county of Shelby, viz.: On slaves indentured and registered negroes, mulatto servants, pleasure carriages, on distilleries stock in trade, on all hors es, mules, asses, and neat cattle, three years old and upwards, on watches with their appendages, and all other personal property except household furniture, etc.

Ordered, that Asa Ledbetter, Esq., be appointed treasurer in and for the county of Shelby, and that he be required to give bond to the people, in the penal sum of two thousand dollars; the bond was presented to the court with Shelton Allphin and Ri chard Thomason his securities, which was received by the court and ordered to be filed.


Ordered, that Shelby county be laid off in the following, road districts, viz:--

First District commencing on the southern boundary of Shelby county, and running north to the middle of the prairie north on the road from the residence of James Hooper, shall compose the first road district, and all the lawful men living in what is calle d the Wakefield settlement, including those serving on the west side of the Kaskaskia River shall work the road in said district, and that Thomas Pugh, Esq., be appointed supervisor thereof.

Second District beginning at the middle of the prairie north of James Hooper's residence, and running north through the town of Shelbyville, to Drew's mill on the Kaskaskia River, shall compose the second road district, and that Wm. Parker shall be appoi nted supervisor, all the hands south of a line running by James Abbot's, by Drew's mill, to Samuel Hall, including the settlement of Robertson Creek, shall work in the Second road district, and the said supervisors are empowered to call on all able-bodied men of lawful age to work.

Wednesday, April 25, 1827. Court met pursuant to adjournment.


Ordered by the court that William Williamson be appointed to survey and lay out the seat of justice for the county of Shelby, and that the same be laid off according to the plan of the town of Vandalia, and the stakes shall be three inches square, two feet and a half long, one-half well drove in the ground; the said Williamson is required to make a return of the same, at the next term of this court, with a good plat with the name of the streets, blocks, number of the lots, etc.

W. Williamson was subsequently paid thirty dollars for his services for surveying the town of Shelbyville.

William Williamson was also appointed constable and sheriff.

Ordered that John Whitley, Levi Casey and William Weger, county Commissioners, respectfully be allowed the sum of one dollar and fifty cents for each day's service at the present term of this court.


At a term of the county commissioners' court of Shelby county, began and held at the house of Barnet Bone, on Monday, the fourth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven.

Ordered, that the following persons serve as grand jurors at the next term of the circuit court of Shelby county, to be held in said county on the third Monday in the month of September next, viz.:


James Renshaw, Jacob Elliott, Isaac Banghoe, Joseph Robertson, Thomas Lamb, John Richardson, Mills Whitley, Thomas Pugh, David Beck, Chas. Wakefield, Jonathan Howard, Thomas Robertson, John Lee, Senr., David Hinton, William Hall, Senr., William Miller, Sh elton Allphin, Robert Kerlyle, Lewis Ledbetter, John Weger, Francis Jordan, James Jordan, Levi Jordan.

Page 55


Jonathan C. Cawley, William Scribner, Rollo Calvert, L. S. Mosley, John Harris, Reuben Milton, Daniel Hoffrnan, Abraham Tetricks, Rufus Immond, Richard Thomason, William Thomason, Robert David, Barnet Bone, Samuel Little, William Little, Senr., Sharp Whit ley, William Bone, Charles Miller, Senr., John Walker, Lloyd Lee, Henry Smith, Nathaniel Hambleton, Daniel Price, Robert Duncan.


At a special term of the county commissioners court of Shelby county, began and held at the house of Barnet Bone, on Saturday, the sixteenth day of June, 1827.

Present, The HON. LEVI CASEY,
and Wm. WEGER.
County Commissoners.

Ordered, that Shelby county be laid off in two election districts, to wit, first election district to commence on the southern boundary of said County, running north as far as Township thirteen north, shall compose the first election district, to b e called Shelbyville district, and that William Hall, Senr., Levi Fleming and Thomas Pugh, be appointed judges of the election, and that the elections be held at the house of Barnet Bone.

2d election district beginning on the northern boundary of Township number thirteen north, and running north as far as the county of Shelby extends, and that Philip D. Williams, James Ward and Elisha Freeman be appointed judges of the election therein , and that the election be held at the house of Leonard Stephens, in said district.


In 1827, by order of the commissioners' court, an etray pen was constructed on the west half of lot number eight, in block number two; it was eighty feet long by seventy-six feet wide, made of mulberry posts and oak rails. John Abbott received nineteen d ollars for making the same. It was removed the following year to lot five on block number three, and reduced to half its size, the unused portion of posts and rails being given to Thos. Lee, as compensation for the trouble of removal.


On application of Elias Miller, of Shelby county, to keep a grocery, commonly called a tippling shop, in said county near Shelbyville, at the dwelling-house of said Miller, it is granted him, on the said Elias Miller entering into bond in the penal sum of two hundred dollars with John Thomason his security, and the said Miller paying into the county treasury the sum of five dollars. Therefore ordered, that the following tavern rates be established in the county of Shelby, viz.:

For keeping horse twenty-four hours37 1/2 cents.
" " one night25 "
For dinner25 "
" " breakfast or supper25 "
" " lodging one night6 1/4 "
" " half-pint brandy25 "
" " half-pint of rum, gin and cordial25 "
" " half-pint of whisky12 1/2 "
" " horse feed 12 1/2 "


Across the Kaskaskia River in Shelby county, was established by the commissioners' court, Dec., 1827.

On motion of Elias Miller to keep a ferry on the Kaskaskia River east of Shelbyville, it is granted him, on the said Elias Miller entering into bond in the penal sum of two hundred dollars, with Shelton Allphin his security, and that the said Elias Miller paying in the county treasury the sum of two dollars for the first year's tax, and the following rates to be established, viz. :

For wagon and four horses50 cents.
" two horse wagon37 1/2 "
" cart and oxen37 1/2 "
" man and horse12 1/2 "
" footman6 1/4 "
" wagon or cart and one horse25 "
" single horse6 1/4 "
" hogs and cattle, per bead3 "

The value of good roads to a nation and country can hardly be overestimated. They are evidences of a high civilization. Savages make no roads, and build no bridges, and it is only at the bidding of civilized man that the beautiful arch springs across the stream. A great people are road builders; and Rome retained sway over her conquered and remote provinces by means of the magnificent highways that radiated from her gates.

When the first settlers came, it is unnecessary to say that no roads existed. The wild Indian pursued his journey alone, the trail that had first been marked over the waste by the footsteps of the buffalo. Since that distant day much has been done to pr ovide roads along which products travel to the place of shipment; but the condition of our roads even now is far from being satisfactory. Business languishes a portion of the year, owing to the execrable state of the roads. Let the roads be improved, and our farm interests--the really important ones of a nation or a community -- will grow apace. Our soil is so deep, and the surface so generally level, and the consequent difficulty of making good roads so great, that the people seem to think they are not possible unless macadamized. But this is not true. What is wanted is an improved system of road supervision and drainage.

The following extract from the records shows that the importance of good roads was appreciated by the early settlers. At a special meeting of the commissioners' court, held at the house of Barnet Bone, sundry voters petitioned that a road should be laid out from Shelbyville to Springfield; also, from Shelbyville to Terre Haute. It was, therefore,

Ordered, "On the petition of Wm. Hall and others, to view a road leading from Shelbyville to Springfield, as far as the county line extends that way; also, from Shelbyville to Terre Haute, on the Big Wabash, they having deposited money in the clerk 's hands to defray the expenses of the reviewing.

It is ordered by the court that the same be granted them and that Shelton Allphin, Robert Daniel and Jacob Elliott, be appointed reviewers, and that they make return of their doings to the next court."


After the county was organized, is probably one executed by Valentine Brazell, and Nancy, his wife. We subjoin a copy of the deed:--

To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting: Know ye. That 1, Valentine Brazell and Nancy Brazell, his wife, of the County of Shelby and State of Illinois, for and in consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars to me, in hand paid by Jesse B. Combs, of the County and State aforesaid, the receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledge, and ourselves hereof fully satisfied and con-

Page 56

tented and thereof and of every part and parcel thereof, do exonerate, acquit, and discharge him, the said Jesse B. Combs, his heirs, executors, and administrator, and assigns forever, by these presents having given, granted, bargained, sold, alienated, c onveyed and confirmed, and by these presents do freely, fully and absolutely give, grant, bargain, and sell, alien, convey, and confirm unto the said Jesse B. Combs, his heirs and assigns forever, the east half of the south-west one-fourth section number twenty-five, township number eleven, north of range number three east, containing eighty acres of the lands in the Vandalia District, State of Illinois. To have and to hold the said granted and bargained premises with all the appurtenances, privileges, an d commodities, to the same belonging, or in any wise appertaining to him, the said Jesse B. Combs, his heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns, forever, to his own proper use, benefit, and behoof forever, and I, the said Valentine administrators or assigns, do covenant, promise and grant, to and ensealing hereof, I am the true, sole, and lawful owner of the above-bargained premises, and we are lawfully seized and possessed of the same in my own proper name, and right as a good, perfect and also lute estate of inheritance in fee simple, and have in myself good right, full power, and lawful authority to grant, bargain, sell, convey, and confirm the said bargained premises in manner and form as aforesaid, and that the said Jesse B. Combs, his heirs and assigns shall and may from time to time, and at all times forever hereafter, by force and virtue of the se presents, lawfully, peaceably, and quietly have, hold and occupy, possess and enjoy, the said demised and bargained premises, with the appurtenances free and clear, and freely and clearly acquitted, exonerated, and discharged of from all and all for ne ar or other gifts, grants, bargains, sales, leases, mortgages, wills, entails, jointures, dowries, judgments, executions, or incumbrances, of what name or nature soever, that might in any measure or degree abstract or make void this present deed.

"Furthermore, I the said Valentine, and Nancy his wife, for ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators, do covenant and engage the above-demised premises, to him, the said Jesse B. Combs, his heirs and assigns forever, against the lawful claims an d demands of any person or persons whatsoever, forever hereafter, to warrant, secure, and defend by these presents.

"Witness whereof we set our hands and sels this eleventh day of February, A.D., 1828. Signed, sealed and delivered

"In presence of


The above is certified as being correct by Joseph Oliver, Clerk.


At the court of probate, held in the town of Shelbyville, Feb. 22d, 1832, the last will and testament of Keneth McIver, deceased, late of the county of Shelby and estate of Illinois, was presented for probate. It reads as follows:--

"In the name of God, Amen. I, Keneth McIver, of Shelby county and State of Illinois, being weak of body but of sound mind and memory, do make, ordain, and establish this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking all others, and do hereby appoint A leander McIver, my beloved wife, to be my executrix of this my last will and testament.

It is my will that all my just debts be paid. 1st. After my just debts are all paid, and funeral expenses, I do hereby devise and bequeth unto my beloved wife, Aleander, two portions during her widowhood, and after her marriage one-half of said portion to be equally divided among the remaining legatees, to wit.:

"2d. To my beloved daughter Margaret two shares.
"3d. To my beloved daughter Sally Ward one share.
"And to my beloved daughter Polly one share.
"In testimony whereof, I hereunto set my hand and affix my seal, the 22d day of December, 1831.


"Signed and acknowledged before us:



On the third day of September, 1827, the county commissioners, holding their court at the residence of Barnet Bone, came to the conclusion that it was necessary, for the proper transaction of business, to have a suitable building erected for the purpose. Their requirements were moderate, and aspirations not of a lofty nature, even for that early period; and after some discussion it was finally decided that a log building, of the following dimensions, would be of an immense advantage to the county official s, and probably an ornament to the small but promising town of Shelbyville.

The building was constructed upon the east half of lot number five, in block number one, near where the present court-house now stands, and a few yards south-east of where the new and elegant stone and brick building is now being erected. Its dimensions were twenty feet wide by twenty-four feet long. First story nine feet in the clear; second story five feet to the top of wall-plate, or about fourteen feet from the ground to the eaves of the building; with a shingled roof. The main body of the structur e was built of hewn logs, having two doors below, also two fifteen-light windows, with shutters, and two windows of the same dimensions in the upper story, the upper part of the building being reached by a pair of steps placed upon the outside. The floors of the two rooms were planked, and the whole construction finished off in a "workmanlike manner."

The contract was to be given to the lowest bidder, who was to undertake to have the court-house completed on or before the first Monday in April, 1828. Wm. Hall, senior, undertook the contract, and received upon the completion of the work $110 in full for the same.

In the early part of 1829, considerable improvements were added to the court-house,--the building itself was weatherboarded, and the interior arrangements were improved for the benefit of the judge, lawyers, jurymen, etc. These alterations were made by J. W. Johnston, and cost the county $39.25.


The old brick court-house, now standing, in the centre of the public square at Shelbyville was erected in the year 1832. It is a two-story building, forty feet square, surmounted with a cupola. The first story between the floors is fourteen feet in heigh t, and the upper story nine feet. The court-room occupies the entire lower portion of the building, the offices above being reached by a double stairway on the south side. The original cost of the building was $1094.

Page 57

In 1837 a cupola was added. This building has for many years been considered inadequate to the growing wants of the county, and the proper authorities began the erection of the third courthouse.


For fifteen years efforts had been made to get an appropriation for a new court-house, but all movements in that direction proved abortive till July, 1879, when the board of supervisors of the county made the necessary appropriation, as will be seen from the following record of their official action.

On the third day of July, 1879, Supervisor W. O. Robertson offered the following resolution:-

Resolved, That it is hereby deemed expedient, because of the dilapidated and unsafe condition of the present county buildings to build a new courthouse in and for Shelby county, not to exceed in cost the sum of seventy thousand dollars ($70,000), a nd Resolved, That a committee of members of this board be and the same are constituted a building committee, whose duty it shall be to fix upon and procure a site for such court-house; to adopt plans and specifications for the same, not to exceed s aid cost, and to report their proceedings herein to this board, subject to its approval at their meeting in September next, and Resolved, That Wm. M. Wright, Harmon Kelley, Skelton Birkett, Nelson Neil, W. A. Carlisle be and are hereby appointed s aid building committee."

The resolution was adopted by a vote of twelve (12) for, to seven (7) against.

At the meeting of the board in September, Supervisor Hilliard offered the following resolution:--

Resolved, That the sum of seventy thousand dollars ($70,000) be and the same is hereby appropriated for the purpose of erecting a court-house in the city of Shelbyville, in Shelby county, Ill., and Resolved, That the sum of twenty-five cents upon e ach one hundred dollars worth of real estate and personal property in said Shelby county as assessed for the year 1879, and equalized by the State board of equalization for said year, be and the same is hereby levied for the purpose of raising a fund to c arry out the objects of the said appropriation; and that the clerk of the county court be and he is hereby ordered to compute and extend upon the tax collector's books of said county for the year 1879, the levy of twenty-five cents aforesaid against all t he real estate and personal property of said county, and that the said levy of 25 cents on the $100 be extended under the heading of "Court House Tax," and that the same, when collected, shall by the county treasurer be kept as a separate fund for the pur poses for which the same is levied. On motion of Mr. Robertson the resolution was adopted by a vote of eleven (11) for the resolution, to eight (8) against. The amount of money raised under this resolution for 1879, was $19,900.06."


The building committee, through their chairman, Hon. Wm. M. Wright, made the following report to the board, which was adopted, and, in accordance with the plans, specifications, etc, therein contained, the erection of a magnificent court building is now i n progress:--

"WHEREAS, the honorable board of supervisors of Shelby county, State Of Illinois, resolved to build a courthouse for said county, proceeded to appoint the following gentlemen, a committee to procure and locate a site and adopt a plan for said courthouse, viz., Wm. M. Wright, Harmon Kelley, Skelton Birkett, Nelson Neil, and W. A. Carlisle.

"The committee, after mature consideration, located the site for said new court-house on the original court-house square, to be built on a line of Main street, north of the present old court-house.

"Said new court-house to be constructed on the following general plans and specification, viz.: The size of said building to be seventy-six (76) by one hundred and ten (110) feet, fronting to the south, with basement and two floors above-basement with twe lve-foot hall through full length of building, from front entrance to rear entrance, on the first floor; said first floor to be so constructed as to accommodate the circuit clerk, county clerk, probate court, sheriff, county treasurer, school commissioner , and county court; the second floor to be so constructed as to accommodate the circuit court supervisors, grand jury, petit jury, witness-room, judge's private room, lawyers' consultation room, and such other rooms as space may permit.

"The floors are to be reached by front stairways; the circuit court room, petit jury room, and other private rooms on the second floor, to be reached by private stairways in the rear of the building. The water-closets to be located in the basement. The gas pipes, steam pipes, and water pipes to be placed in the construction of the building; fire-places to be in all the rooms; to be heated by steam; boilers to be erected outside of main building; proper and sufficient sewerage to be constructed.

"The whole building to be fire-proof; to be built of stone, brick (pressed brick exposure), and iron; all the floors to be of tile or marble; a burglar-proof vault to be constructed in the office of the treasurer. The whole not to exceed seventy thousand dollars in cost. The stone to be used in said building to be procured in Illinois, Missouri, or Indiana, or from either or all of the said States, as may be most practical.

Resolved, That the above plan and general specifications be submitted to five competent architects, to be selected by the committee; that a premium of three hundred dollars ($300) be offered to the aforesaid competing architects for the best set of drawings for the proposed new court-house, which shall be in accordance with the above-named plan. Such drawings shall include a correct view, in perspective, of such new building from a point south-west of said building.

Said drawings, shall include full, complete, and accurate plans of such new building, in all parts showing all the necessary details of the work, together with working plans suitable for the use of mechanics or other builders, during the construction ther eof, so drawn and represented as to be easily understood; and also accurate bills showing the exact amount of all the different kinds of material to be used in the erection thereof, to accompany said plans; and also full and complete specifications of the work to be done, showing the manner and style in which the same will be required to be done, and giving such directions for the same as will enable any competent builder to carry them out, and afford to bidders all needful information to enable them to u nderstand what will be required in the construction of said building, and make a full, accurate, and complete estimate of each item of expense, and the entire aggregate cost of said courthouse when completed.

Provided, however, that the working plans above referred to and the bill showing the exact amount of the material to be used, and also the full and complete specifications of the work to be done, showing the manner and style of the same, and giving such d irections as will enable any builder to carry them out, and afford bidders all information above referred to, shall not be required to be made out and furnished until after the award of the aforesaid premium shall be decided by the board of supervisors, a nd that after such decision, the successful competitor shall immediately proceed to complete the same in accordance with the terms of this resolu-

Page 58

tion, and the said premium of three hundred dollars ($300) shall be advanced to such successful competitor, and shall be deducted from a compensation to be allowed him of five per centum upon the aggregate cost of said building; upon the execution by and between him and the board of supervisors of a contract prescribing his duties, obligations, and compensation as supervising architect of said building and the execution of a proper bond, with acceptable security, to the board of supervisors in such amount as may be by them prescribed, not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for the faithful performance of his duties, as such supervising architect in the erection of said building in accordance with t he plans and specifications thereof adopted.

Resolved, That the drawings as submitted must be furnished by the tenth day of September, 1879, and must be accompanied by estimates of all the work and material necessary in the construction of the proposed building, made sufficiently in detail to enable the board of supervisors to verify them, and approximate closely to the probable cost, and accuracy in detail in this respect will be regarded as important in determining the award of the premiums.

"Resolved, That a premium of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150) shall be awarded and paid to the drawings and elevations second in merit, the board of supervisors reserving the right to use any part of said plans and specifications of second in m erit for and in consideration of said award of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150).

"Shelbyville, Ill., Aug. 8, 1879.

(Signed) "Wm. M. WRIGHT,
* W. A. Carlisle died, and T. J. Graybill was appointed to fill his place.

A view of the elegant structure, which is purely classic, may be seen on another page of this work; and believing a brief description would not be out of place, we append the following:-

The new court-house will be a model and beautiful structure. It is built of brick, magnesian limestone, and iron of choice and elegant design. It is thoroughly fire-proof throughout.

For the purpose of giving the reader a better and more correct idea of the structure, we give a succinct statement of its dimensions and a description of the material that entered into its construction.

The building is rectangle, 110 feet in length by 76 feet in breadth. The height from the cornice to the ground line is 58 feet. From the apex of the dome to the foundation it is 124 feet. Each story of the building is anchored not only to its own walls but to the walls of the other stories. There are four handsome pavilions, 16 feet square and 16 feet high, above the eave. These are situated on each corner of the building, with bulls eye windows on each side. The pavilions and dome are constructed of brick and iron, and roofed with slate, and surmounted by iron crestings of beautiful and artistic desire. The general outside finish of the building, is St. Louis pressed brick, with Joliet and Bedford ston e trimmings. The cornices are of galvanized iron. The basement is all stone and the floors are constructed of marble tiling, laid on masonry and iron girders. There are two main entrances to the building, one on the north and one on the south side.

The south side is the principal entrance, and is reached by broad, handsome stone steps. The dome begins at the base line and runs up through the centre of the building.

The pediments rest on four columns of stone, of handsome and elegant pattern. The bases and capitols are of Bedford stone, and the shafts of Joliet limestone; the height of each column, base and capitol is twenty-three feet. The front pediment has a gre ater projection than those on the side, and there are eight columns upon which it rests. The front columns start at the basement story above and in front of the main entrance. On the second story are two niches, in which are placed statues of the Goddess of Liberty and of Justice.

Mr. O. H. Placey, of Chicago, is the architect, and Thomas and Hugh Caldwell, of Ottawa, Ill, are the contractors.

The citizens of Shelby county may well feel proud of this elegant and valuable structure. Alike is it creditable to the foresight and energy of the men who inaugurated its construction; and it will remain as a monument to their enterprise years after the y have passed away.

Probably more credit is due to Hon. Wm. M. Wright than to any other one citizen of the county. As chairman of the committee on construction he has given much of his time and attention to the forwarding of the work, and has guarded jealously the interests of his constituents, though proper credit is also extended to other members of the committee.

The contract calls for the completion of the building December 1st, 1881, and when finished it will be one among the handsomest and most substantial in the State.


At the begining of the year 1829 the county authorities felt the necessity of having a suitable building erected wherein lawless characters could be securely confined. The commissioners therefore ordered a jail to be built on lot eight, block number one, in the town of Shelbyville. The following is a description of it:--

It was built of well hewed timber, eight inches thick, with the edges squared so as to fit closely together. The building was square, measuring thirteen feet six inches in width, and the same in depth. The height from the foundation, or lower floor (whi ch was let some ten inches into the ground) up to the eaves of the roof was about sixteen feet, there being two stories each of about eight feet. The gables were weather boarded, and the roof shingled. The lower part of the building was comprised of a d ouble wall, with a space of ten inches between, which was filled with upright poles shaved smooth and put closely together. The third floor, or, more properly speaking, the roof of the second floor, consisted of squared timbers, six inches thick, laid cl osely together. There are were two windows in the lower story, 41 feet from the ground, one on the north side of the building, the other on the south. The same in the upper story, each window 12 by 6 inches, made secure by grates, and iron bars one inch in thickness and three inches apart. In the upper story was a door two feet wide and four feet high, and another door in the middle of the 2d floor two by three feet. James W. Johnston secured the contract for building the above, which was completed ear ly in the year l830.

JAIL No. 2.

At the September Term of Court in 1839 a contract was made with John Stone and Samuel Wilson to erect a new jail upon the site of the old one, which had done service for nine years, but had become too insecure and small for the requirements of the county. Joseph Oliver purchased the old structure for $50.06 1/4.

The new building, which was also built of hewn logs, was 22 feet long by 14 feet wide. Composed of double walls built one foot apart and filled with upright timbers one foot square. A partition

Page 59

was run through the centre of the building, making two rooms each, nine feet in length and paved with rock. There was a window in each room, through which the outer world could be viewed by its inmates, if they chose to peep through the grates and iron b ars which firmly secured them. A trap door in the centre of the upper floor, said door measuring 2 feet by 21 feet, strongly bound with iron; one door with double shutters in the other room; in the side, 3 feet from the partition, shutters opening inwards on the inside, outwards on the outside. Said door was secured with iron bolts, jail lock, and spiked with iron spikes two inches apart.

Beside this building a frame one was erected 22 feet long by 20 feet wide, the same height and under same shingle roof. It was weather boarded, and had one door in the south side, with windows on each side of the door, and two windows in the west side. Th ere were twelve light windows with 8 by 10 glass. There was also a plank partition across the frame building, with a door in the partition, and the floors laid down with plank. This was the jailor's residence. Stair steps to commence at the partition of t he log building between the log wall and said partition running north up to the upper floor of the log building, the steps to reach from the wall to the partition. A brick chimney stood on the north side, with one fire-place below. The whole was to be bui lt of durable timber, and finished in a workmanlike manner. The building being completed in 1840, the contractors received $745, costs of the same.


The present jail building was erected in 1857, at a cost of nearly five thousand dollars ($5,000). William Hidden received the contract for erecting the same the preceding year, and completed it at the time above specified. It is a two story brick build ing, 28 feet wide by 38 feet long, and consists of jailor's residences with four rooms, a debtor's cell, four single wooden cells, with iron doors, and four double iron cells. The cells are in the upper floor of the building, with a hallway or corridor o f about four feet in width on both the north and south sides, with a narrow passage connecting the two corridors on the west side of the building. There are six windows on the north side, five on the west, and five on the south, with one door to the west , another to the east, and one on the south. In 1864 the county of Shelby made a contract with Samuel Proctor to encase four of the cells (which were originally wooden ones) with boiler iron. These cells are seven feet square by 6 1/2 feet high. The al teration thus made cost tile count $3,000 in addition to the original cost--$4,989.46--for erecting the jail. A view of this edifice is given in this work, from which a good idea of the plan may be gained.


Thirteen years ago, in 1867, the Board of Supervisors appointed three commissioners, viz., Edward Roessler, W. J. F. Howe and Michael Freyburger, to purchase a farm as a suitable home for the indigent poor of Shelby county. The commissioners, in June of that year, tendered their report to the Board, which report was read upon motion, received, and adopted. In effect it was as follows:--We have finally selected the farm of James A. Livers, situated 41 miles northwest of Shelbyville. Said farm consists o f 240 acres, 130 acres being under cultivation, the balance in timber; the price given nine thousand and sixty dollars ($9,060). After purchasing the farm the committee advertised for bids, for some one to lease the farm and take charge of the poor. On the 12th August, 1867, David Price was appointed Superintendent or Lessee, and entered into an article of agreement with the Board of Supervisors for a term of two years. It necessarily took some time to get the place in readiness for its unfortunate occu pants. More house room had to be supplied, together with beds, bedding, and other household furniture. So that it was not until the 6th of May that the Superintendent was able to receive the paupers, who were eleven in number. The terms of agreement by which D. Price took charge of the farm, and its occupants were these: He was to receive six hundred dollars ($600) per year in addition to what he could make upon the farm, provided the inmates numbered not more than ten. If exceeding that number, $200 per year additional for each added inmate, if not capable of performing manual labor, or $100 per year for any, who could work, the county physician deciding as to the impotency of said paupers. And in the event of a failure in crops, or the destruction of crops by storm, Price was to receive reasonable compensation for keeping the poor, etc. Price was to provide for the poor unfortunates good and wholesome food and keep the residences in a clean and wholesome condition. Early in 1868 fifty-six of the citizens of Shelby county signed a petition and laid it before the Board of Supervisors, requesting their immediate attention to the mismanagement of the Poor Farm, and the suffering condition of the poor. An investigation was immediately made by the Boa rd, in person, and upon evidence furnished, then they unanimously decided to remove David Price from further control of the establishment, which, however, could only be effected satisfactorily by paying him $150, and allowing him to keep two-thirds of the wheat crop. In March, 1868, the Poor Farm was let to Francis Wilson for one year. And in 1869 J. J. Cline rented it for one year for $384, the county paying $2 45-100 per week for the support of each pauper. It was subsequently found better to employ a Superintendent, at a salary of $500 a year, to manage the firm and look after the inmates, than rent a $9,000 farm for $384 per year. The Board of Supervisors therefore appointed such Superintendent upon salary.

The Overseers and Superintendents have held office as follows:-

David Price............ 1867
Francis Willson............1868
J. J. Cline............1869, 1870
John E. Lane...1871, 1872, 1873,
1874, 1875, 1876
Theodore Allen............1877, 1878
John E. Lane ............1879, 1880
The latter gentleman being the present incumbent. Commodious brick buildings have been erected upon the farm, and the inmates now have all the care and attention that can be given them.


which have held jurisdiction over the people of Shelby county since its organization as a separate municipality, have been those of the county commissioners' court, county judges, probate judges, magistrates of the township, the circuit courts, and the Un ited States district and supreme courts.


We make a few excerpts from the records of the first and subsequent terms of this court, which we think will not fail to interest the reader of this volume.

"At a circuit court of Shelby County, State of Illinois, began and held in the town of Shelbyville, at the courthouse, on Monday, the fifteenth day of September, one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-eight. Present,



Page 60


The following persons were sworn and charged of the grand jury to inquire, within and for the body of the county of Shelby, viz.-- Jacob Cutler (foreman), William Reynolds, James Wallice, Benjainin Wornock, Joseph Baker, Joel Allen, John Wood, Elisha Free man, Hubbel Sprigue, Barnet Bone, Jacob Brewer, Samuel Reece, Charles Huffman, John Hall, Elias Kerr, Wm. Bone, Shelton Allphin, John Smith, Samuel Anderson, Benjamin Walden, Wm. Rose, and William Whitfield.


There have been several trials of persons indicted for murder, and other heinous crimes in this county. We append a few of the court documents, bearing on some of the earlier cases of this character.


A Case of Flogging.
John Spalding
Indictment for Larceney.

The said people by the attorney appeared in court; and the defendant in his proper person, and for plea says he is not guilty in manner and form as is alleged in said indictment--to which plea the people joined issue--Whereupon came a jury, to wit, Willia m E. Wegar, Andrew Miller, William Martin, Benjamin Dubney, Benjamin Mobley, Jonathan Hill, John Tipsoaid, John Whitley, Sr., Allen Reed, Joseph Reed, John Abbet, Jr., and Daniel Siscoe;--who being elected, tried and sworn well and truly to try the issue joined on their oaths, do say "We, the jury find the defendant guilty in manner and form as in said indictment mentioned to be of the value therein stated," and the said jurors were thereupon discharged until to-morrow morning at nine o'clock, to which ti me the court adjourned.

Tuesday morning, Sep. 16th, 1828.

Court met pursuant to adjournment. Present,

HON. T. W. SMITH, Judge
John Spalding
Indictment for Larceney.

This day the prisoner was led to the bar by the Sheriff, and having nothing to say why judgment should not be pronounced against him, it is ordered and adjudged by the court now here, that the defendant, John Spalding, receive for the offense aforesaid th irty-nine lashes on his bare back, and the Sheriff of Shelby county between the hours of twelve and two o'clock on this day execute this judgment. And it is further ordered, adjudged, and directed that the defendant make his fine to the people of this st ate in the sum of two dollars and seventy-one cents, being one half the value of the articles stolen, and that he be imprisoned for the term of three days, and that he stand committed until the fine and costs are paid.

The sentence of the court was carried out, and the prisoner was publicly whipped in accordance with the terms of the verdict.


Tuesday morning, 13th April, 1830.

Court met pursuant to adjournment.
The People
Benj. Warnock.
Indictment for Murder.
Implicated with Robert Carlisle.

On this day came the defendant, Benjamin Warnock, in open court and enters his appearance in this case, and for plea says he is not guilty in manner and form as are alleged in the indictment and to which plea the State's Attorney joins issue. The petit j ury summoned to attend this court being discharged, a states jury was ordered to be summoned, to wit;--Isaac Martin, James A. Baker, David Hinton, James Ledbetter, Barnet Bone, William Bone, John Hill, John Richardson, Isaac Renfro, and Bennet Robinson. Who being elected, tried and sworn to try the issue joined upon the oaths, do say, that we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty, Therefore it is considered by the court now here, that the defendant be discharged, and go hence without delay.

In the May term of court in 1842, an important criminal case came up for trial. It was the case of the People vs. Robert Sellers. Sellers was indicted for the killing of James Rodman; he was tried and found guilty of murder in the first degree, and sent enced to be hanged. The following is his sentence as copied from the record. "That the defendant, Robert Sellers, be again remanded to jail, there to remain until Tuesday, the 21st day of June next, when he shall be taken to the place of execution, and t here between the hours of ten o'clock in the forenoon and two o'clock of the afternoon of that day he be hanged by the neck until he is dead." By the manipulations of his attorneys he succeeded in getting a new trial, and on this trial plead guilty of man slaughter. He was sentenced for eight years to hard labor in the penitentiary, where he served his time. On release, he returned to Shelby, but was soon afterwards thrown from a horse and killed.

The First Naturalization.

At the May term of the Circuit Court, A. D. 1847, Solomon Stilgebauer, made his written application to be naturalized, filed his declaration, and took the oath prescribed by law, in open court, which was ordered to be filed. We append a copy of the origi nal paper.

State of Illinois, Shelby County.

Solomon Stilgebauer being duly sworn, deposeth and saith, that it is his intention, bona fide, to become a citizen of the United States of America, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreion prince, potentate, or sovereignty whatever, and particularly to the sovereignty or kingdom of Bavaria in Germany, of which he was formerly a subject.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,
this 27th day of May, 1847.
Application for Citizenship by
Solomon Stilgebauer, an alien

On this day came the said Solomon Stilgebauer, by his attorney, and it appearing to the court, by the record, exhibited in proof, that at the May term of the Shelby county circuit court, in the State of Illinois, for the year 1847, the said applicant had declared on oath his intention to become a citizen of the United States of America, in pursuance of law, and the court being satisfled from the evidence of Anthony Thornton and William Royse, that the said applicant had resided within the United States mo re than five years, and in the county of Shelby in the State of Illinois more than one year before the present term of this court, and that during the said five years he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the const itution of the United States, and that he has been well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same. And the said applicant having declared on oath in open court, that he would support the constitution of the

Page 61

United States, and he willingly, absolutely and entirely renounced and abjured all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state, and sovereignty, whatever, and particularly to the King of Bavaria, in Germany. It is therefore ordered by the court that these proceedings be entered of records, and that the said Solomon Stilgebauer is entitled to and is hereby admitted to all the rights, priveleges and immunities of a citizen of the United States of America.

It is further ordered that said applicant pay the costs hereof, etc.

First Divorce.

Bennet Robinson
Elizabeth Robinson
Libel for Divorce.

It appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that the parties were lawfully married as is set forth in said libel; and that the said Elizabeth did voluntarily and wilfully absent herself from the libellant for two years in continuance; and proof of the p endency of this libel having been made according to law. It is ordered, adjudged and decreed, that the banns of matrimony heretofore subsisting between the said parties, be, and they are hereby dissolved -- and the prayer of the said bill be granted; and that the said libellant pay the costs attending the prosecution of his said libel.


The growth of the county in wealth can in no way be so clearly exhibited as by giving the assessment rolls at different periods. We select three which are here appended, viz , those of 1859, 1879, and 1880.


Horses 5,495$237,278
Mules and Asses 30212,441
Hogs 26,92732,719
Gross value of Domestic Animals 430,055
Net value of Domestic Animals 423,557
Carriages and Wagons1,76362,340
Clocks and Watches1,3959,910
Pianos 121,390
Goods and Merchandise 78,088
Mannufactured Articles 1,250
Moneys and Credits 273,600
Unenumerated Property 123,337
Total subject to taxation $1,141,649

Page 62


Horses of all ages 14,057 $25.52 $358,747
Cattle of all ages 24,103 12.83 309,305
Mules and Asses of all ages 1,420 28.73 407,95
Sheep of all ages 16,976 1.40 23,896
Hogs of all ages 49,579 1.96 97,514
Steam Engines, including Boilers 30 280.56 8,417
Fire or Burgular-Proof Safes 22 78.18 1,720
Billiard, Pidgeon hole, Bagatelle, or other
Similar Tables
6 29.00 175
Carriages and Wagons of whatsoever kind 5,257 16.50 86,715
Clocks and Watches 4,052 2.86 11,587
Sewing or Knitting Machines 2,156 9.15 19,730
Piano Fortes 119 67.75 8,062
Melodeons and Organs 239 27.21 6,504
Patent Rights 60
Merchandise on Hand 162,075
Material and Manufactured Articles on hand 5,783
Maufacturers' Tools, Implements and Machinery
(other than Engines and Boilers,
which are to be listed as such)
Agricultural Tools, Implements and Machinery 79,079
Gold and Silver Plate and Plated Ware 168
Diamonds and Jewelry 25
Moneys of Bank, Banker, Broker or Stock Jobber 32,102
Credits of Bank, Banker, Broker or Stock Jobber 3,599
Moneys of other than Bank, Banker, Broker or Stock Jobber 164,699
Credits of other than Banks, Bankers, Brokers or Stock Jobber 243,211
Bonds and Stocks 7,221
Property of Companies and Corporations
other than hereinbefore enumerated
Property of Saloons and Eating Houses 790
Household or Office Furniture and Property 117,849
Investments in Real Estate
and Improvements Thereon (See Sec. 10)
All Other Personal Property required to be listed 103,876
Shares of Stock of State or National Banks 37,500
Total value of Personal Property $1,937,352
Improved Lands 400,415 $11.20 $4,487,266
Unimproved Lands 84,310 5.36 452,332
Total Value of Lands $4,939,598
Improved Town and City Lots 2,850 $209.78 $597,750
Unimproved Town and City Lots 1,463 18.76 274.52
Total Value of Town and City Lots $625,202
Personal Property other than "Rolling Stock" $1200
Total Value of all Property as Assessed $7,503,352

Page 63

A list of the members of the General Assembly from Shelby county since its organization, or the district in which the same is situated.*

* For this roster of Senators and Representatives we are indebted to Col. George H. Harlow, Secretary of State.

William Williamson,1832-35| H. M. Vandeveer, 1863-65
Peter Warren,1836-49| John M. Woodson,1867-69
Hiram Rountree, 1849-51| Solomon Lewis, 1871
Gabriel R. Jernigan,1853-55| Charles Voris, 1871-73
Joel S. Post, 1857-59| Thomas Brewer,1875-77
Richard J. Oglesby,1861| Erastus N. Rinehart,1879-
George H. Beeler,1832-33| John Casey, 1871
Thomas B. Trower,1834-35| Edward Roessler, 1871
John S. Turley,1836-37| William H. McDonald, 1873
William F. Thornton,1838-39|William H. Blakeley, 1873
Owen Prentice,1840-41| Benson Wood, 1873
| William Gillmore, 1875
Jonathan B. Howard,1842-43| William Middlesworth, 1875
John S. Turley, 1844-45| William Chew, 1875
Edward Evey, 1849| Gershom Monahan, 1877
Anthony Thornton,1851| Nathaniel P. Robinson, 1877
S. W. Moulton, 1853-57| Thomas J. Fritts, 1877
Thomas Brewer, 1859| William M. Abraham, 1877
Thomas W. Harris, 1861| James L. Ryan, 1879
| Baitly Searlett, 1879
Reuben Roessler, 1863| Alfred C. Campbell, 1880
William Middlesworth, 1865| George D. Chaffe, 1880
Charles Voris, 1867-69| F. M. Richardson, 1880


County Commissioners.--John Whitley, Levi Casey, Wm. Wegar, 1827; Levi Casey, Jesse Rhodes, 1828; Levi Casey, Jesse Rhodes, Edward Reed, 1829; Levi Casey, Ed. Reed, Benj. Walden, 1830; Bushrod W. Henry, George Park, John Brally, August, 1832; B. W. Henry, George Park, James Goodwin, December, 1832; Aaron McKenzie, Lemuel Dazey, Barnett Bone, 1884; John Storm, James Freeman, Daniel Price, 1836; John Storm, Daniel Price, T. J. Kellam, 1837; John Storm, Daniel Dawdy, John Douthit, 1838; John Douthit, D. Dawdy, T. W. Short, 1840; John Douthit, T. W. Short, Gideon Edwards, 1841; T. W. Short, G. Edwards, Rolls Calvert, 1842; R. Calvert, G. Parks, E. Hooper, 1843; George Parks, John Houchins, B. W. Henry, 1844; George Parks, T. W. Short, 1845; T. W. Short , G. Parks, D. Dawdy, 1846; T. W. Short, James Brownlee, John Morrison, 1847; John Morrison, James Brownlee, Peter Parker, 1848.

In 1849, and after the adoption of the constitution, the county judges performed the duties heretofore performed by the county commissioners.

Probate Justices of the Peace.--Joseph Oliver, 1829 to 1837; William Nicholls, September 2, 1837, to 1839; Edward Evey, 1839 to 1849.

County Judges.--Wm. Williamson; Russell Fletcher, D. M. Robinson, associates, 1849; Wm. Williamson, Russell Fletcher, John Casey, associates, 1853; Wm. Williamson, John Casey, Joseph Leathers, associates, 1854; Peter Fleming, John Casey, John R. W arren, associates, 1857; Peter Fleming, 1857 to 1873; J. Rose, 1873 to 1876; W. W. Hess, 1876, the present incumbent.


Joseph Oliver received the first appointment and the office until 1847, when W. S. Prentice was appointed. Wm. Royse appointed in 1849; Burrel Roberts, in 1853; again, in 1853. I. V. Lee, appointed in 1855, filling the office until 1865. W. R. Read, appo inted in 1865, and held the office until his death in 1874. W. W.Hess, appointed in 1874. W. A. Cochran, the present master in chancery, was appointed in 1878.


The first county clerk was Joseph Oliver, appointed in 1827, who held the office until 1843. Burrel Roberts elected in 1843. Win. Lloyds elected in 1868; and the present incumbent, James E. Frazer, was elected in 1877.


Joseph Oliver was appointed in 1828; served until 1846. Wm. S. Prentice elected in 1846. William Royse elected in 1848, but retired from office, and I. V. Lee was appointed to fill unexpired term in 1819. Burrel Roberts, elected in 1851. 1. V. Lee, ele cted in 1853; re-elected in 1855; again in 1857, 1859, 1861 and 1863. Wm. A. Cochran elected in 1861, and has served with ability. Thomas J. Graybill was elected in 1880, and is the present incumbent.


William Williamson was appointed sheriff April 25th, 1827, and was succeeded in 1833, by Jacob L. Fleming. Peter Fleming, elected in 1836, and held the office until 1850. B. F. Frazer, elected in 1850. A. E. Douthit, elected in 1853. B. F. Frazer, elec ted in 1854; Jacob Cutler, December, 1835. Samuel Herod elected in 1856. Jacob Cutler, again in 1858. J. J. Shaw, elected in 1860; resigned in 1861. Wm. A. Trower, elected in 1861, Marcus Richardson, elected in 1862. F. B. Thompson, in 1864. J.C. Huf fer, elected in 1866. J. R. Moore, elected in 1868. Marshall Howard, elected in 1870, holding the office until 1876, when J. H. Silver was elected. In 1880 Lafayette Higginbotham was elected, and is the present sheriff.


Isaac Martin was elected in April, 1827, and was succeeded in 1837 by James Davis, who served until James Hamilton was elected in 1843. He was succeeded by David Harris, January, 1846. Albert Doyle served part of 1846, 1847, 1848 and 1849. J. C. Corley , 1850 and 1851. W. A. Clements, elected in November, 1852; resigned in 1853, and was succeeded by W. A. Trower, who also resigned in 1855. B. Durkee was elected in 1855, and served until B. T. Kenningham was elected, 1866. J. A Hubbard was elected in 1868. Wm. Sampson, elected in 1870; again in 1872, 1874, 1876, 1878 and 1880.


Shelton Allphin was appointed treasurer in 1827. P. Rhodes, elected in 1829. John Hambleton, elected in 1832. Wm. Haden, elected in 1834; John J. Page, 1837; Thos. Headen, 1838; John J. Page, 1838; Burrel Roberts, 1839, 1840 and 1841. James Cutler, e lected in 1843, and served until 1871. George W. Keeler, elected in 1871. Wm. C. Miller, 1875. Archibald Shelton, elected in 1877, the present treasurer.


William Williamson was appointed surveyor in 1827, and held the office for twenty years, until E. G. Shellenberger was appointed in 1847, who served until 1853. J. Brownlee was then made surveyor in 1853, and was succeeded by Elias Smith in 1857; Roess-

Page 64

ler, in 1867; Elias Smith, again in 1871; S. Conover, in 1875; John P. Brisben, in 1878, who is the present incumbent.


Wm. H. Brown, pro tem., 1830; Josiah Fisk, 1887; F. Forman, pro tem., 1840; Will. H. Russell, 1845; Harry Lee, 1846; David B. Campbell, 1851 and 1852; E. Rusk, 1853; ---Moore, 1856; John R. Eden, 1858, 1859, 1860; J. P. Boyd, 1861 ; William G. Patterson, pro tem., 1862; J. R. Cunningham, 1863; D. L Bonn, 1865, 1866, 1867 and 1868; M. B. Thompson, 1869, 1870, 1871 and 1872; L. B. Stephenson, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879 and 1880. William C. Alley was elected in 1880, and is the present county attorney.


Theophilus Smith, 1828; Thos. Ford, 1835 presiding by agreement with Sidney Breese; Sidney Breese, 1886 to 1840; Samuel H. Treat, 1841 to 1844 ; Gustavus Koerner, 1845; Samuel H. Treat, l847, 1848; David Davis, 1849; Charles Emerson, 1853 to 1862; Charles H. Constable, 1862, May term, 1863; Charles Emerson, 1864 to 1867; A. J. Gallagher, 1867 to 1873; H. M. Vandeveer, 1873 (October term), to 1876; W. R. Welch, Charles S. Zane, H. M. Vandeveer, 1877 (new law) and 1878; W. R. Welch, H. M. Vandeveer and J. J . Phillips, 1879 and 1880.


After the adoption of the constitution in 1848, the legislature of 1849 passed an act to provide for township organization. Previously to the passage of this act, township organization in this state was unknown. A new law relating to this subject was en acted in 1851, and the law of 1849 was repealed. In 1859 the people of Shelby county, by a decided majority, adopted this form of government, which has since been adhered to. At the December term, 1859, the county court appointed James Cutler, E. G. Sha llenberger, and Benjamin F. Frazer, commissioners to divide the county of Shelby into towns ageeably to the statute to provide for township organization. The supervisors are chosen annually on the first Tuesday in April. The system seems well adapted to the wants of the people. It certainly has one merit of more equally representing the different interests of the county. It is in the nature of a small legislative body, deriving its powers directly from the governed. The first election occurred in Apr il, 1860; and the names of the members who have represented their respective townships may be seen in the township history. We quote the following from the records:

"Shelby County Court, December Term, 1859.

"Ordered by the Court that James Cutler, E. G. Shallenberger and Benjamin F. Frazer be and are hereby appointed commissioners to divide the County of Shelby, Illinois, into towns or townships, and that they make written reports of their proceedings giving the name and boundary of each town as the law directs, in such case made and provided, and present such report to the clerk of the county court on or before the first day of March next.

"Shelby County Court, March Term, 1860.

"This day the clerk presented to the court the report of the commissioners, that were appointed at the last December term of this court, 1859, to divide the county into towns or townships, under the act authorizing, township organization, examined by the court, and ordered to be spread upon record as the law directs.

"To the Honorable County Court of Shelby County, Illinois.

"The undersigned commissioners appointed by the above-named court at the December term, 1859, to divide the county in towns or townships, under the act authorizing township organization, after being duly sworn, proceeded to layoff the above-named county i nto towns or townships."*

* For list of names of townships, see chapter on Geography.


Prior to 1843 that portion of Illinois now known as Moultrie county, was a part of Macon and Shelby counties; the larger portion of territory belonging to Shelby county. As its formation and vicissitudes will always prove interesting to the people of the county, we will here give a brief history of the trials it underwent.

In 1841 the people of the northern part of Shelby county, and the southeastern portion of Macon county, presented a petition to the legislature to take a portion off each county and form a new one, to be called Okaw county. A. H. Kellar, who lived in the Macon county territory, and John Cook, from Shelby county, succeeded in log-rolling the petition through both houses; but with the incubus attached that it was to be submitted to a vote of Shelby county for ratification at the next regular election. The vote was against ratification, and thus Okaw county became a dead letter.

Again, in the fall of 1842, another petition was circulated and presented to the legislature as soon as it convened. This petition embraced the present territory of Moultrie county, including one whole tier of townships off the west side of Coles county, also to have the southwestern boundary of the county an unbroken line instead of the notches, as is now the shape.

There were two factions within the boundaries of the district of the proposed new county. One of these factions was led by John Fleming; the other by John Cook. The bone of contention was the location of the county-seat. There were the two towns, Julian and East Nelson, both desiring it, on the one hand, and the problematic town, somewhere on the West Okaw--Cook's choice--on the other. A. H. Kellar and John Cook were chosen to present the petition to the legislature. It met with considerable opposition from the Shelby county people, but a certain compromise was effected, which accounts for the very irregular shape of the southwestern border of the county. Messrs. Kellar and Cook returned home, thinking all things were arranged for a speedy passage of the act creating the proposed new county; but only a few days had elapsed when Mr. Kellar received information from S. G. Nesbit, representative from Macon county, that a remonstrance, with four hundred names attached, from the citizens of Coles county we re opposed to any part of that county being cut off from their territory. Mr. Nesbit further stated that if that objectionable feature of the petition could be stricken from it, they would be able to get the bill through. The Coles county townships were accordingly lopped off, and the new county was formed.

It should be mentioned here, that the above petition provided that the new county should be named Fleming; but through a partisan feeling on the part of the representative from Shelby county, he declared be would have nothing to do with establishing a cou nty to be called Fleming. The result was that there was a second compromise, and Mr. Williamson, the Shelby county representative, had the honor of training the new county. He named it in honor of Col. William Moultrie, of early military fame.

In accordance with the above petition, the following act was passed and signed by the Governor, February 16th, 1843:

Page 65

An Act for the formation of the county of Moultrie.

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 within the following boundaries, to-wit: Beginning at the north-east corner of township fifteen north , range six east of the third principal meridian, thence west to the north west corner of section three, township fifteen north, range four east, thence south three miles, west three miles, south eleven miles, east five miles, south four miles, east four miles, south one mile, east one mile, south one mile, east one mile, south one mile, east one mile, south two miles, east six miles to the range line between ranges six and seven; thence north to the place of beginning, shall be constituted a new county, to be called Moultrie.

SEC. 2. The legal voters residing within the aforesaid boundaries, shall meet at the usual places of holding elections, on the first Monday in April next, and proceed to elect one sheriff, one coroner, one recorder, one county surveyor, one probate justic e, one clerk of the county commissioners' court, one treasurer, one school commissioner, and three county commissioners; the person receiving the highest number of votes for county commissioner shall remain in office for two years from the first Monday in August next; the person receiving the next highest vote for county commissioner shall remain in office for one year from the first Monday in August next and the person receiving the lowest vote for county commissioner shall remain in office until the fir st Monday in August next; the other county officers shall hold their offices until the next succeeding general election, and until their successors are elected and qualified.

SEC. 3. The seat of justice of said county of Moultrie shall be at the residence of James Camfield, of said county, until otherwise ordered by the county commissioners' court of said county, but the seat of justice of said county shall not be permanently located by said commissioners' court until further legislation in relation thereto.

SEC. 4. The present judges of election residing within the boundaries of the county of Moultrie shall conduct the elections provided by this act in all respects agreeable to the laws regulating elections, and shall make returias of the poll books of thei r respective predict within five days after the election. Abraham H. Kellar, William Thomason and James Elder, acting justices of the peace; and the said justices, or a majority of them, shall meet at the house of James Camfield within ten days after the said election, and it shall be the duty of the said justices of the peace to open and compare the poll books, to make out and deliver certificates to the persons elected, and to return an abstract to the Secretary of State in the same manner as is now re quired of the clerks of county commissioners' courts in like cases.

SEC. 5. The county commissioners shall meet as a court within twenty days after their election, and shall proceed to lay off their county into justices' districts, and transact such other county business as may be deemed necessary.

SEC. 6. It shall be the duty of the justices of the peace named in this act, to give at least twenty days public notice of the time and places of holding the elections provided for in this act, by posting up notices in at least six public places in said c ounty.

SEC. 7. The school funds belonging to the several townships in said county, together with all the interest arising from said moneys and now in the hands of the school commissioners of Macon and Shelby counties, and all notes and mortgages appertaining to the same shall be paid and delivered over to the school commissioners of the county of Moultrie, as soon as the county shall be organized, and a school commissioner elected and qualified according to law.

SEC. 8. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the county commissioners' court, as soon as may be after the election of county officers, to inform the judge of the eighth judicial circuit that the county is organized, and the said judge shall thereupon appo int a clerk, and fix the time for holding the circuit court, and said county shall form a part of the eighth judicial circuit.

SEC. 9. That elections for senators and representatives to the General Assembly shall continue to be conducted as though no division had been effected, and the clerks of the county commissioners' courts shall return abstracts of said elections to the cler ks of the county commissioners' courts of the counties of Macon and Shelby, until otherwise provided by law.

SEC. 10. The county commissioners' court of the county of Moultrie shall, at their first term, appoint one or more suitable persons to meet with the county commissioners of Macon county at their June term, one thousand eight hundred and forty-three, and ascertain the proportion of the court-house debt of Macon county, which the inhabitants taken from Macon and forming a part of Moultrie county, have agreed by their petition to pay, and in the apportionment and payment of the said money the commissioners of Macon and Moultrie counties shall be governed in all respects according to the provisions of the eleventh section of the act entitled "an act for the formation of Piatt county." Provided, that said apportionment be based upon the assessment list s of one thousand eight hundred and forty-two.

SEC. 11. The money to be paid by the county of Moultrie to the county of Macon shall be raised by additional assessment on the inhabitants residing within the boundaries taken from the county or Macon, and nothing therein contained shall be so construed as to make liable the inhabitants residing within the territory taken from the county of Shelby for any portion of the money made payable to the county of Macon under the provisions of this act.

Approved February 16th, 1843.

THOMAS FORD, Governor.

This part of Moultrie county's history would be incomplete if a certain part of it were not presented here. As will be seen, the Organic Act required that those citizens residing in that part of Moultrie county that was taken from Macon should pay their proportional part of Macon county's courthouse debt then existing. As no assessment was ever made for that purpose, it may be interesting for the old settlers of Moultrie county to know why it was never required. There was a certain "slip" in the petiti ons circulated in Macon county for the establishing of the new county, and the citizens of Moultrie took advantage of it. They were governed by the old-time principle, "Interest is the governing principle of nations as well as individuals," and governed themselves accordingly. Great efforts were made on the part of Macon to compel those on this side of the line to live up, as they claimed, to the petitions creating the act for the new county; but all efforts signally failed. George W. Powers, then repr esenting the people of Macon county, believed that to force this indebtedness upon the people of Moultrie county would be an act of injustice, covertly opposed all measures offered to that end; and the result is, as all know, no revenue was ever paid out of the treasury for that purpose. We quote from the language of one of our oldest and most esteemed citizens. He says; "He (Powers) was not paid by Moultrie for this act; his pay was in a consciousness of having done his duty. Not only did Macon not kn ow who Moultrie's friend was; but even Moultrie, until now, never knew."


It will be observed from the above act, the county seat could not be located until further legislation; and hereby hangs a tale. It must

Page 66

be borne in mind that Mr. Thos. Fleming was the acknowledged leader of the eastern faction for the new county, that the location of the county seat was the bone of contention, and that the proposed slice cut off from Coles countv must necessarily cut a pr ominent figure in the same. When it became known that the tier of townships from Coles county must be lopped off in order to get the act through the legislature, Mr. A. H. Kellar proposed to Mr. Fleming that they had better drop the question of the count y seat rather than to have any dissension in the ranks that would tend to defeat the measure proposed. The question of the county seat was accordingly dropped; which explains why the county seat was not located or mentioned in the act creating Moultrie c ounty.

The first court was held at the private residence of James Camfield, about three miles southwest of Sullivan, in the spring of 1843, the action of which Court will be found recorded in this chapter.

The next year, 1844, the place of holding court was removed by a vote of the people to East Nelson. In the fall of 1844 the question of permanently locating the county seat was submitted to the people. Three places were proposed, to wit: East Nelson; Pat terson's Point, near "Uncle" Davy Patterson's; Asa's Point, now Sullivan. The proposition was, that the seat of justice should be located at the place receiving a majority of all the votes cast. As no one of the places designated received a majority of all the votes, another election was called, when the two places, East Nelson and Asa's Point, were voted upon. The majority were in favor of the latter, and the county seat was finally established. Mr. Philo Hale owned eighty acres of land where the tow n of Sullivan now stands. He proposed for a nominal sum to let the town have one of the forty acres of the eighty for a town site, as they might choose. In the winter following the county commissioners met at the house of Dr. William Kellar to locate th e exact point of the county seat. The vote was a tie, which left the casting vote to the chairman, R. B. Ewing. Parnell Hamilton was present--he afterwards surveyed the town -- and he proposed to Mr. Ewing to do as one Trader said, "Put up a stake and b e governed by its fall." Just then the pen Mr. Ewing was writing with fell to the north, and thus it was decided that the north forty should be the location. Mr. Hale was paid $100 for the land; this amount was made up by a subscription from the people. The naming of the county seat was left to the county commissioners, R. B. Ewing, A. H. Kellar, and George Mitchell. They named it Sullivan, from Sullivan's Island, the small island off Charleston harbor, upon which Fort Moultrie is situated--the name be ing in keeping with the name of the county, Moultrie.


Was held on the first Monday in April, 1843. There were but four voting precincts -- Lovington, Thomason, East Nelson, and Julian, with territory in each, as follows: the Lovington precinct embraced all of that part of Moultrie county which had previousl y belonged to Macon, except that portion on Marrowbone creek; the Thomason precinct embraced all of that part of Moultrie county south of the Lovington precinct, including the West Okaw timber to the forks of the river, and so much of Welborn's creek as w as in the new county, also Marrowbone timber; East Nelson embraced all of the southern part of the county from the forks of the river, including Whitley creek and up the East Okaw to the mouth of Jonathan creek; Julian embraced the rest of the territory n orth of East Nelson. The judges of election for Lovington were Allen Clore, E. D. Cleveland, and George Best; the election was held in the old log school-house, on what is now Col. Allen Clore's farm. Of the Thomason precinct, the judges were Joseph Rone y, David Strain, and David Mitchell ; the election was held at the private residence of William Thomason. In East Nelson precinct, the judges were William Hendricks, Andrew Scott, and James Poor. The judges in the Julian precinct were William Purvis, Lev i Fleming, and Thomas Falton. "Uncle" Johnny Ginn, now deceased, was allowed forty-two cents for returning poll-books to the clerk of the commissioners' court. The whole number of votes cast was three hundred and thirteen. The population of the county was less than two thousand.


Were John A. Freeland, clerk of the county commissioners' court; Isaac Walker, sheriff; A. B. Lee, coroner Jno. A. Freeland, recorder; Hugh Allison, surveyor; David Patterson, Probate justice; John Perryman, treasurer and school commissioner.



The county court appointed William Thomason, assessor, and Andrew Love, collector; but afterward found that according to law the sheriff was ex-officio collector, hence that portion of their action was expunged from the record.

The first justices in the Lovington district were A. H. Kellar and William R. Lee; the first constables, Robert Sharp and Henderson Matheny. In the Thomason district were William Thomason, David Strain, justices; and John Hill and George Thomason, consta bles. The justices in East Nelson district were James Elder and Joshua Patterson; constables, Samuel Dukes and William Hamilton. In the Julian district, William Purvis and Thomas Fulton, justices; the constables we are unable to furnish.

No change was made in the voting precincts until the June term of the court of county commissioners, 1845, when two new districts were created by order of the court, as follows: "Ordered, that the Sullivan election precinct be bounded as follows: beginnin g where the range line between ranges 5 and 6 crosses the south line of the county, thence north on that line one mile into township 13, thence east to the county line, thence north to the northeast corner of the county, thence west and south down the mid dle of the prairie to the school-house near William Mullholland's, thence south to include Burg's mill to the river, thence down the river to the county line, thence east to the place of beginning; and that the place of holding the election be at the town of Sullivan."

"Ordered, that the Whitley creek election precinct be bounded, as follows: beginning at the county line where the range line between ranges 5 and 6 crosses the county line, thence north one mile into township 13, thence east to the county line, thence sou th to the south-east corner of the county, thence west to the place of beginning; and that the place of holding the election be at the house of John Hendricks.

The first meeting of the board of county commissioners was held at the private residence of James Camfield on the 10th day of April, A.D. 1843. Present the Hon. Reuben B. Ewing, Abraham H. Kellar and George Mitchell.

The first business of the court was the accepting of the oath of office of John A. Freeland, the county clerk elect of Moultrie county. We give it verbatim as it may prove of interest to the people of Moultrie county at this late date:


"State of Illinois,
Moultrie County.
"I, John Freeland, clerk of the County Commissioners' court

Page 67

of Moultrie county, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and of this state; that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties required by law of me as clerk of the county commissioners' court, to the best of my understanding and abilities; so help me, God.


"Sworn and subscribed before me this 10th day of April, A. D. 1843.


Their next action was the subdivision of the county into thirteen road districts, from which we append the following:

1. Commencing at the mouth of the branch between John Rhodes' and Daniel Pea's, on the West Okaw; thence up said river centre of the channel to the middle fork; thence north up said fork to the Piatt line; thence west to the Macon line; thence south oppos ite to the head of said Pea's branch; thence to the place of beginning. Supervisor, George Best.

2. Commencing at the south-east corner of section 24, township 14 north, range five east; thence west seven miles; thence north to district No. 1; thence east seven miles; thence south to the place of beginning. Wesley W. Smith is to be included in said district. Supervisor, John Rhodes.

3. Embraces all that section of country west of West Okaw, and south of district No. 2, and to the county line on the south. Supervisor, Jesse D. Walker.

4.Embraces all that parcel of country in sections 24, 25 and 36 in township 13 north, range, 4 east. Supervisor, Michael Skidmore.

5. Embraces the portion of country within the following bounds: beginning at the mouth of the West Okaw; thence up East Okaw to the east line of section 29, township 13 north, range 5 east; thence north to the southeast corner of section 20, township 14, north, range 5 east; thence west to the West Okaw; thence down the middle of said river to the place of beginning. Supervisor, Jones Hampton.

6. Embraces all that country lying within the following bounds: commencing at the point where section 29, township No. 13, north range 5, crosses the river; thence up said river to the mouth of Asa's creek; thence up the middle of said creek to the head, or one mile into township 14 north; thence west to the south-east corner of section 29, township 14 north, range 5 east; thence south to the place of beginning. Supervisor, Frederick Hoke.

7. Commencing at the mouth of Asa's creek; thence up the middle of the river to the county line on the east; thence north to the line between townships 13 and 14 north; thence west to Asa's creek; thence down the middle of said creek to the place of begin ning. Supervisor, Clisby Ellis.

8. Commencing at the mouth of Whitley's creek; thence up the middle of said creek to the mouth of Crab-apple creek; thence up said creek to the county line; thence north to the middle of the Okaw; thence down the middle of said river to the place of begin ning. Supervisor, Linville P. Lilley.

9. Commencing at Crab-apple creek on the Coles county line; thence south to the corner of Moultrie county; thence west three miles; thence north to the middle of Whitley's creek; thence up Whitley and Crab-Apple creeks to the place of beginning. Supervis or, George Waggoner.

10. Commencing at the south-east corner of section 28, township 12 north, range 6 east; thence west two miles and twenty rods; thence north to the middle of Whitley's creek; thence up said creek to section line, dividing three and four; thence south to th e place of beginning. Supervisor, Gideon Edwards.

11. Commencing at Whitley's creek, twenty rods west of the section line, dividing sections 5 and 6, township 12 north, range 6 east; thence south to the county line; thence west and north with the county line to the middle of Okaw river; thence up said ri ver to Whitley's creek ; thence up the middle of said creek to the place of beginning. Supervisor, Isaac Shirley.

12. Commencing at the south-east corner of township 14 north, range 6 east; thence west to Asa's creek; thence north on the rangeline between 5 and 6 three miles; thence east three miles; thence north to the county line; thence east three miles; thence so uth to the place of beginning. Supervisor, Elijah Fleming.

13. Commencing on the West Okaw near section 8, township 14 north, rule 5 east; thence up said Okaw to the middle fork; thence up said fork to the Piatt county line; thence east to the middle of range 6 east; thence south between sections 12 and 13 ; then ce west to the place of beginning. Supervisor, James Kellar.

The first county order issued was at the first meeting of the board of county commissioners in April, 1843; it reads as follows: Ordered, that T. W. Short be allowed one dollar for a ledger. The second order was for one dollar and seventy cents, and was made to John A. Freeland for that day's services. From the following we are led to believe that the commissioners and sheriff charged nothing for their first day's services. It reads: " Be it known that the sheriff, Isaac Walker, and the county commissi oners, charge nothing for this day's services."

The last order of this term reads as follows: Ordered that the school commissioner of Moultrie county receive the uncurrent money that may he due said county, and make any disposition he can of it, at seventy cents to the dollar, or over. He is hereby fu rthor authorized to loan the same so as to secure to the county, by giving six or nine months credit, seventy-five cents on the dollar.

In 1848 the new constitution went into effect, which made a charge in this court, organizing it with one judge having probate jurisdiction, and providing for two associate justices, all to hold their offices for four years. Under this law were elected, i n 1849, James Elder, judge, E. D. Cleveland and Daniel Ellington, associate justices.


The first settlement made with the treasurer was in the September term, 1844. The following is a true copy of that record: " Upon a settlement being made with the treasurer of Moultrie county there was found to be the following amount of funds: jury cert ificates, $31.52; county orders, 19.50; gold, 26.62; silver, 164.00 1/2; whole amount, $241.64 1/2."

From the same record we find the whole amount of taxes collected in that year, as reported by the collector, was $158.62, including his commission for collecting. For making the assessment William Thomason received $30 for his services, one half of which was paid by the county, the other half by the state.


Probably the first case on which Governor Oglesby tried the point of his legal spear, was the following. Among the first settlers in this part of the county were A. H. Kellar and William Cazier, both emigrants from the same place in Kentucky. It seems t hat Cazier became infatuated with the Mormons on their advent here. He was known as a very honest man until this faith took hold of him when it suddenly was revealed to him that a debt due a Gentile was not worth regarding. Kellar had stuck to him through thick and thin prior to his Mormon alliance. The result was that he,

Page 68

Kellar, had become largely involved in the debts of Cazier. The latter was about to leave, to join the Mormons, when his creditors levied on the most of his property. When the property was offered for sale, his son, Ben, bid in the property. Among this property was a large four-horse wagon, and it appears there was some doubt of the legality of the sale of said wagon. Cazier accordingly secreted the property out in the tall prairie-grass, about five miles from his place. Kellar learning of this, prop osed to his neighbor friends that they take a hunt for wolves -- wolves were plenty then, in the country -- with that object as a cover, but the real purpose was to find the wagon. After two days wolf-hunting, they came upon the wagon. It was put togeth er, and brought back to the neighborhood. A. B. Lee, was then constable, and he was on hand to levy on it in the interest of Kellar. Ben Cazier set up a claim for it, as he had bought it at the aforesaid sale. The rights of property had to be tried, an d Dick Oglesby, just then starting in the legal profession, was employed as Cazier's attorney. Kellar plead his own case, but Dick beat him; the old farmer not being equal to the task of bucking against the young attorney.

Some years after the occurrence of the above, about the year 1850, and when the now Hon. Richard Oglesby, had won an enviable reputation at the bar, he was engaged in prosecuting, and Usher Linder defending, in the case of the People, versus one William S haw. This case was brought by change of venue, from Crawford county. A great deal of excitement was created in the trial of this case, as it was one among the first murder trials held in the county.

Shaw was indicted for maliciously and feloniously killing his step father, whose name was Buchanan.

It must be remembered that Oglesby and Linder both were rather obese in their physical structure. Mr. Oglesby had made one of the best efforts of his life in summing up the case, and it became necessary for Mr. Linder to make an extra effort in behalf of his client. Attorney Linder had carefully sifted all the evidence -- had so graphically pictured to the jury his client's virtues, and the rending of a poor mother's heart, in case they should see fit to be brutes, and not do their duty as honest men an d humane citizens. He then turned his attention to the prosecutor of so base a conspiracy. He drew himself up to his full height, took one withering look at Mr. Oglesby, and belched forth -- pointing to his opponent -- "Did you ever see such a huge pile of beef and onions?" At this outburst, Oglesby jumped to his feet, sprang to the side of Linder, and gave him such a push or stroke as felled Linder to the floor. Mr. Linder regained his feet, and called upon the court to protect him. The judge -- Judg e Emerson was then on the bench -- said it was so quickly done that he had no power to prevent it. In this case Dick was defeated, as the prisoner was cleared, and Mr. Linder walked off with the laurels.

In the year following, 1851, Judge David Davis, now United States Senator, occupied, the bench in this judicial district; but through sickness or otherwise, Judge Harlan, father of Capt. Ed. Harlan of Marshall, was called to fill the vacancy. In order tha t the present generation may understand the full path of this anecdote, it will be necessary for them to know that the jail-room in the old court-house, on account of its filthiness, and poor accommodations, was familiarly known as "the stable." Now Judge Harland was a fair type of the Eastern Yankee. In order to do his duty properly it became necessary that he should be whittling at something. To whittle out wooden chains from an unbroken stick was one of his favorite amusements. While thus engaged up on the Bench one day, a traveling troupe of Indians passed through the town past the court-house. All hands in the court-room would jump up to look out of the window, when the court would order the sheriff to keep order. Jake Mullholland was bound to see the sights, and every time they passed around the square, "Uncle Jake" would run to the window. The judge finally got out of patience, and ordered the sheriff to take the offender into custody. Uncle Jake rose to his feet, cracked his fists together, a nd declared that he was a "hoss! " The court quietly remarked that the sheriff would take that "hoss" to the stable.

Perhaps one of the best and most pointed anecdotes occurred at an earlier date, when Abraham Lincoln honored the bar of Moultrie county with big fun-loving stories and forensic eloquence. It occurred in the fall term of the court in the year 1846. In th ose days wrestling-matches were very popular, and many are the stories told of the wondrous feats performed by the athletes of those early times. David Campbell was then prosecuting attorney, and he considered himself one of the best men, physically, of the day. In a bout with one of the bullies of the county, the seat of Campbell's pants was entirely torn away. He being a genial fellow, and somewhat prodigal in his habits, was hardly able to buy another pair, in order to appear decently in court. His brother attorneys felt that they ought to subscribe something to that end. The subscription was circulated around among the members of the bar, the most of them contributing to the list. It was finally handed to Mr. Lincoln for his donation. He scanne d the whole paper carefully, and then wrote beneath all the other names that he could not conscientiously contribute anything to the end in view.

Volumes almost could be filled with the pleasing anecdotes that the old attorneys of Moultrie can relate, and enjoy themselves, heartily in so doing, but this space is too limited to give them all a place.


The following is the first deed put on record in Moultrie county; it was made by David Mitchell and wife to Calvin Freeman. The land is situated in what was formerly Macon county; it contained forty acres, the consideration being one hundred and sixty do llars:--

This Indenture, made and entered into.tbis second day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-two, between James Mitchell and Onah Mitchell, of the county of Macon and state of Illinois, of the first part, and Calv in Freeman, of the county of Macon and state of Illinois, of the second part, Witnesseth: That the said party of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and sixty dollars in hand, paid by the said party of the second part , the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, has granted, bargained and sold, and by these presents do grant, bargain and sell unto the party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, a certain tract of land, situated, lying and being in the county of M acon and state of Illinois, known and described as follows, to wit: the north-east half of the north-east half-quarter of section number nine, township number fourteen north, range five east of the third principal meridian in the district of lands subject to sale at Vandalia, containing forty acres. To have and to hold the aforesaid tract or parcel of land, together with all and singular the privileges and appurtenances to the only proper use and benefit of him, the said party of the second part, his hei rs and assigns forever. And the said parties of the first part for themselves, their heirs, executors and administrators do covenant to and with the said party of the second part, that they lawfully seized, have full right to convey, and will forever war rant and defend the said tract of land from the claims of them

Page 69

the said parties of the first part, their heirs and assigns, and against the claim or claims of any other persons whomsoever.

In testimony whereof the said parties of the first part have hereunto set their hand and seal the day and year aforesaid.

Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of
Macon County.
S. S.
Before me, the undersigned, a Justice of the Peace for the county aforesaid, personally came James Mitchell and his wife, Onah Mitchell, who are known to me to be the real persons by whom and in whose names the above conveyance was executed, and by whom a nd in whose names said conveyance is proposed to be acknowledged, and acknowledged that of their own free will, that they executed said deed for the purposes therein expressed. And the said Onah Mitchell, wife of the said James Mitchell, being by me firs t examined separate and apart from her still husband, and the contents of said conveyance being first made known to her, acknowledged that free and voluntary, and without any compulsion or coercion from her said husband, she executes the same, and forever relinquishes all her right and claim of dower in the lands and tenements in said conveyance described.

Given under my hand and seal this eighth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-two.


The above deed went on the records in Moultrie county some time in June, 1843. The record was destroyed when the courthouse was burned, in 1864. It was afterwards re-recorded in the new records of the county, January 13th, 1865. This deed has passed th rough rather an eventful career. It was first recorded in Macon county. As soon as this county was organized, it was the first to appear upon the record. "Uncle" Johnny Freeland informs us that at that time the county was not supplied with any book for r ecording deeds; he accordingly transcribed it upon an ordinary sheet of fools-cap paper. As soon as the officers of the county had supplied themselves with books to do the business of the county properly, he then placed it upon the first page of the reco rder's book; it thus stands as a memento of the days of "Auld Lang Syne."


was issued by John A. Freeland the llth day of April, 1843. The contracting parties were David Strain and Mrs.Susanna Ball. She lived in Shelby county, but the groom lived in Moultrie. They were married by, and at the house of Squire Amos Waggoner, the father of J. H. Waggoner.

Apropos of the foregoing, Mr. Freeland issued another license only two or three years afterward, the obtaining of which was so unique in its character that this subject would be incomplete if omitted. The parties to be married were William C. Ward and Mi ss Askins. Now, William was in somewhat straitened circumstances, so much so, at least, that he was not able to go to Shelbyville to procure the license (the bride lived in Shelby county). Mr. Ward was well acquainted with "Uncle" Johnny Freeland, the c ounty clerk, so he approached Mr. Freeland, and frankly told him he had to get married but was not able to pay for the license; that if he would issue him the license he would pay him in a short time with shingles. The license was issued, and William wen t away happy. The shingles were furnished as per agreement, the first house built in town by Mr. Freeland was covered with those shingles. It is only a year or two since the carpenter took away the old relic.


The first house built upon the court-house square was first for a saloon. It was built upon the ground now occupied by City Book Store. The license was taken out by the firm of Snyder & Cox. According to the order passed by the Board, they had to pay $23 for the same. This was in the summer of 1846, but you find from the record that from some cause it was rescinded March following, 1847. This was not the first saloon kept in Sullivan, but it was the first that was licensed. In 1845 Joe Earp had a salo on in the same building, no license then being required.


As there was no court house, and in fact no county seat, at the organization of the county, the first circuit court was held at the residence of James Camfield, the second week in May 1843. Judge Samuel H. Treat, now Judge of the United States District C ourt at Springfield, was then upon the bench. The all-absorbing case then on the docket was the case of The People vs. John Garner. Alexander Dunbar and J. Wilson Ross were attorneys for the defendant, and James McDougal, afterwards United States Senator from California, was State's attorney. It seems from the indictment that said Garner was charged for an assault to kill with an axe Greenbury Cunningham; but through the good engineering of the defendant's counsel, or tough swearing on the part o f his witnesses, Garner was acquitted on the plea of self defense.

There is one other case that occurred only two years after that cut such a figure in Moultrie county's first history that we cannot refrain from introducing it under this head. We have fully traced page after page of the county commissioners' records in order to give in full the cost to the county of this case; and will say here that the case referred to cost the county more than one-half of its entire revenue of that year. It occurred in 1845. We have reference to the case of The People vs Robert A . Barry (Berry). We simply give the items of expenditure as gleaned from the record of the county commissioners, of allowances made to different parties who were entitled to certain expenses,etc.:

Arthur Mitchell, jailor, Coles county $1.87
Jailor of Macon county, for boarding prisoner 28.12
Berry and Snyder, for apprehending 40.00
" " " " boarding 6.00
James H. Stevens, for removing prisoner from Coles to
Macon county jail
William Patterson and John Drew, for guarding prisoner
from Coles to Macon
John G. Purvis, serving subpoenas 5.30 1/4
John Smith, witness fees 5.00
A. C. Collins " " 7.00
John H. Stevens, serving summons 4.87 1/2
William Purvis, Justice's fees 1.50
Jailor of Macon county, allowed as a compromise 50.00
Further ordered that Macon county jailor be allowed 12.10
Total $175.76 3/4

It will be seen from the above that the criminals from Moultrie county were mainly confined in the Coles and Macon county jails. In later times, before the new jail was constructed in this county,

Page 70

the prisoners of Moultrie county were taken to Shelby county for safe keeping.


was as follows: William Hendricks, William G. Hayden, John W. Edwards, John Canady, Henry Miller, Levi Patterson, James Elder, Thomas Fulton, Elias Canedy, David Mitchell, David Strain, Daniel Pea, Jeremiah Souther, Rowland Hampton, Benjamin Sims, Levi F leming, Albert G. Snyder, James Poor, John Roney, James Freeland, Parnell Hamilton, James H. Vanhise, and Milton Cox.

The second grand jury, which was for the October term of court 1843, was John Shutters, James Cunningham, Jr., Samuel Fudge, Allen Clore, A.G. Snyder, Tobias Rhodes, Robert Crowder, E.M. Landsen, Partlett Everman, James H. Roney, George Nevell, sen., Jess e Ellis, William Purvis, John Seass, Joshua Patterson, Mathias Snyder, Andrew Gamel, John Chamberlain, Philip Armantrout, William Scott, John E. Graham, Samuel Hughes, and Benjamin H. Syler.

The following composed the first petit jury: William Welch, E.D. Cleveland, Joel Kellar, Larkin Beck, George Thomason, Joshua Roney, James Fruit, Joseph Montague, Jacob McCune, James Hudson, John Fleming, sen., William Patterson, John G. Purvis, James Ga rdner, William Snyder, John Hendricks, Wright Little, Samuel Scott, J.W. Lovings, and Samuel Wright.

The second petit jury were as follows: Samuel Egbert, Philip Vadakin, William Snyder, Samuel Morison, Allen Davis, Archibald Butts, Samuel Hughes, Reece Lee, Joseph Cloud, James Camfield, Frederick Hoke, George Purvis, Clisby Ellis, Levi Patterson, Willi am Siler, Joe Thomason, W.R. Lee, John Brown, John G. Purvis, Hiram Welton, John Ginn, John Fielton, Martin Luther, John Fleming, and James Kellar.

The first indictments were found in the May term, 1843, against Wilson B. Hamblin, and Edward Thomas, for making and passing counterfeit money. They were tried at the following term of court, convicted and sent to the penitentiary for a term of years. W e find the following in the record of the county commissioners' court: "Ordered, that J. McDougal be allowed $20, for fees in the cases of Edward Thomas, and Wilson B. Hamblin, convicts to the State prison."

The first murder trial occurred in the September term of court in the fall of 1846. One George Case was charged with the killing of his son, George Case, jr. Resulting from this case we find the following from the records of the county commissioners' co urt: "Lewis J. Berry, coroner, was allowed $6.75 for holding an inquest on the body of George Case, jr. This was the first inquest held in the county." "Willis Johnston, jailor of Macon county, was allowed $5.62 1/2 for keeping the said prisoner, Georg e Case. J.W. McCoy was allowed 37 1/2 for repairing and fastening on the chains of said prisoner." The evidence elicited in the foregoing case is substantially as follows: The elder Case had a man working on his farm by the name of Burns. George Case, jr., son of the accused, had taken a great liking to this man Burns. The father had contracted, through some cause, a wonderful hatred to Burns, and had forbidden his son to have anything to do with him. He afterwards caught the boy in conversation wit h Burns, and proceeded to give him a severe castigation for disobeying him. A day or two afterwards the boy was at the house of James Kellar, and the collar of his shirt being open, Mrs. Kellar saw that some dark purple spots appeared upon his neck and s houlders. She thought that perhaps he had been gathering berries, and asked him with regard to it. The boy replied that his father had whipped him. Mrs. Kellar then examined his person further, and found that he had been fearfully bruised by some means . She also called the hired girl -- who was a witness in the case -- to bear her out in what she had seen. The boy died a few days afterward. It was soon whispered around that there had been foul play, which caused the death of the boy. The body was e xhumed and a coroner's jury empanelled by the coroner, L.J. Berry, to sit upon the case, and decide according to the merits and evidence that should be developed at the inquest. Doctors A.H. Kellar, B.B. Everette and Hendricks were called to examine the deceased. After hearing the testimony of the physicians, the jury decided that death was caused by inflammation, resulting from severe bruises upon the back and shoulders, also a violent stroke upon the side of the head. Case was accordingly arrested, a nd placed in the custody of the proper officers. He engaged an attorney by the name of J.W. Wheat -- who, in fact was the first lawyer that practiced law in Moultrie county -- to defend him. Wheat managed to sue out a writ of habeas corpus, and got the case transferred to Springfield. The result was, that but little of the evidence could be gotten before this court, and in consequence of which this Case was discharged. He, however, absented himself from the county after his acquittal.

The first census was taken in 1845. We are not able to give the exact number, but it was not far from 3000. John Fleming was the census official. There was one striking peculiarity with regard to it. There were just 480 males, and 480 females under th e age of ten years. The census of 1880, taken from the official report, is 13,539.

The first probate court was held at the private residence -- about two miles south of the present city of Sullivan -- of David Patterson; he (Patterson) being elected the first probate judge. The first business transacted was the probating of the estate of Hugh Allison, first surveyor elected in Moultrie county. The estate of Thomas Howe was also administered upon, and Reuben B. Ewing was the administrator of the estate. Further than this, we are unable to furnish anything, on account of the destructio n of the record of 1864.


AS is already known, the first court was held at the residence of James Camfield. Although the site for the county seat was determined upon in the winter or spring of 1845, the building of the first court-house was not commenced until the spring o f 1847, the court being held in the school-house on the lot just west of where the Christian church now stands. Andrew Scott was the contractor. The house was to be a brick structure, thirty-eight feet square, and two stories high. A hall passed throug h the centre on the ground floor, with two offices on either side. A jail apartment was cut off in the north-east corner of the basement floor. The second story was occupied wholly as a court room.

The entire cost of the building was $2,800. R.B. Wheeler furnished the seats, as the following, is copied from the records of the county commissioners' court, will show: "Ordered that R.B. Wheeler be allowed $69.00 for the seating of the new court-house ." The house was completed and accepted in the spring of 1848. It was destroyed by fire in the summer of 1864, and nearly all the records of the county were completely lost.

The contract for the present court house was led to S.W. Conn & Brother, in the spring of 1865. There were five bids offered. The highest given was for upwards of $29,000. The brick work was sub-let to Charles Underwood. John D.M. Conred was employed t o do the painting. Samuel Brooks, of Dunn, furnished the bricks. The stone for the foundation was shipped from Joliet. It was to

Page 71

be fifty feet square, and thirty feet from the foundation to the eaves. From the eaves to the dome, it is about thirty-eight feet, making the height from the foundation to the dome sixty-eight feet. The contract for building it was $18,000, but when it was completed it cost over $21,000. "Uncle" Sammy Wright, and William Hayden hauled all the material for building from Mattoon, except the brick. The vault is claimed to be fire proof, and one of the best in the state. It was completed in the summer fo llowing, 1866.


THE first jail, as is already known, was in the north-east corner of the basement floor of the old court house. It was divided into two departments; the jail room proper, and the "dungeon." On account of its inadequacy for jail purposes, it was n ever used in only two or three cases. One informant tells us that nothing but a jack-ass was ever confined in it, (a practical joke of the boys). But the more reliable history is, that one Hiram Davis, confined there for cattle-stealing, bored his way o ut with a small gimlet. In another case, a prisoner, by a little exertion, dug through the brick wall and escaped, and has never been heard from since. Before the construction of the present jail, the Moultrie county prisoners were taken, as before ment ioned, to adjoining counties, for safekeeping.

The present jail was built in the spring and summer of 1876. The contractors were P.J. Pauly & Brother, of St. Louis. The specifications, etc., were drafted by N.P. Guffy. It was to be a brick structure, and in size 32 by 52 feet, and two stories high. There were fifteen bids submitted; the lowest being by Pauly & Brother, for $6,972. James T. Taylor was appointed by the board of supervisors to superintend the work for the county.

The wood work was sublet to William Bushman for $1,400. The brick work was done by John F. Miller, and the plastering by Nichols Brother. The lower story is conveniently arranged for domestic purposes of the sheriff. The second story is divided into tw o halls, besides the prisoners' room. The first hall you enter from the stairway, is completely cut off by iron grating from the second hall. The second hall is next to the prison proper, and is effectually barred from the cell-room. The latest patent locks and appurtenances are used in these halls. There are eight iron-clad cells -- four on each side of the hall -- in which the prisoners recreate. At this writing there are but four prisoners confined in the jail -- two for larceny, one for rape, and one for murder.

The first overseers of the poor were A. Love, of Lovington precinct; James Roney, of Thomason precinct; John Fulton, of Julian precinct; and Milton Cox, of East Nelson precinct.

The county poor farm was purchased the 6th day of August, 1864, at the suggestion of Judge J.E. Eden, who was afterwards appointed one of the commissioners to negotiate for its purchase. It contains two hundred acres, one hundred and sixty acres of prair ie and forty of timber, and it cost $5,800. It was paid for out of part of the proceeds of the swamp land funds. The property was bought from Eli York, and is generally known as the old Greene Camfield farm. It has an excellent orchard, and a fairly co nvenient farm house for its purposes. William Crouch was the first poor-master, and started in with five inmates. There are but four paupers at this time.

The first assessment made in the county was twenty-five cents on the hundred dollars. According to the record, the first assessors' book that was made out for which any pay was received, was in the year 1848. We copy the following from the record: "Ord ered, that John A. Freeland be allowed $19.87 for making out a book for the assessor, and preparing the same for the collector for the year 1848."

Page 72

DECEMBER 11th, 1880.

County bonds in aid of B. & O.R.R.R.,. . . . . . . $200,000
Accrued interest on same,. . . . . . . 70,000
County bonds in aid of D.S. & M.R.R.,. . . . . . . 81,000
Accrued interest on same,. . . . . . . 28,000
Total,. . . . . . . $379,000
County revenue now being collected. . . . . . . $20,100

The following is a list of the Senators and Representatives who have represented Moultrie county since its organization:

Peter Warren,. . . . 1844-45, 1846-47    Isaac Funk. . . . 1863-65
Josiah McRoberts,. . . . 1849    W.H. Cheney,. . . . 1867
Nathaniel Parker. . . . 1851-53    John McNulty,. . . . 1869-71
William D. Watson,. . . . 1855    Charles B. Steel,. . . . 1873-75 [7]
Joel S. Post. . . . 1857-59    Malden Jones,. . . . 1877-79
Richard J. Oglesby,. . . . 1861    Horace S. Clark,. . . . 1881-83 [5]

Page 73


Usher F. Linder, )    1846-47     Michael Donohoe, )    1871
William D. Watson, )     Jonathan Meeker, )
Reuben B. Ewing, 1849     William T. Sylvester, )
Charles Emerson, 1851     John A. Freeland, ) 1873
Henry Prather, 1853     James A. Connolly, )
Albert G. Jones, 1855     James A. Connolly, )
James Wigche, 1857     E.W. Vause, ) 1875
W.W. Craddock, 1859     Richard A. Wilson, )
Smith Nichols, 1861     Henry A. Neal, )
James Elder, ) 1863     Rhoda Hefferman, ) 1877
William Coles, )     Stephen Cannon, )
Isaac C. Pugh, ) 1865     Orlando B. Ficklin )
Lewis J. Bond, )
    Arnold Thomason, ) 1879
Clark R. Griggs, ) 1867     Henry A. Neal, )
A. Brown, )     Eugene B. Buck, )
W.M. Stanley, ) 1869     J.W.R. Morgan, ) 1881
J.W. Scroggs, )     Thomas M. Bundy, )

On account of the destruction of the county records, we cannot give all the years in office of the following officers. We will, therefore, give the names in the order they were elected.

County Commissioners-- Reuben B. Ewing, Abraham H. Kellar, George Mitchell, March 1843, to August, 1843, Reuben B. Ewing, A.H. Kellar, Andrew Scott, from August, 1843, to August, 1846; A.H. Kellar, Rowland Hampton, Daniel Ellington, to 1848.

Recorder-- John A. Freeland was elected recorder in 1843, and held the office until the constitution of 1848 made the circuit clerk ex-officio recorder.

Circuit Clerks-- John Perryman, William C. Loyd, Arnold Thomason, J.H. Waggoner, S.W. Wright, present incumbent.

County Clerks-- John A. Freeland, from 1843 to 1857; C.L. Roane, from 1857 to 1861; A.N. Smyser, from 1861 to 1865; J.B. Titus, from 1865 to 1869; A.N. Smyser, from 1869 to 1873; George Hetherington, from 1873 to 1877; W.W. Eden, elected 1877, pres ent incumbent.

Sheriffs-- Isaac Walker, elected March, 1843; re-elected August, 1843, died in 1844; James H. Stevens, elected to fill vacancy in 1844; re-elected August, 1845; Joseph Thomason, elected in 1846; re-elected in 1848; T.O. Brown, elected in 1850; Jose ph Thomason, re-elected in 1852; Enoch C. Berry, elected in 1854; Simon M. Kearney, elected in 1856; Joseph Thomason, re-elected in 1858; served to 1864; S.P. Earp, elected in 1864; J.H. Carter, elected in 1866; S.W. Wright, elected in 1868; Joseph Thomas on, elected in 1870; served till 1876; Washington Linder, elected in 1876, present incumbent.


DAVID Patterson was elected first Probate Judge in 1843, and served in that capacity until the new construction of 1848 made a change, organizing a County Court with one Judge, having probate jurisdiction and providing for two Associate Justices.


James Elder, elected in 1849; E.D. Cleveland, Daniel Ellington, Associates.
James Elder, re-elected in 1853; David Patterson, Amos Waggoner, Associates
Amos Waggoner died while in office, and Rowland Hampton was elected to fill the vacancy.
James Elder, re-elected in 1857; William Purvis, Stephen Cannon, Associates.
J.E. Elder [Eden], elected in 1861; Joseph Baker, Stephen Cannon, Associates.
Arnold Thompson, elected in 1865; John Rhodes, William Noble, Associates.
In 1866 township organization took effect, and Arnold Thomason continued in office until 1877.
In 1877 Jonathan Meeker was elected, and is the present incumbent.


A.B. Lee, L.J. Berry, Douty Jonathan (Douty) Patterson, Hiram Trevillian, George Hoke, Oliver T. Atchison, Charles F. Cochran, present incumbent.


John Perryman, John A. Freeland, Dr. Hendricks, Frank Porter, Arnold Thomason, John Y. Hitt, T.B. Knight, David Patterson.


Dr. T.Y. Lewis, D.F. Stearns, J.K.B. Rose, D.F. Stearns, present incumbent.


Dr. B.B. Everette, elected in 1843, resigned his office in September, 1844.

John Perryman was appointed by the C.C. Court to fill the vacancy, and continued in office until 1849.

Arnold Thomason was elected in 1849, and served until 1855.

Isaac V. Waggoner was elected in 1855, and served until March, 1859, when he died, and James Lynn was appointed to fill the vacancy.

J.H. Waggoner, elected in 1861. T.M. Bushfield, elected in 1863, and served until 1871. S.W. Wright, elected in 1871. J.H. Dunscomb, elected in 1873, and served until 1877. A.E.D. Scott, elected in 1877, and is present incumbent.


Hugh Allison, died soon after election, Parnell Hamilton, D.D. Randolph, James R. Anderson, William Kirkwood, Michael D. Warren, Abraham Jones, John J. Bristow, died soon after election, Michael D. Warren, present incumbent.


WAS effected in 1866. Prior to this, in the fall of 1862, the proposition was submitted to the people, but was defeated by a large majority. It was again submitted to the people at the November election 1866, and was carried by a majority of 321 votes. At this time there were but five voting precincts in the county, to wit: Sullivan, Whitley Creek, Marrowbone, Lovington and Taylor. Sullivan precinct voted largely against township organization; the other precincts, however, were mainly for it, and hence the organization was effected.

At the first meeting of the county board following the election John R. Eden, B.S. Jennings and S.P. Earp were appointed commissioners to divide the county into townships. They subdivided it into eight civil townships, namely: Sullivan, Lovington, Marro wbone, West, Taylor, Jonathan Creek, East Okaw and Whitley township. On reporting their action to the auditor of state as the statute provides, it was found that there were three townships bearing the same name of three other townships in the state, to w it -- West, Taylor and East Okaw. There were accordingly re-named as follows: West township was changed to Dora, Taylor to Lowe, and East Okaw to East Nelson.


WERE elected in the spring of 1867. They were as follows: Jonathan Meeker of Sullivan, chairman; Alexander Porter, from Lovington township; Benjamin Freeman, from Jonathan Creek; James T.

Page 74

Taylor, from East Nelson; William Weakley, from Dora; J.A. Freeland, Jr., from Marrowbone; Alvin Waggoner, from Whitley and Geo. W. Winn, from Lowe. The supervisors are elected every spring. From the last census, Sullivan township will, undoubtedly, soo n be entitled to two supervisors.

In the writing of this chapter we have been obliged to labor under many difficulties on account of the destruction of the records in 1864. That some inaccuracies should occur with regard to dates would not be at all surprising; but we have taken much car e to have all dates corroborated where information has been received by word of mouth.

|| Return to Main Site Index ||