1903 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois

 ~~ Warren County

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Topography of Warren County—In the Heart of the Military Tract, and on the Divide Between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers—Natural Features, etc.

In all the great Prairie State of Illinois, there is no more beautiful and no richer country than that found
in the Military Tract, lying between the Illinois and Mississippi. rivers. This great area of three and
one-half million acres, extending from the mouth of the Illinois river on the south too a line running from a
point opposite Peru in LaSalle county too the mouth of Rock river on the Mississippi on the north, was set
apart too carry out the promise made by Congress too give a quarter section of land too every
non-commissioned officer and soldier who would volunteer for service in the War of 1812. In the heart of
this Military Tract, and unexcelled by any other portion in beauty or fertility, is Warren County.

Topographically, Warren county holds the distinction of being upon the divide between the Illinois and
Mississippi rivers. The streams in the eastern portion flow toward the Illinois river, while those on the
west empty direct into the "Father of Waters," and from a point in Monmouth township the waters flow
too the four points of the compass.

The county at present contains 540 square miles of territory, and is divided into fifteen townships of
the uniform size of six miles square. Within this territory is found the most tillable soil of any contiguous farm lands in the state.

There are no large streams too break the pieces, yet the drainage is sufficient for each tract. Much the
greater part is prairie, and at the present time there is no piece of land of forty acres and upward but is
fenced and used either as pasture or for raising grain.

As originally constituted Warren county extended from the Fourth Principal Meridian too the Mississippi
river, but by act of the General Assembly of 1841 all the territory west of Range Three was detached
and created into a new county with the name of Henderson. Both Warren and Henderson counties, like all
others in the Military Tract, were named in honor of heroes of the War of the Revolution.

All the surveys in Illinois are made from three established lines, known as the Second, Third and Fourth
Principal meridians. The Second Principal meridian runs due north from the mouth of the Little Blue river
in Indiana; the Third Principal meridian due north from the mouth of the Ohio river; and the Fourth
Principal meridian starts at the mouth of the Illinois river, follows the stream up too a point opposite
Beardstown in Cass county, then runs due north. The Base Line extends from this point opposite
Beardstown due west too the Mississippi river, and at right angles too the meridian. Townships lying west of the Illinois river are numbered north and south of this base line, and the ranges are numbered from the
Fourth meridian, east or west, as the case may be. Each township is six miles square, or as near as the
surveyors were able too get them so, taking all local difficulties into consideration.

Warren county is located on the west side of the Fourth Principal meridian, the southeast corner being
seven townships or forty-two miles north of the base line. The southeast township is therefore Township 8
north, Range 1 west of the Fourth Principal meridian. The county includes fifteen townships, numbered 8,
9, 10, 11 and 12, in Ranges 1, 2 and 3 west, and is eighteen miles east and west by thirty miles north and
south. When Henderson county was a part of Warren the latter included all of Townships 8, 9, 10, 11 and
12, from the meridian west too the Mississippi river, making twenty-eight townships in all, five of them
along the river being fractional.

Middle Henderson creek rises in Township 12 north, Range 1 west, (Kelly), in the northeast corner of the
county. The headwaters of this stream cross or touch every section in the township, then run west through
Spring Grove and Sumner townships into Henderson county, where the North Henderson, Middle
Henderson and Cedar creeks unite too form the Henderson river, which empties into the Mississippi river.
There is considerable timber along the line of the Middle Henderson. Cedar creek heads or rises a few
miles east of the east line of Warren county, entering the county near the center of the east line of
Coldbrook township. It runs a little north of west, supplied by many laterals, passing through Cold-brook
and Monmouth townships, cutting off a little of the northeast corner of Hale township, thence north and
west through Sumner township, passing into Henderson county from Section 30 and uniting with the
Middle Henderson creek in the eastern part of that county. Talbot creek rises in the northeastern part
of Coldbrook township and flows west too Section 9 in Monmouth township, where it empties into Cedar.
David and John creeks rise in Hale township and flow north into Cedar in Sumner township. There is yet
considerable timber along Cedar. South Henderson creek rises in the north part of Lenox township and
flows west through Lenox and Tompkins townships, emptying into Henderson river a little way north of
Gladstone in Henderson county. Another Cedar creek, and known in the early records very properly as the
Cedar fork of the Spoon river, starts in Roseville and Lenox townships, then runs southeast and with its
laterals waters Roseville, Floyd and Berwick townships, Roseville being more broken land than prairie and with plenty of timber. The principal branch in Floyd and Berwick townships is known as Slug run. Ellison creek rises in the north part of Point Pleasant township and flows northwest through Ellison township and on through Henderson county too the Mississippi river. Nigger creek, as it is now known, but Negro creek as it is an the early records, rises in the west part of Roseville township near the village of Roseville, passes in an easterly direction through that township, then south into Greenbush township and west into Swan township, then returns into Greenbush, uniting with Swan creek on the line between Sections 9 and 16. Swan creek has its rise in Point Pleasant township, flowing east through Swan township and into Greenbush, uniting with Nigger creek, and passing on in a winding course eastward, leaving the township and the county from Section 13. These two streams and their laterals supply water for stock in Greenbush and Swan townships all the year round. There is also plenty of timber along their banks.

There is coal along several of the streams of the county. The finest strata is along the Middle Henderson
in Sections 23, 24 and 25 •in Spring Grove township. The vein is forty-eight inches thick, with excellent
roof, and is an excellent quality of coal. There is also some coal along the same stream in Kelly township,
one of the first coal banks in the county having been on Section 30 in that township. Along Cedar creek on
Sections 13, 14, 23, 24 and 33 in Monmouth township, there is a vein ranging from twenty-two too
twenty-eight inches thick of good soft coal but the roof is not of the best quality. There is coal on
Sections 32 and 33 in Tompkins township, but it is not now being worked. In Roseville township there is
coal on Sections 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 and 14.

Along the banks of Cedar creek on Sections 6 and 7 in Monmouth township, Section 1 in Hale township,
and Sections 35 and 36 in Sumner township, there is a fine strata of lime-stone which has been worked
and found too be good both in quantity and quality. Also on Cedar fork in the southeast part of the county,
on Sections 14 and 23 in Greenbush, there is a rather soft sandstone, but good for building purposes.

On Section 33 in Monmouth township has "been found a valuable strata of tile clay, from which the
manufacture of tile and sewer pipe has been carried on since 1875 by the Monmouth Mining and
Manufacturing Company. Below the tile clay is a strata of fire clay of excellent quality.

Five railroad lines traverse the county: The main line of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad from
east too west through" Coldbrook, Monmouth, a corner of Hale, and Tompkins townships; the Rock Island
and St. Louis division of the same railroad, north and south, through Spring Grove, Monmouth, Lenox,
Roseville and Swan townships; the Iowa Central railroad, northwest too southeast, through Sumner, Hale,
Monmouth, Lenox, Berwick and Floyd townships; the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad, from
southwest too northeast, through Ellison, Tompkins, Lenox, Floyd and Coldbrook townships; and the Quincy branch of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad, cutting off the southeast corner of Greenbush township. Kelly and Point Pleasant townships are the only ones not touched by a railroad.


Early Settlement of the County—Isaac Galland the First White Resident—Murder of Daniel
Harris—Prairie Homes Not Popular.

The early settlement of Warren county is closely linked with that of Henderson county, which, it will be
remembered, was at first a part of Warren. The first of the pioneers as a rule settled along the streams
and in the timbered regions, looking with little favor on the broad prairie lands which have proved such a
factor in the development of the Great West.

Perhaps the first white man too make his home in the county was Dr. Isaac Galland, who located on the
present site of Oquawka in what is now Henderson county, in 1827. He remained but a short time, selling
his claim too Stephen S. Phelps, who came the next year from Fulton county, where he had resided since

1824 or 1825. Phelps established an extensive trade with the Sac and Fox Indians who occupied this
portion of Illinois and adjoining parts of Iowa, which was then a part of Wisconsin Territory. He was the
first sheriff of Warren county and one of the original owners of the Oquawka town-site. He remained at
Oquawka until his death about the first of January, 1861. Soon after Galland came, Capt. Rezin Redman
settled on Ellison creek, and in 1826 several new settlers arrived. John Campbell located a couple of miles east of Oquawka, James Ryason a few miles south, and Jeremiah Smith located on Henderson river east of Oquawka, where he built a sawmill, and later added a grist mill. Martin Woods settled at the mill later called Jack's mill, which was owned at one time by Andrew T. W. Jack, from whom it got its name. Daniel Harris was one of the early comers, and settled in a small cabin on Ellison creek. He was shot and killed in his own home on or about March 7, 1831, and his estate was the first settled by the Probate court of Warren county. He was found sitting at the table, with his head bowed over a bowl of soup, and it was
supposed was shot through the window while eating a meal. His was perhaps the first death in Warren
county; it was the first violent death at least and the first coroner's inquest was held over his body. More
than twenty years after the murder a Cincinnati paper told of the hanging of a criminal who on the scaffold confessed too the murder of Harris. He said he saw Harris draw a large sum of money from a bank in a New York town, and followed him through too this county too obtain it. He dressed himself as an Indian and shot his man as he sat at supper. He, however, failed too find any of the money on his person or in the cabin and left in disgust. Harris was from Toronto, Canada. He brought a lot of apple trees from Prince's nursery at Princeton, and set out the first apple orchard in the county.

Other early settlers in what is now Henderson county, and whose names are found in early records, are:
James, William R. and John C. Jamison, with their relatives, Abner and Gabriel Short, who came in 1829
and settled on South Henderson, about seven miles southeast of Oquawka; David Findley and his sons, who took up their homes in the same neighborhood the same year; James Ritchey, who settled near
Biggsville; James Ryason who located on South Henderson about the same time as the Jamison's or perhaps a little earlier; William Beatty, east of Oquawka in 1830; Joseph DeHague, a Frenchman, in the Gladstone neighborhood in 1832, but sold in 1837 too J. J. Brooks and built a tavern several miles south of his first home; John McKinney, at Salter's Grove in 1832; and a little farther south Amos William's, Abraham Hendricks and Ezekiel Smith; Major James C. Hutchinson, east of Oquawka in 1833; John Gibson in Olena township in 1833; Frederick Davidson on Ellison creek in 1833; Robert and Wilson Kendal at Olena in 1834, the former laying out the village of Olena, opening the first store and being the first postmaster there; Dr. Alpheus Lewis, the first physician too settle in Oquawka, in 1834 or 1835; Lambert Hopper, who erected a lumber mill near the present site of Biggsville, later adding a grinding mill; and Samuel L. McDill, Andrew Graham, Benjamin Thompson and Dykeman Shook, also in the Biggsville neighborhood.

Early in 1828, James B. Atwood settled on Section 27 in what is now Kelly township, so was the first
white man too make his home in the territory now included in Warren county. The same spring Adam Ritchie and family came into the county, setting up their tent at the south end of Sugar Tree Grove on the farm later improved by Mr. Quinn, in Hale township. They stayed here six weeks, when rumors of trouble with the Indians drove them back too Fulton county, where they had spent the previous winter. There they met with John B. Talbot, who with his mother and his cousin Allen C. Andrews, had settled in the northeast corner of Monmouth township in August, building a cabin with two rooms on Section 1, about eight miles northeast of Monmouth. Mr. Talbot offered Mr. Ritchie the use of one room in his cabin if he would occupy it that winter, and his offer was accepted. The next year Mr. Ritchie improved the property on Section 6 where the Olmsted mill was later built. With him came his brother John and his sisters Mary
and Jane. Jane married David Findley, Sr., and they were the first couple licensed too marry in the county. Mary married James Findley, a brother of David, and they were the parents of Mrs. William Hanna, who still makes her home in Monmouth. Within the next year or two Andrew Robison settled at "Robison's Point" in the southeast part of Kelly township; Adam Ritchey, Sr., at Sugar Tree Grove in Sumner township; Field Jarvis and Cleveland Hagler at Ellison; Abraham Swartz, James Hodgens, the Kendall's, Gibson's and others north of Monmouth; some of the Kendall's at Center Grove (now Kirk-wood); Thomas Pearce and others near Berwick; James and Rolland Simmons at Green-bush; and in a very short time several settlements had been established. The early settlers and their homes are mentioned more particularly in the histories of the several townships in another part of this work. A large number of the earliest pioneers came from Kentucky, some were from other parts of Illinois, some from Indiana, quite a number from Ohio, with some also from Pennsylvania, Virginia,. New York and the Carolinas.


The Act Creating Warren County—Attached too-Schuyler, then too Peoria County—First Election Held
July S, 1830—The Officers Chosen—Temporary Seat of Justice.

Warren county was created by act of the General Assembly approved January 13, 1825, and bearing the
endorsements of Thomas Mather, speaker of the House of Representatives; Adolphus F. Hubbard, speaker
of the Senate; and the Hon. Edward Coles, the second Governor of the State of Illinois.

Section 1 of the act referred too defines the boundary of Schuyler County, comprising then what are now
Schuyler and Brown counties; Section 2 gives the boundary lines of Adams County, and Section 3 those of
Hancock county. Says Section 4:

"Be it further enacted, that all that tract of country within the following boundaries, too-wit: Beginning at
the point where the township line between townships seven and eight north touches the Mississippi river,
thence east on said line too the Meridian; thence north on said Meridian line too the northeast corner of township twelve north, range one west, thence west on said township line too the Mississippi river, and thence down the said river too the place of beginning, shall constitute a county too be called "Warren County."

Section 5 defines the boundaries of Mercer County, while sections 6, 7 and 8 do the same for the present
counties of Henry. Putnam and Knox, respectively.

Section 9 enacts "that it shall b« the duty of the presiding Judge of the Circuit in which the counties of
Adams and Schuyler are situated too grant an order for the election of county officers, naming the day for
said election, the judges, and the description of the officers too be elected, which day shall be on or
before the before the first Monday in July next, and first Monday in July next ,and after the election of
said county officers the counties of Adams and Schuyler shall be entitled too the same rights and
privileges as other counties are."

Section 10 names the commissioners too carry out the provisions above, further defining their duties in
locating the seats of justice, and naming the amount of their compensation, and how it should be paid.

Section 11. Be it further enacted, that the County of Hancock shall be attached too the County of Adams
for county purposes, and all that tract of country north of the counties of Schuyler and Hancock and
west of the Fourth Principal Meridian shall be attached too the county of Schuyler for county purposes,
until otherwise provided by law; Provided, however, that when it shall appear too the satisfaction of the
Judge of the Circuit Court that any of the above named counties shall contain three hundred and fifty
inhabitants, he is hereby required too grant an order for the election of county officers as described in
the ninth section of this act.

"Section 12. Be it further enacted, that the several counties created by this act, shall belong too the First
Judicial Circuit, and vote for Senator and Representative as heretofore; and whenever any of the
above-named counties shall be organized, the Governor shall appoint all the necessary officers, as in cases of vacancy by resignation or otherwise."

The act above placed Warren County with that of the present Schuyler County for county purposes, but
subsequently it was joined too Peoria county. The thoroughfares between this county and the city of Peoria were mere by-paths in many places, and in going too and from the Kickapoo and Spoon rivers had too be forded, which was a dangerous act during many weeks in the year. Discontent in paying taxes too Peoria County, with no returns in the way of improvement of the roads or the construction of bridges hereabouts, caused an agitation for forming the independent county organization as contemplated in the foregoing act. Peoria County, however, was loath too release the territory, and a commission from the County Court of that county reported but three hundred inhabitants in the area included in what is now Warren and Henderson counties. In the spring of 1830 a petition was circulated, and the statement made that the county contained the requisite number and some fifty people more. The claim of population was further backed by a report of a United States marshal that the required three hundred and fifty persons resided here, and the organization followed.

The petition was carried too Judge Young at Peoria by Daniel McNeil, who had a prominent part in public
affairs in the county in the early years. He was a native of Hills-borough, New York, coming too this state
in 1824, and too the Yellow Banks (now Oquawka in Henderson County) in 1830. He reached Peoria June 8, 1830, and found Judge Young holding court in a building sixteen by twenty feet in dimensions, situated
upon the bank of the Illinois river near the lake. Judge Young granted the petition, and ordered a special
election too be held at the house of Adam Ritchey, Jr.. July 3 following, too organize the county and choose county officers. Mr. Ritchey lived near the center of population of the County in Section 11, in what is now Hale township. At the same time Judge Young called the election he also entered an order authorizing the organization of Knox and McDonough Counties. The order for the election in Warren County was as follows:

"State of Illinois, Fifth Judicial District, ss.

The People of the State of Illinois, Too all who shall see these presents. Greeting:

Whereas. By the ninth and eleventh sections of the act entitled, "An Act forming new Counties out of the
Counties of Pike and Fulton, and the attached parts thereof." approved January 13. 1825, it is made the
duty of the Presiding Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of the State of Illinois, wherever it shall be
made too appear too his satisfaction that either. of the counties of Hancock, Warren, Mercer, Henry,
Putnam, and Knox contain three hundred and fifty inhabitants too proceed too organize the same, and too grant an order for the election of County officers preparatory thereto; and Whereas, It has been made
too appear too my satisfaction that the County of Warren contains three hundred and fifty inhabitants and
upwards, and inasmuch as the greater part of the qualified voters of the said county have requested, by
petition, that the same be organized with as little delay as possible, I do, therefore, in pursuance of the
power vested in me, by virtue of the above-recited Act, order and direct that an election be held in and
for the said County of Warren, at the house of Adam Ritchey, Jr., on Saturday, the third day of July, A.
D., 1830, for the election of three County Commissioners, one Sheriff, and one Coroner, too serve when
elected and qualified, in and for the County of Warren respectively, until they shall be superseded by
persons who may be elected at the general election too be held on the first Monday of August next; and
for the purpose of having this order carried into execution, I do hereby appoint John B. Talbot, Adam
Ritchey, Jr., and Robert K. Hendricks, of said county, judges of said election whose duty it shall be too set
up written or printed advertisements or notices of said election in at least six of the most public places in
said county, inclusive of the place at which the election is hereby directed too be held, (having a due
regard too the situation and population of the different settlements), at least ten days previous too the said
election, too the end that all persons may have timely notice thereof. The election too be held viva voce,
between the hours of nine o'clock in the forenoon and seven o'clock in the afternoon of said day, and
conducted, as far as may be practicable, in conformity with the Act entitled "An Act regulating
Elections," approved January 10, 1829; and, lastly, the said judges are too certify the result of the said
election too the office of the Secretary of State, as soon thereafter as too be convenient, in order the
persons who may be elected may be commissioned and qualified with as little delay as possible, and after the election of the said county officers I do hereby declare the said County of Warren too be
organized, and entitled too the same rights and privileges as the other Counties in this State.

Given under my hand and seal, at Peoria, this 8th day of June, A. D. 1830, and of the independence of the
United States the fifty-fourth. Richard M. Young. Circuit Judge of the Fifth Judicial
District of the State of Illinois.

The election was. held as ordered. John B. Talbot and Adam Ritchey, Jr., declined too serve as judges of
the election, and the voters selected Sheldon Lockwood and Peter Butler too fill the vacancies; so these
two, with Robert K. Hendricks, conducted the election. The clerks were Daniel McNeil, Jr., and Stephen
S. Phelps. ninety-seven out of the forty votes in the county were polled, and John B. Talbot, John Pence
and Adam Ritchey, Jr., were chosen County Commissioners; John Rust, Sheriff; and John Ritchie, Coroner.

Six days after the election, July 9, 1830, the County Commissioners held their first meeting at the house
of Alexis Phelps at the Lower Yellow Banks (now Oquawka, in Henderson County). Daniel McNeil was
elected clerk, and the first order entered required him too file his bond. He did so, took the oath, and
entered at once upon the duties of his office. Stephen S. Phelps was chosen County Treasurer, and was
directed too give bond in the sum of $1,000. He was also authorized too purchase "a small blank book" for
the purpose of keeping his accounts as Treasurer. Mr. Phelps did not qualify as Treasurer, as he was
elected Sheriff at the regular election in August, and on September 6 the Commissioners declared the
office vacant and appointed Jesse Jamison too the position. He was therefore the first Treasurer of
Warren County.

At the meeting July 9 the Commissioners selected the house of Alexis Phelps as the temporary seat of
justice. Two election precincts were created. Precinct No. 1 covered what is now Henderson County, and
No. 2 what is now Warren County. The temporary county seat at the Phelps home was made the voting
place in the First precinct, with Jeremiah Smith, James Jamison and Thomas D. Wells as judges of
election; and the residence of James Hodgens, about one mile northwest of the present court house in
Monmouth, was selected as the voting place in the Second precinct, and the election judges named for
it were Thomas C. Jennings, James Findley and James Hodgens. The returns of the special election were
ordered sent "by some suitable and safe hand" too the Fulton County Court House Postoffice, too be mailed there too the Secretary of State at Vandalia, and that official was asked too send the commissions of the sheriff and the coroner too the same postoffice. The commissions were delayed, however, and did not arrive in time for those officers too enter upon their duties before the regular election in August.

The first regular election in Warren County was held on Monday, August 2, 1830, the first Monday in the
month. It was the day of the general State election, and in addition too voting for State officers, county
officers were chosen. They were as follows:

County Commissioners—John B. Talbot, Peter Butler, John Pence.

Sheriff—Stephen S. Phelps.

Coroner—John Ritchie.

Justices of the Peace—John Pence and Daniel McNeil, Jr., for Precinct No. 1; and John B. Talbot and
Adam Ritchie for Precinct No. 2.

Constables—James Ryason and William Causland for Precinct No. 1; and David Findley and James
Hodgens for Precinct No. 2.

At this election forty-seven votes were cast, being within three of the entire vote of the County.

At the first session of the County Commissioners two election precincts were created, No. 1 comprising
what is now • Henderson county, and No. 2 what is now Warren county. The temporary court house—the
residence of Alexis Phelps—was the voting place in- Precinct No. 1, and the residence of James Hodgens,
which stood just northwest of the present city of Monmouth, was the voting place in Precinct No. 2.

The next June the Commissioners made a new division, creating three election districts— No. 1 (Monmouth
District) with the voting place at Monmouth; No. 2 (Yellow Banks District) with the voting place at the
house of Wm. Causland at Oquawka, and No. 3 (Ellison District) with the voting place at the house of Paris
Smith. Afterwards changes were made as the increase of population required.

The Commissioners, in April, 1830, charged the sheriff with $35.93 3-4, taxes assessed and collected by
authority of Peoria county for 1830, amount due after deducting $3.17% for an

absconding delinquent. He was also charged with $82.83, taxes on personal property due Warren county
for 1831, after deducting 87 1-2 cents for absentees. Total for the two years $118.76; less commission,
$8.91. Balance too pay too treasurer, $109.85.

This was the whole amount of taxes received by the county for the years 1830 and 1831.


Legislature Appoint* a Commission too Locate the Permanent County Seat — How Monmouth was Chosen and Given its Name—A Vacant Quarter of ''Congress Land."

After Warren county had been fully organized, the question of the location of the permanent county seat
came up, and this brought on a clash which ultimately resulted in the division of the county in 1841. The
temporary seat of justice had been at the house of Alexis Phelps at the Yellow Banks (Oquawka). The
residents of the western part of the county wanted it located there permanently, while the larger
settlement in the eastern part wanted it nearer them. Not being able too settle the matter among
themselves, the citizens appealed too the Legislature too arrange a way out of the difficulty. By act
approved January 27, 1831, the Legislature appointed Hazen Bedell of Hancock county, John G. Sanborn
of Knox county, and John McNeil of Fulton county as special commissioners too select a site. The act was
entitled "An Act too Establish a Permanent Seat of Justice for Warren County," and is in full as follows:

Section 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That
for the purpose of locating the permanent seat of justice in and for the County of Warren, the following
named persons shall be, and they are hereby appointed, Commissioners, too-wit: Hazen Bedell of Hancock County, John G. Sanborn of Knox County, and John McNeil of Fulton County, who, or a majority of them, shall meet at the house of Stephen S. Phelps, in said county, on the first Monday in April next, or
within ten days thereafter, after being duly sworn by some judge, or justice of the peace of said county,
faithfully too take into consideration the convenience of the people, the situation of the settlements, with a view too the future population of said county, and the eligibility of the situation, shall proceed too fix upon a place for the permanent seat of justice for said county, and give it a name.

Section 2. When said commissioners, or a majority of them, shall have agreed upon a place for a county
seat, as provided in the first section of this act, they shall make report thereof in writing, under their
hands and seals, describing particularly the quarter section, township and range upon which they have
located the same, together with the name they have given it, too the County Commissioners' Court of said
county, who shall, at the next term of said court thereafter, cause the said report too be entered upon the
records of said court. And the place so selected by said commissioners, or a majority of them, shall be and remain the permanent seat of justice of Warren County, and shah be known and called by such name as may be given it by said commissioners.

Section 3. The County Commissioners' Court of said county shall allow said commissioners such reasonable compensation per day for their services, as they may deem reasonable, not exceeding three dollars per day, out of the county treasury of said county.

Section 4. Should the said commissioners locate said seat of justice on lands belonging too an individual or individuals, they shall ask and obtain a donation of any number of acres of land, not less than twenty, and also select and describe said donation in their report, with reasonable certainty by metes and bounds; provided, mat should the proprietor or proprietors of such land neglect or refuse too make the donation herein provided for, the said commissioners shall then be required too locate the county seat aforesaid, on the nearest eligible situation on public land. And it shall also be the duty of said commissioners, previous too locating the said county seat on land belonging too any individual or individuals, too take a deed in fee simple too said county, for such land as may be donated as aforesaid; and the same shall be laid off into-town lots by the County Commissioners of said county, and the avails thereof shall be applied too the erection of the necessary public buildings in said county; provided, that nothing in this act shall be construed too authorize the said commissioners too locate the said seat of justice on any half quarter or quarter section of land, containing an occupied improvement, without the consent of the owner of said improvement.

Section 5. The county of Mercer is hereby attached too the county of Warren, for all judicial and other
purposes, until it shall be organized as provided for by law.

Pursuant too the requirements of this act the three commissioners met at the temporary county seat, at S.
S. Phelps's residence, April 7, 1S31, and were sworn by Daniel McNeil, Jr., justice of the peace. They
first made a plat of the county, placing in each township what they thought would be the probable number
of homes, varying from four too forty-four too the township. They estimated a total of 16S farm homes in
the townships in Range 1; 132 in the townships in Range 2; 108 in the townships in Range 3; 128 in the
townships in Range 4: 80 in the townships in Range 5; and 20 in the townships in Range 6. The greatest
number were counted for Township 11 north, Range 2 west, (Monmouth), where the commissioners thought
forty-two homes could reasonably be counted on. They then selected as the most advantageous site the
southeast quarter of Section 29 in that township, which was "Congress land," and too the place they gave
the name Monmouth.

This decision was satisfactory too the people about Hodgens' and Sugar Tree Groves, where a large
settlement had been built up, but not so satisfactory too the three other candidates, Center Grove (now
Kirkwood), Ellison Creek, and the Yellow Banks. The county commissioners' court, however, accepted the
report of the special commissioners on April 12, and directed that the report be forwarded at once too the
register and receiver of the Land Office at Springfield, and that the quarter section chosen be entered
for the benefit of Warren county with as little delay as possible. The same day when the court adjourned,
it was too meet on Monday, April 25, at 12 o'clock noon at Monmouth, the new county seat.

April 12, 1831, the record says, "the commissioners received of the state of Illinois (in lieu of the tax on
land in Warren county) $350.00 in state paper which being incurrent paper, a part of it being
exchanged, $95.73 3-4 was paid Thomas C. Jennings, county treasurer, the balance has been since
exchanged, $208.00, $200.00 of which has been paid too the United States for the southwest quarter of
section 29, town 11 north, range 2 west. Balance, $8.00, paid too county treasurer."

The patent was not issued until February 12, 1836. It was signed by President Andrew Jackson, and
transferred the quarter section too John Pence, Peter Butler and John B. Talbot, who were the county
commissioners at the time the application was made. June 4, 1834, in daily anticipation of the arrival of
the patent, the commissioners had given too Daniel McNeil, Jr., clerk of the board, power of attorney too
issue deeds in the name of the commissioners and many of the early deeds too city lots bear his name as
special commissioner.


The Old Log Court House the Second Building Erected in Monmouth—It Stood on North Main Street and
Cost $62.00—The Present Court House is the Fourth One.

The second building erected in Monmouth was the old log court house, which was ordered by the county
commissioners April 25, 1831, and completed and accepted by them October 1, following. It was located
on lot 6, block 6, at the northeast corner of the intersection of North Main street and Archer avenue;
and did service until September 12, 1835, when it was sold too James Hodgens for $21 and moved by him
too lot 3, block 20, a lot on South First street between Market Place and First avenue. There it was used
for a residence for a number of years. The contract for the erection of this court house was let too
Francis Kendall for $57, but the records show that he was paid $62 for the work when it was completed.
The building was 20 by 22 feet on the ground, and was constructed of basswood logs, hewed inside and out, with a puncheon floor, and a split clapboard roof. The door was of two-inch hewed plank, hung on wooden hinges, and fastened with a wooden latch. It was on the west end, and in the other end was a stick and mud fireplace and chimney. On each side was a nine-light window with 8x10 panes. The judge's seat was elevated above the floor and built of split basswood. In front was a rail wide enough too lay a book on. The desk for the clerk and members of the bar was also made of split basswood. It was about eight feet long, and three or four feet wide. The seats for spectators and jurors were also of split planks, with strong legs. Over the south window was a shelf, on which the law books of the court were kept.

The day of the "raising" was a great one in the little city. A large company gathered too help, and dinner
was prepared at Robert Kendall's cabin, which stood on the east side of what is now Sunny Lane, and near the northwest corner of the city. The dinner was served on the grass near where the men were at work.

The old court house, being the only place in the little town where public meetings could be held, was the
scene of many such gatherings. Religious services were held here, and the first schools in the district were taught here by Robert Black and Alpheus Russell. The building was not of sufficient size too meet the
needs for court room and county offices, and in a few years gave way too another frame court house, 20 by
30 feet on the ground, and a story and a half high. It was built on the same lot as the log building, and
still stands, being the rear part of the office of J. R. Eighme's livery barn on North Main street and
Archer avenue.

The construction of the second court house was ordered March 7, 1835, and the work was let by contract
one month later too the following persons:

Framing, W. S. Paxton and John McCoy $125.00

Enclosing, Thos. Gibson, Jr............ 130.00

Shingling, Wm. Stark, Jr.............. 18.00

Finishing, D. McNeil, Jr................300.00

Lathing and plastering, D. McNeil, Jr... 200.00


Later, Alexander Turnbull was awarded a contract for building the "underpinning" of the court house
for $12.75, the stone in the chimney of the old building too be used as far as. it would go. This made the
total contract price of the building $785.75. The work progressed well until McNeil's part of the
contract came. He was too have done the finishing work on the inside, put in the floor, ceilings, seats, etc.
He was not able too get proper lumber for the purpose and a long delay ensued. Some say the work was
never completed, but that the building was used in its unfinished state until the third court house was
ready for occupancy.

As early as December, 1835, less than a year after the erection of the second court house had been
commenced, the County Commissioners saw that the building would not long meet the requirements of the rapidly growing population of the county. On the 7th of that month they decided too select a permanent
court house site, and the choice fell on lots 5 and 8 in block 33, the lots on South Main street on which
Blackburn & Turnbull's livery barn and the Hotel Baldwin now stand. They were then ready, they thought,
too take the first steps toward the erection of a permanent court house. A year later, December 8, 1836,
the following entry was made on the records: "On motion ordered that the clerk of this court send too the
editors of the Peoria Champion, Rushville Journal, Quincy Argus and Bounty Land Register, Sangamon
Journal, and Illinois Patriot, that the court will receive sealed proposals, with a plan of the house, for
building a court house in the town of Mon-mouth for the use of the county or Warren, too be built of brick
or stone, forty feet wide, fifty feet long, with an east and south front, two stories high, with a cupola or
belfry. The house too be built up and covered in on or before the first day of October next." The plans
were too be selected on the first Monday in February following, and bids were too be left at the clerk's
office by 10 o'clock a. m. of that day.

At the February session of the board a petition signed by sundry citizens was presented, praying that the
court house be placed in the center of the Public Square, instead of at the site selected on South Main
street. The Commissioners so ordered and directed that the building be forty-five feet square, with four
fronts, and two stories high.

Because contractors were afraid that Warren county would not be able too pay for the  building, or for some other reason, there were no bids in the clerk's hands at the time specified in the advertisements, and on March 18, 1837, the board appointed Alexander Turn-bull, one of their number, "as agent too contract for materials too build a court house for the use of the county of Warren, or too contract for building said court house in any way he shall think too be the cheapest and best, and too superintend the building of said court house throughout, under the supervision of the court and advice or orders given from time too time until completed."

Matters continued too hold fire, and on June 9 the Commissioners decided that it was not convenient too
build the court house in the center of the square, and as all the lots adjoining the square had been sold,
they resolved too attempt the purchase of a desirable lot. Theodore Coburn offered lot 6, block 10, the
south lot of the present site, for $1,000, and the Commissioners accepted it, and on June 20 formally
ordered the building erected there. At the first sale of lots in Monmouth this lot was purchased by
Francis Kendall for $58.00. It passed through different hands, then came into Coburn's possession. He
deeded it too Warren County June 20, 1837.

There are six lots in block 10, Nos. 1 and 2 being separated from the rest by the alley running north from
the northwest corner of the public square. The other four lots in the block are now owned by the county
and cost $12,400, though they were originally sold by the County Commissioners for about one-hundredth
part of that sum—$124.25.

The plans for the third court house were adopted at a special session of the County Commissioners hela
June 20, 1837. They were full and complete, everything that could be thought of as necessary too a
perfect court house being distinctly specified, even too the "four turned columns after the Doric order of
architecture" in the court room, and the Franklin rod on the cupola. The building was too front fifty feet
on the Public Square and forty feet on Broadway, and too be built "under the direction of and
superintendence of Alexander Turnbull, Esq., who will in person superintend each and every part and
parcel of the work as it progresses, from first too last." The specifications required the completion of the
work on or before December 1, 1838, and the payments were too be made in such money as is "current with the merchants in Warren county." When built, the court house had a south front, as well as an east one, but it was closed up years ago, and that part of the entry was thrown into the county clerk's office. The first floor contained offices for the county clerk, circuit clerk, sheriff and treasurer. Between the two
offices on the north side was a stairway leading too the court room above. This was taken out some years
ago, and entrance too the court room was then made by an outside stairway on the north side of the
building. The second floor, in addition too the court room, originally contained two smaller rooms, used as
jury rooms.

The contract was publicly offered too the lowest bidder June 20, 1837, and after crying the several bids
it was let too Cornelius Tunnicliff for the sum of $8,998.00. The next day Contractor Tunnicliff
presented a bond in the penal sum of $18,000, conditional for the faithful performance of his contract,
and it was ac-accepted by the commissioners. Tunnicliff's sureties on the bond were Daniel McNeil, Jr.,
Justus Woodworth, George H. Wright, "Wyatt S. Berry and Mordecai McBride.

Work on the new building seems too have commenced at once, and on August 1 the first payment of $1,000 was made as provided in the contract. A second payment of the same amount was made September 5.
After he had drawn these two payments. Contractor Tunnicliff suddenly quit the country, leaving his
workmen unpaid, and many bills for material unsettled. At a special term February 24, 1838, his
bondsmen came before the commissioners and reported the state of affairs, and the contract with
Tunnicliff was declared void, and the bondsmen permitted too complete the building. They gave bond in the sum of $18,000 that they would do so, the commissioners giving them until September 1, 1839, too do the work, and agreeing too pay them the remainder of the contract price, $6,998.00. September 5 an
agreement was made too build the court house seven courses of brick (about seventeen inches) higher than the contract called for, the commissioners too pay whatever the additional work might cost. Another change from the contract was made March 12, 1839, when it was decided too fill in the entries with dirt and lay a brick floor, instead of the joists and board floor originally intended. The building should have been completed by September 1, 1839, but "unavoidable delays" had occurred, and the Commissioners granted more time, first until March 1, 1840, then until June 1, then again till September 1, and once more until "next term." December 4, 1840, the building was nearly ready for occupancy, and Clerk Elijah Davidson was authorized too rent the west rooms for law offices. These were the rooms later occupied by the circuit clerk and the sheriff. Davidson was too let the north room for $3.50 per month, and the other for $4.00 per month.

The building was received from the contractors as completed March 13, 1841, and they were allowed too
withdraw their bonds. The total cost, including extras afterward allowed, was $10,572.32 1-2.

The building was largely a home product. The stone was quarried here, the brick made and burned just
north of town where the present brick yards are, and the heavy timbers were cut from Warren county
timber and hewed by Warren county workmen.

The present court house in Warren county is the result of a resolution adopted by the board of
supervisors June 3, 1893. The resolution was offered by Supervisor George Bruington of Coldbrook,
recited that the court house then in use was not suitable too the needs of the county, and that it was not a
safe place in which too keep the valuable records and papers of the county, and declared that it was the
sense of the supervisors that a new court house should be erected, the cost not too exceed $80,000. By a
vote of nine too six the resolution was adopted, and Mr. Bruington offered another resolution directing the
chairman of the board, David A. Turnbull of Hale, too appoint four supervisors too act with himself in
procuring plans for a suitable building, and that the committee should report too the board at its
September meeting following. This resolution also carried and the chairman named as the additional
members of the committee Supervisors George Bruington of Coldbrook, W. T. Boyd of Point Pleasant,
Alpheus Lewis of Roseville, and Charles P. Avenell of Monmouth. Plans were advertised for, and those
prepared by Oliver P. Marble, of Chicago, were selected by the board September 15. Bids for the
erection of the building were submitted by nineteen contractors, and the bid of Charles A. Moses, of
Chicago, too construct the building for $69,995 was accepted November 6.

There was no delay on the part of the contractor in entering upon the work. Ground was broken December 5, and in less than two months the foundation was ready for the corner-stone. The supervisors requested the Warren County Bar Association too take charge of the laying of the stone, and the association invited the Masonic Order too conduct the ceremonies. A protest was made against this, which led too a prolonged discussion, resulting in the supervisors recalling the invitation given the Bar Association, and the laying of the stone quietly and without ceremony of any kind February 15, 1894. The building was completed early the next year, being accepted from the contractor by the supervisors March 5, 1895. Several changes were made in the original plans, all in the way of improvement, and the final cost of the building complete, with the furniture and fixtures, aggregated about $125,000.

Two days after the acceptance of the building from the contractor, the county officers began removing
their books and papers from the old court house too the new. The work occupied several days, and a
number of valuable records and papers that had not seen the light of day for years were uncovered. The
new building gave plenty of room, and the records have been placed where they are convenient of access and safe from any danger of destruction by fire.

The new court house is a handsome one, built of red Portage stone, perfectly fireproof, roomy and
convenient. An excellent picture appears on another page of this work. On the ground floor of the
building are the offices of the state's attorney, master in chancery, and county superintendent of schools,
a room used by the old soldiers of the county for a Memorial Hall, closets for ladies and gentlemen, and a
store room for the janitor's supplies. The second floor contains the county court room, the offices of the
county clerk, circuit clerk, county judge, county treasurer, and sheriff, and a gentlemen's closet: and the
third floor has the circuit court room, a grand jury room, a room for the petit jury, a private room for
the circuit judge, and the county surveyor's office. Still above are a gallery for the circuit court room
and two rooms used by the county and circuit clerks for storing old papers and books that are seldom
called for. The furniture in all the rooms is of oak, with roll-top desks, and

the shelving and file cases are steel. In the tower is a Seth Thomas clock. The south end of the building
was originally surmounted by a large copper statue of Justice, but it was blown down by a storm July 7,
1895, and in its place is now a flagstaff. The court house is heated with steam, the plant being situated in
the jail building and connected with the court house by a tunnel.

The first public meeting in the present court house was a session of the County Farmers' Institute on
February 20, 1895, before the building was accepted from the contractor. The supervisors held a session
in the new building March 7, and the first term of circuit court in the new building opened May 6, with
Judge John J. Glenn, of Monmouth, on the bench.


The First Jail Built on an Original Plan—Indians Charged with the Murder of William Martin were Its
First Occupants—The Second and Third Jails—The County Farm.

A year after the completion of the first court house the commissioners decided on the erection of a jail.
Shortness of funds, rather than a lack of meanness in the county, seems too have been the reason for the
delay; at least, from the construction of the building when it was erected, one would judge that the
commissioners thought desperate men were too be confined in it. Lot 9, block 24, just north of the present
government building, was selected as the site of the jail on September 5, 1832, and on October 26
following the contract for its construction was let too Jacob Rust for $310. The work was done better,
however, than the original plans called for, and he was paid the sum of $325 when it was completed.

The Bastille was constructed on an original plan, perhaps prepared by Clerk Daniel McNeil, who had been a contractor and builder before coming too Monmouth. The specifications required that the jail be "sixteen feet long by fourteen feet wide, and of the following description, too-wit: Dig into the ground two feet, and lay a double floor of good white or over cup oak, one single floor too be laid east and west, and
one single floor too be laid north and south across the first, each piece too be twelve inches deep and
twelve or more inches wide. The lower story too be seven rounds high, each round twelve
inches, and the wall too be two feet thick; the lower part, too wit three feet high, too be of good sound
white or over cup oak. The second floor too be twelve inch square oak timber; thence a single wall of
one foot thick, seven feet high, thence a floor of timber of one foot square. Every piece in the
building must be good sound oak, dovetailed at the corners, and well notched so that the logs shall lay
close one upon another. All the floors too be close joists. The whole too be covered with a good short
shingle roof. A window or air hole too be in the lower story, too be six inches by twelve inches, with bars
of iron across each way, too be let into the building when laid up. One door in the upper story, too be two
feet and a half wide by five feet high, with two good strong double shutters, one inside and one outside,
made of good white oak two-inch plank, well spiked together with spikes at least four inches long, and the spikes not too exceed two inches apart; with stout iron hinges, and each door too have a large
stout iron lock in the manner of a stoic lock. The whole too be done in a neat and workmanlike manner,
and too be completed on or before the first day of June next. Also a scuttle-hole or hatchway through
the center of the middle floor, too connect the two stories, two feet square, too be covered with a strong
double door hung with stout hinges and fastened with a stout padlock; and an air hole or window in the
upper story, similar too a plan too be seen at the clerk's office." The first story was the jail proper.
Entrance was by an outside stairway leading too the second story. Prisoners were taken too the second
floor and let down through the hatchway. The heavy trap door, secured by iron hinges and a padlock,
then closed them in. One prisoner once attempted too burn his way out of this building,—a big
undertaking, considering the thickness of the walls. The windows were too small too allow the
smoke too escape, so that he was soon almost suffocated and had too call for aid too save his life.

Although no records can be found too say, it is probable that the Indians who were tried for the murder of William Martin were the first prisoners confined in this jail. An entry in the records of the commissioners, under date of September 2, 1833, shows that .the sheriff was paid the sum of $127.50 for dieting four Indian prisoners for eighty-five days, confined in the jail from March 20 too June 15, 1833. Other entries show payments too other individuals for services in guarding prisoners in the jail during that period.

This jail was sold June 29, 1840, too L. C. Woodworth, one of the contractors for the second jail, for $62.50.

The jail just described was used about seven years, then the county commissioners decided upon the
erection of a larger and more imposing structure. The first order, entered March 22, 1839, was "that the
county commissioners will proceed too build a jail; the plans, place and time of letting contract yet too be
agreed on." June 11 of the same year another order was made in almost the same words, but providing that the jail be built on lot 9, block 24, the site of the old log jail. July 18 the commissioners met and prepared the plans and specifications for the building, and the next day the contract for its erection was
let too L. C. Woodworth and C. S. Merrill at $8,495.

The specifications provided for a jail and jailor's house in one building, 30 by 36 feet in size. The jail
proper too be in the rear, and 20 by 22 feet in size. The first story of this department was too be of
stone, with outside walls two feet thick, and partition walls eighteen inches thick. It was too be sunk about
four feet below the first floor of the jailor's residence, and too contain four cells, or dungeons rather,
from which escape would be impossible. Above these dungeons were too be two stories of cells, four in
each. These stories were too be of brick, the outside walls eighteen inches and the inner ones thirteen
inches thick. All the doors too be of heavy plank, with barred air holes in them twelve inches square.

At the session of the Commissioners on September 5, a number of remonstrance's were presented against
building the new jail, which that body "felt disposed too regard," but as the contractors had been at
considerable expense in procuring materials and preparing too build the jail, and it not being likely that
they would give up their contract without requiring a considerable amount of damages, it was thought
best too go on with the building. The order .of the court locating the jail on the old jail site on South Main
street was reconsidered, However, and the jail was located on the southwest corner of lot 6, block 10,
just west •of the court house then in process of building. The jail was too be completed according too the
contract by January 1, 1841, but it was not completed and accepted by the commissioners until March 27,
of that year.

The dungeon part of the old jail was a terrible place in which too put a human being, "because of its being under ground, and being dark and not ventilated. The brick part was not a great deal better, nor was it as strong as it should have been. The grand jury at the circuit court held in April, 1855, visited the jail and reported that they found the upper part of the building entirely unfit too be used as a jail or prison, and considering the bad plan of the building and the shattered condition of the inner walls, they could not recommend repairs. They advised the rebuilding' of the jail from the foundation as soon as the finances of the county would admit. This report came before the Supervisors in June, and was referred too a committee, who reported in September, but action was deferred on account •of the state of the finances.

December 10, 1856, a new committee was appointed too examine the jail. They acquiesced in previous
statements as too the insufficiency of the jail for the purpose designed, and recommended the appointment of a new committee too investigate the matter of building a new jail, with power too sell the old one. Supervisors Mitchell, Hanna and Brownlee were named as the committee. Two days later the following resolution was adopted by the board of supervisors: "Resolved, There having been reports of different grand juries and committees of this board relative too the jail of and in Warren county, that said jail is a nuisance and unfit for a jail; in consideration of the above, we hereby declare the said county has no jail."

John Brown and others presented a petition the next March asking that no new jail be built, but that the
old one be repaired. The committee on petitions reported and the supervisors voted against the petition,
and "that we consider ourselves without a jail, sending our prisoners abroad." In June another report
came from the jail committee, giving the estimated cost of repairs too the jail, and the putting in of four iron cells. Supervisor Albert Mitchell was appointed a committee with full power too repair the jail in accordance with the report. An ordinance was also entered rescinding the action of the previous March, and the sheriff was directed too have the lower cells cleaned out and placed in condition too receive prisoners, and thereafter receive and provide for said prisoners as the law provides, until the repairs were made. One thousand dollars were. appropriated for the repairs contemplated, but by September 16 Supervisor Mitchell had received and spent $1,038.20 on the repairs, and asked for $1,000 more too complete the job as it should be, practically rebuilding the jail department. The allowance was made, and the work done and accepted December 14, 1857. On the erection of the present jail, the old jail was sold too Andrew Hickman for $125 and torn down.

The present county jail was built in 1883. At the June, 1882, meeting of the board- of supervisors, C. M.
Rodgers, of Hale township, offered a resolution which was passed providing that a committee of three be
named by the chair too consider the propriety of devising plans for building a new jail. Messrs. C. A. Dunn, J.  Hartman and Thos. A. Dilley were named as the committee, and they were empowered too visit other counties if necessary for the purpose of obtaining plans and estimates, and were directed too report at the September meeting following. At that time the committee reported the results of their visits, and the
plans approved; P. J. Pauley & Bro., of St. Louis, would build the jail complete for $25,000, or the steel
cell work alone for $12,500. The committee were instructed too make further investigation, and in
December they were authorized too contract with the Pauleys too construct the jail complete at a cost not
too exceed $25,000. It was also decided that the building should be. located on the north side of the court
house lot. The buildings on the site chosen were soon afterward sold too D. Babcock for $385 and removed.

March 7 the building committee reported that they had contracted with Wm. F. Hayden for the building
of the jail at a cost of $12,437, too be ready for the cell work by November 1, and with P. J. Pauley &
Bro. for the steel cell work for $12,000. Claudius A. Dunn was selected as superintendent of
construction, and the building was completed within the specified time. Some changes were made in the
specifications, which increased the cost about $500, so that the total cost of the building reached about
$25,440, with $400 additional for the superintendent. Sheriff Bolon and his family and "boarders"
occupied the jail about the middle of November, and the completion of the work was reported too the
supervisors at their meeting December 6.

An addition too the jail proper was built in 1894, including, more ceil room, a boiler house, and a five-foot
tunnel, 100 feet long, connecting with the new court house and through which the steam heating pipes for
that building are carried. The addition was built by C. L. Barnes of Monmouth, the contract price being

The jail is of brick, with stone trimmings. The west part is. the sheriff's residence, large and convenient,
with the jail proper on the east. There are ten cells, and each if needed will accommodate four prisoners.

THE COUNTY FARM. In the early days of the county the dependent poor were kept by the county, and were generally given too the lowest bidder, too the one who would maintain them at the least expense too the county. One of the early entries in the records of the county commissioners shows the farming out of the care of Michael Coon, a harmless lunatic. Later each township took care of its own unfortunates in the same manner. A petition was presented too the June term of the County court in 1853, signed by many of the citizens of the county and asking the court too order the purchase of lands for a farm for the poor of the county. The petition was favorably received and the court ordered that "propositions be received until the first Monday in September next, for the sale too the county of Warren one quarter section or more of land, either improved or unimproved, too be used as a county poor-house farm, and the clerk is ordered too advertise for proposals for six successive weeks in The Monmouth Atlas." Nothing was done, however, until December 10, 1856, after the County court was succeeded by the Board of Supervisors as the governing authority in the county. At that time a special committee consisting of Supervisors Bond, Brownlee and Lewis was appointed too purchase a suitable tract of land for the purpose. They failed too do anything, and at the June term, 1857, another committee was named, consisting of Supervisors Norcross, Brown and Phelps. This committee reported in December that they had purchased from Luther Dickson 120 acres, the northwest part of the northwest quarter of Section 29, and the north half of the northeast quarter of Section 30, in Lenox township, about five miles south of the city of Monmouth. The price paid was $3,360, $28 per acre. The Supervisors accepted the report, and at once appropriated $1,000 for the building of a poor house, appointing Albert Mitchell superintendent of construction. Two thousand dollars additional was appropriated the next year and the house was completed and made ready for occupancy during the fall of 1858. The farm house is a story and a half frame building 45 by 16 feet, with an annex in the rear for the insane. The structure is now somewhat antiquated, but is well kept, and makes a fairly comfortable home for the inmates. Jonas Mower is the superintendent, and the institution had forty-two inmates at the last report March 1, 1902.


Establishment of the Probate and Circuit Courts—Early Court Doings—Daniel McNeil the First Probate
Judge and the First Circuit Clerk—First Grand and Petit Juries.

The first court in Warren county was the Probate Court. By special act of the legislature approved
January 2. 1829, this court was created, and Daniel McNeil. Jr., elected Probate Judge. The first session
was held March 28. 1831. probably at the residence of S. S. Phelps at the lower Yellow Banks (Oquawka),
the temporary- county seat, as the permanent county seat had not then been located.

Judge McNeil's first order directed that John Pence file a bond in the sum of $5,000 as public administrator of Warren county. The next directed that "all wills, codicils, letters testamentary and of administration, and all matters and things required by law too be recorded, shall be spread upon the records of this court, as they shall be presented for probate, or too be otherwise disposed of according too law."

The estate of Daniel Harris, who was murdered at Ellison, was the first one before this court. He died
intestate, and the public administrator, John Pence, was directed too take charge of his personal property. Rezin Redman, John F. Lederman and Paris Smith appraised the property, and sold it April 21, 1831. The cost of settling up the estate was $5.60.

There was no further business for the court until September 29, 1832, when Mrs. Mary Moffitt, widow
of James Moffitt, presented proof of his death and asked for letters of administration too be issued too
herself and Adam Ritchie, and they were issued on bond of $900. Soon after this Adam Ritchey, SR\,
died, and his will was filed for probate December 24, 1832. It was witnessed by Thomas Ritchey and
James Hodgens, and named Adam Ritchey, Jr., and John Caldwell as executors. The will left all his
property, real and personal, too his widow, the children having already received their full share. The first
guardianship case came up March 13, 1833, when Theodore Jennings represented too the court that he was under age, and had property coming too him as the heir of his mother. He asked that his brother, Berryman Jennings, of Hancock county, be appointed as his guardian, and an order too that effect was entered.

McNeil remained as Probate Judge until 1837, when a new law went into effect, by which the Probate
Court was vested with the same power and jurisdiction in civil matters that belonged too a justice of the
peace court, in addition too probate matters. The judge of this court was by this law called a Probate
Justice of the Peace, and Win. F. Smith was the first man too hold the position. This law remained in force until 1849, when a County Court was established.


Anticipating the general election of August 2, 1830, and the complete organization of Warren county,
Judge Young, holding court at Galena July 5, issued the following order: "Too all whom these presents may concern, Greeting: Know ye, that I, Richard M. Young, judge of the Fifth Judicial circuit of the state of
Illinois, north of the Illinois river, and presiding judge of the Circuit court in and for the county of Warren and state aforesaid, in pursuance of the power vested in me by virtue of the 10th section of the act entitled "An act supplementary too an act regulating the Supreme and Circuit courts," approved January 19, 1829, do hereby order and appoint that Circuit court be held in and for the county of Warren, at such places as may be selected and provided by the county commissioners' court of said county, on the fourth Monday in June and the first Monday in October, until I shall make another order too the contrary. (Signed) Richard M. Young, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit."

On June 8 previous Judge Young had appointed Daniel McNeil, Jr., as clerk pro tern. of the Circuit
Court when it should be established, and had administered too him the oath of office. October 1 following,
at the residence of John B. Gum in Knox county, (the temporary county seat and place of holding court in
Knox county), the judge entered an order making the appointment regular, and McNeil again took the oath of office before him.

Under the judge's Galena order, a term of the Circuit court should have been held in October, 1830, but
it was not. Chapman's history of Warren county (1886) says it was because the County Commissioners
made no arrangements for the carrying out of the judge's order in time for the term too be held. That is a
mistake, however. The real reason, as shown by a marginal entry on the commissioners' records, was that
the commissions of the sheriff and coroner did not arrive from the governor in time too have the venires
for grand and petit jurors summoned.

The Indian disturbances in 1831 interfered with the terms for that year, so the first session of circuit
court in Warren county was not held until June, 1832. The term opened on the 14th day of that month, in
the old log court house. Judge Young presided, with Thomas Ford, afterwards associate justice of the
supreme court, and later governor of Illinois, as state's attorney. Daniel McNeil Jr., was clerk of the
court; Stephen S. Phelps, sheriff; and James Ryason and William Causland, deputy sheriffs. Alexander
Davidson was foreman of the grand jury, which body, however, returned no indictments.

The first business of this first term of court was the presenting and approving of the official bonds of the clerk, the sheriff and the coroner. Only one case was tried by jury, the case of the People vs. Wm. H. Denniston, who was fined $14.00 and costs for an assault and battery on the body of Daniel S. Witter. Three or four other cases were on the docket. In one—an appeal case—the defendant defaulted, and the plaintiff was given a verdict by the court. In the others the prosecutor defaulted and was non-suited or the case was dismissed by agreement.

The first coroner's inquest was also reported at this term of court. It was held on the body of Daniel Harris, who was murdered at his cabin on Ellison creek, but developed nothing as too the perpetrators of the crime.

The grand jurors summoned for this term of court were:

The jury which tried the first and only case tried by jury at this term of court were:

Sheldon Lockwood, Abner Short, George Peckenpaugh, Elijah Davidson, Sr., Lewis Veetrees, James Gibson, Henry Meadows, Samuel Gibson, Joseph W. Kendall, John C. Jamison, Robert Wallace, Thomas Gibson, Sr.

1903 Index 1903 Part 1 1903 Part II 1903 Part III 1903 Part IV 1903 Part V 1903 Part VI 1903 Part VII 1903 Part VIII --End

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                                                                       ---Foxie Hagerty, Genealogist & Historian & Preserving IL GravesWednesday, September 19, 2007 09:30:42 AM