Monroe County Government
The Combined History of
Randolph, Monroe and Perry Counties of Illinois
Published by J. L. McDonough and Co. 1883
The civil officers appointed by the governor, met at the house of John McClure, at Harrisonville, on the 1st day of June, 1816, and caused their clerk to inscribe the following in the county records, to wit:
Organization of the County Court. Pursuant to an act of the legislature of the Illinois territory, passed on the 6th day of January, 1816, for forming a new county out of Randolph and St. Clair counties, to be called Monroe, Caldwell Cairns, James Lemen, Sr., and Abraham Amos, gentlemen, met at the house of John McClure, in the town of Harrisonville, and county of Monroe, on the first day of June, 1816, and severally produced commissions from his excellency, the governor, bearing date the 10th day of January, 1816, appointing them judges of the county court of Monroe county.
Whereupon, William Alexander, Esq., by commission from his excellency, the governor, having appointed clerk and recorder of the county of Monroe, aforesaid, and having heretofore taken the oaths prescribed by law, together with James B. Moore, Esq., his security as clerk, and Caldwell Cairns, Esq., his security as recorder, entered into and acknowledged bonds in the penalties an with the conditions required by law.
And thereupon, the said William Alexander, in pursuance of the act of the legislature in such case made and provided, administered the several oaths required by the constitution of the United States and the laws of this territory, to be taken by the judges of the county courts, to said Caldwell Cairns, James Lemen, Sr., and Abraham Amos.
James B. Moore, gentleman, produced a commission from his excellency, the governor of this territory, bearing date of the 10th day of January, 1816, appointing him sheriff of the county of Monroe, and together with William Alexander and James Lemen, Sr., his securities, entered into and acknowledged bond in the penalty and with the condition required by law, and took the oats required by law.
James B. Edwards produced a commission from William Alexander, Esquire, clerk of the county of Monroe, appointing him deputy clerk of said county, as also a commission from said William Alexander, as recorder of the county aforesaid, appointing him deputy recorder of said county, whereupon the said Edwards took the oaths required by law.
The little craft, called Monroe county, was now officered to start out on its career as a body politic. The reader will observe that the officers ranked as follows: The judges and sheriff, as gentlemen; the clerk, as esquire, and the deputy without rank. The entry does not state to what day or place the authorities had adjourned, but at any rate, the record shows, that they had selected the next Saturday for a meeting, and from the work done at this first "term," it is to be inferred that the county fathers had not been idle during the week.
This, the first court, was held again at the house of John McClure, on the 8th day of June, 1816, when the following proceedings were had:
Present, Caldwell Cairns, James Lemen and Abraham Amos, gentlemen judges of the county of Monroe. The court proceeded to lay off and divide the county into townships as follows, to wit: ordered that
Eagle Township, being No. 1 in this county, be considered as included in the following boundaries, viz.: Commencing on the Mississippi river, where the base line strikes said river, thence with its meanders until it intersects the tornado, where it crosses said river, thence east until it strikes the county bridge on Eagle creek, from thence following the meanders of said creek to where it passes through the bluff, from thence east of north so as to include Levi Pickett, and from thence to the county line, continuing on to where it commenced.
Harrison Township, being No. 2 in this county, be considered as included in the following boundaries, commencing where the tornado crosses the Mississippi river, thence with the meanders of said river to the mouth of the Big Gut below the town of Harrisonville, from thence an east course running between Hugh Ralston and Isaiah Levens, so as to include Kinney's mills and Avington Shirril's from thence a north course so as to include Valentine's old mills and Converse's from thence with the meanders of Eagle creek to where said creek passes through the bluff.
Mitchie Township, being No. 3 in this county, be considered as included in the following boundaries, viz.: Commencing at the mouth of the Big Gut on the Mississippi river, thence with its meanders to the county line, thence with the county line to where it intersects Range line, between Ranges No 9 and No. 10 west, from thence a northwest course, so as to include McRoberts until it intersects the division line between Harris and said Township.
Belle Fountaine Township, being No. 4 in this county, be considered as included in the following boundaries, viz.: Commencing where Eagle township struck the county line, thence southeast to the corner of said county, thence south to the southeast corner of township No. 4 south, from thence with the county line until it intersects Mitchie township, from thence with Mitchie until it strikes Harrison township, and from thence until it intersects Eagle township. After establishing these townships the court hastened to gladden the hearts of many of their citizens by elevating them to various offices. John Violeny was made constable of Harrison, and Michael Masterson of Mitchie, Stephen Terry and Churchhill Fulsher became overseers of the poor for Eagle, James Garretson and Solomon Shook for Harrison, James Henderson and Alexander McNab for Mitchie, and Michael Miller and James McDonald, Robert Hawk, William Hogan, William Alexander, Raphael Drury, George McMurtrey and James Bradshaw became supervisors of roads.
John Moore, "gentleman," produced his commission as treasurer, and also one of coroner, and was sworn in the office. It was agreed that hereafter the "court" should meet a the house of Thomas O'Conner, and that Thomas O'Conner should have a tavern license, for which he was to pay $3.00 per annum. John cooper was also granted such license, whereupon the court regulated the prices to be charged by said tavern keepers as follows:
For a warm breakfast, dinner or supper .... 25c.
For lodging (one in a bed) 12 ½
For lodging (two or more in a bed) .. 6 Ό
For whiskey by the half pint . 12 ½
For peach or apple brandy, by half pint 12 ½
For cider per quart 12 ½
For porter or beer per bottle . 37 ½
For porter or beer by quart 25
For oats or corn per gallon 12 ½
For hay, oats or fodder for a horse, per day .. 37 ½
For cherry bounce, per half pint 18 Ό
The court proceeded on the same day to order a tax levy, as follows:
For each bond servant or slave . $1.00
" each horse over 3 years old . .50
" each stud-horse, the rate he stands at season.
" each town and out lot, wind and water-mill, mansion-house, for
every $100 value, the sum of .. .30
" every single man over 21 years of age $1.00
Timothy Coats was licensed to keep a ferry from Carthage (formerly Harrisonville) across the Mississippi, with rates as follows: Man, 25c.; horse, 50c.; horned cattle, 75c; light carriage, $1.50; road wagon, $1.75; freight, 8c. per 100 lbs., and a cart or a "gig." $1.00.
The attention of the court was next directed to acquiring a donation of land whereon to erect the public buildings of the county, as O'Connor's charge of $3.00 per term for the use of his house as a court-room was too extravagant. In this the court was successful, inasmuch as McKnight and Brady were ready for a donation, and did subsequently execute the following instrument, to wit:
THE SEAT OF JUSTICE
Deed of McKnight & Brady to the County.
This indenture, made this 19th day of June, A. D. 1816, between John McKnight and Thomas Brady, of the county of ST. Louis and territory of Missouri of the one part, and William Alexander, James Lemon, sen., James B. Moore, and James McRoberts, commissioners appointed by virtue of an act of assembly, in that case made and provided for and in behalf of the county of Monroe, in the territory of Illinois, of the other part, witnesseth that the said John McKnight and Thomas Brady, trading under the firm of McKnight & Brady as aforesaid, for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar current money of the United States of America, to them in hand paid, the receipt whereof they hereby acknowledge, and forever acquit and discharge the said William Alexander, James Lemen, sen., James B. Moore, and James McRoberts, commissioners aforesaid, their heirs, executors and administrators, have granted, bargained, sold, aliened, enfeoffed and confirmed, and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell, alien, enfeoff and confirm unto the said William Alexander, James Lemen, Sen., James B. Moore and James McRoberts, commissioners for and in behalf of he county of Monroe aforesaid, and their heirs and assigns forever, the following lots or parcels of land situate in and adjoining the town of Carthage, in the county of Monroe aforesaid, to wit: Block No. 47 in the "plan" of the said town, containing one acre and 32 poles, and lots No. 1, 2, 3, 4, on the east end of the town tract and adjacent to the said town of Carthage, containing together eighteen acres and one hundred and twenty-eight poles, which said lots together with block No. 47 in the plan of said town of Carthage, contain in the whole twenty acres, more or less, by a late survey, together with all improvements, profits and appurtenances whatsoever to the said lots belonging or in anywise appertaining, and the reversions, remainders and profits thereof, and all the estate, right, title, interest, property, claim and demand of them the said John McKnight and James Brady, of, in and to the same, to have and to hold the aforesaid lots or parcels of land hereby conveyed, with all and singular the premises and every part and parcel thereof, with every of the appurtenances, unto the said William Alexander, James Lemen, sen., James B. Moore and James McRoberts, commissioners as aforesaid, for the use and in behalf of the county of Monroe aforesaid, their heirs and assigns forever. And the said John McKnight and Thomas Brady, for themselves, their heirs, executors and administrators, do covenant, promise and agree to and with the said William Alexander, James Lemen, sen., James B. Moore and James McRoberts, commissioners as aforesaid, their heirs and assigns, by these presents, that the premises before mentioned now are and forever hereafter shall remain free of and from all former and other gifts, grants, bargains, sales, dowers, rights and titles of dower, judgments, executions, titles, troubles, charges and encumbrances whatsoever, done or suffered to be done by them the said John McKnight and Thomas Brady. And the said McKnight & Brady aforesaid, and their heirs, all and singular the premises hereby bargained and sold the appurtenances, unto the said William Alexander, James Lemen, sen., James B. Moore and James McRoberts, commissioners as aforesaid, their heirs and assigns, against them the said John McKnight and Thomas Brady, trading under the firm of McKnight & Brady, and their heirs and all and every other person or persons whatsoever, do and will warrant and forever defend by these presents.
In witness whereof they the said John McKnight an Thomas Brady trading under the firm of McKnight & Brady, have hereunto et their hands and affixed their seals, the day and year first before written.
Signed, sealed and delivered }
In the presence of }
Thomas James McKnight & Brady
James B. Edwards
Illinois Territory, }
Monroe County, }ss
Be it remembered, that on the 20th day of July, 1816, James B. Edwards, one of the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing deed of conveyance, personally appeared before me, a justice of the peace of Monroe County aforesaid, and made oat that he saw Thomas Brady, one of the firm of McKnight and Brady, the grantors in said deed mentioned, sign and heard him acknowledge the same as and for his free and voluntary act, and allowed the same to be recorded in the recorder's office of said county,, given under my hand and seal the day and year aforesaid.
Justice of the Peace (seal)
The title thus conveyed to the county by the firm of McKnight and Brady was, as lawyer Guy Gaylord contended, not perfect and the county authorities were unsuccessful to find purchasers. In 1818, April 28, a second deed to the same real estate was made, signed this time by John McKnight, Thomas Brandy and Harriet his wife, individually. Still the people were very slow in investing in this property, so that even Gen. John Edgar, of Kaskaskia, felt it his duty to come to the rescue, which he did in the following card, published in the Illinois Intelligencer of June 15, 1819, to wit:
Notice. Whereas the public in general and particularly the inhabitants of Monroe County are concerned for the honest growth and prosperity of the county seat of said Monroe County at Harrisonville. Therefore, for the information of the public, I do certify that I have sold all my claim to the land whereon said county seat is situate to Messrs, McKnight and Brady, and know of no other claim to said land than that of the above named McKnight and Brady.
Kaskaskia, May 12, 1819.
Ill Intelligencer, June 16, 1819. John Edgar