History of Illinois County Formation
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ST. CLAIR AND RANDOLPH AS COUNTIES OF NORTHWEST TERRITORY
In 1784, Virginia surrendered to the general government all claims to this territory and in 1787 "An Act for the government of the territory of the United States northwest of the Ohio River" was passed by the congress sitting under the articles of confederation. Under this ordinance General Arthur St. Clair was appointed governor of the territory, and, in 1790, organized by proclamation, the county of St. Clair, named in honor of himself.
To understand the boundaries defined in this and subsequent proclamations, and in the early legislative acts setting up counties in the Northwest Territory, Indiana Territory and the territory of Illinois, it is necessary to know the geographical location of a number of points not found on modern maps of Illinois. Some of these points are:
The "Little Michilimackinac;" the Mackinaw River flowing into the Illinois four or five miles below Pekin in Tazewell County.
"The little river above Fort Massac;" now called Massac Creek flowing into the Ohio immediately east of the city of Metropolis, Massac County.
"Standing Stone Forks" of the Great Miami; near the present site of the village of Loramie, in the western part of Shelby County, Ohio.
"Theokiki River;" the Kankakee.
"Chicago River;" the DesPlaines.
"Cahokia;" the northwest part of town 1 north, 10 west, St. Clair County.
"Prairie du Rocher," near th center of town 5 south, 9 west, Randolph County.
"Cave Spring" and "Sink Hole Spring;" believed to be identical and located in Monroe County, section 10, town 4 south, range 10 west, about 9 miles south and 1 mile west of the city of Waterloo.
"The Great Cave on the Ohio;" section 13, town 12 south, 9 east of the 3rd principal meridian, near the present village of Cave-in-Rock, Hardin County.
"The Great Kennomic," or "Kalamik," or "Calumet;" a small stream flowing into the southern bend of Lake Michigan in Lake County, Indiana, about 18 miles east of the Illinois State line.
"Mile's Trace;" an old road or trail from Elizabethtown to Kaskaskia, a part of which led from the head waters of Lusk Creek northwesterly through Crab Orchard and across the western line of Williamson County near its northern boundary.
"Lusk Creek;" a small stream still bearing that name, emptying into the Ohio immediately above the city of Golconda, Pope County.
"Gagnic Creek;" the DeGagnia, a small creek emptying into the Mississippi in town 8 south, 5 west, on the present boundary line between Randolph and Jackson Counties.
"Bompass," "Bompast" or "Bon Pas" creek or river; a small branch of the Wabash forming the present boundary between Edwards and Wabash Counties.
"Boon's Mill;" west of the center of town 7 south, 10 east of the 3rd principal meridian near the present site of New Haven.
The outlines of the latter counties formed after the territory had been brought under the federal system of surveys, with boundaries described by township and range lines, are easily traced.
1790--ST. CLAIR COUNTY
April 27, 1790. Governor St. Clair issued his proclamation organizing St. Clair as a county of the Northwest Territory. It had for its boundaries a direct line from the mouth of the Little Mackinaw to the mouth of the Massac Creek, thence down the Ohio to the Mississippi, up the Mississippi to the mouth of the Illinois and up the Illinois to the mouth of the Mackinaw. As thus constituted the county extended nearly two hundred fifty miles from north to south with a maximum width of about eighty miles. It embraced the territory of twenty existing counties and fractions of eleven others. But with all this wealth of territory St. Clair was a small county as compared with Knox, created by proclamation June 20 of th same year, which included about half of the State of Illinois, the whole of Indiana, that part of Ohio west of the Great Miami River, the greater part of Michigan, and a considerable part of Wisconsin as these states exist at present. Knox was organized to meet the wants of the settlements about Vincennes. The outlines of St. Clair and of the Illinois portion of Knox are found on Map No. 1.
October 5, 1795, Randolph County was created a county of the Northwest Territory by proclamation of Governor St. Clair and included all that part of the then existing county of St. Clair lying south of a line running from the Mississippi directly east through "the cave spring a little south of the New Design" settlement to the boundary of Knox County. Assuming the "cave spring" mentioned in this proclamation to be identical with the "Sink Hole Spring" of Governor Harrison's later proclamation, this east and west line was about two miles south of the present southern boundary of St. Clair County. This division gave to Randolph about one-third of the territory of St. Clair as first established. These boundaries, shown on Map No. 2, remained unchanged until after the organization of Indiana Territory in 1800.
1801--ST. CLAIR AND RANDOLPH AS COUNTIES OF INDIANA TERRITORY
February 9, 1801, William Henry Harrison, Governor of the Territory of Indiana, issued his proclamation continuing the counties of St. Clair and Randolph as counties of Indiana Territory, but changed their boundaries and enlarged their areas. The east and west line dividing St. Clair and Randolph ran directly east from the Mississippi through the center of Sink Hole spring until it intersected a line drawn directly north from the "Great Cave on the Ohio." The point of intersection of these two lines is in section 12, town 4 south, 9 east, in White County and was made the northeast corner of Randolph County, the eastern boundary of Randolph being this line north from the cave, while the Ohio and Mississippi formed the southeastern and southwestern boundaries respectively. St. Clair, as defined by this proclamation, had for its eastern boundary, a line drawn from the northeastern corner of Randolph to the "mouth of the Great Kennomic River," and for its northern boundary, the Canada line. By the terms of this proclamation but little Illinois territory--a narrow strip along the Wabash--was left in Knox County. St. Clair contained not only the greater part of the present State of Illinois, but all of Wisconsin and a considerable part of Michigan and Minnesota as well. St. Clair and Randolph as counties of Indiana Territory are shown on Map No. 3, except the part of St. Clair extending beyond the present limits of the State.
1803--ST. CLAIR AND RANDOLPH--BOUNDARIES CHANGED
In response to sundry petitions, Governor Harrison re-adjusted by proclamation of March 25, 1803, the dividing line between Randolph and St. Clair. The dividing line thus established ran from a point on the Mississippi, about four miles further south than the old boundary, northeast to Sink Hole spring; thence in a northeasterly direction till it intersected a line running north from Cave-in-Rock. The point of intersection is in Jasper County, town six north, nine east of the third principal meridian, near the present site of Newton. The other boundaries of the two counties were unchanged and so remained until after the organization of the territory of Illinois in 1809. This change of boundary is shown on Map No. 4.
1809--ST. CLAIR AND RANDOLPH AS COUNTIES OF ILLINOIS TERRITORY
April 28, 1809, Nathaniel Pope, Secretary and Acting Governor of the new territory, issued his proclamation continuing St. Clair and Randolph Counties of Illinois Territory without change of boundaries, except that the eastern boundary of each county was extended to the eastern boundary of Illinois Territory, now the eastern boundary of the State. This gave to Randolph additional territory on the east and to St. Clair a triangular strip along the southern part and took from it a triangular strip from the northern part of its eastern side, and eliminated Knox County from Illinois Territory. St. Clair still extended north to the Canada line. Map No. 5 shows St. Clair and Randolph as the two original counties of Illinois Territory as re-established in 1809.
1812--MADISON, GALLATIN AND JOHNSON
September 12, 1812, by proclamation of Governor Ninian Edwards, three new counties, Madison, Gallatin and Johnson, were created. Madison included all that part of the territory of Illinois lying north of the present southern boundary of Madison extended to the Wabash. Gallatin was bounded on the north by this same line, on the east by the Wabash and Ohio Rivers and on the west and southwest by the Big Muddy, Mile's trace and Lusk creek. Johnson included all the territory bounded by the Big Muddy, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, Lusk creek and Mile's trace. This proclamation cut St. Clair down to comparatively small dimensions and made of it the smallest county of the Territory. These were the last counties created by proclamation. In this year Illinois was raised to the second grade of territorial government, and the creation of new counties and alterations of county lines devolved, thereafter, upon the Territorial Legislature. The outlines of these counties are shown on Map No. 6.
December 11, 1813, two acts were passed by the first Territorial Legislature readjusting the boundary lines of St. Clair, Randolph and Gallatin. The line running northeasterly from Sink Hole spring as the southeastern boundary of St. Clair was abandoned and Sink Hole spring lost its importance as a landmark. Lines of the Federal survey had been established by this time, and the line between townships three and four south (extended from the Mississippi to the third principal meridian) was made the dividing line between St. Clair and Randolph. The third principal meridian from the southern boundary of Madison to its intersection with Mile's trace was made the dividing line between Gallatin to the east and St. Clair and Randolph to the west. By these acts, those parts of St. Clair and Randolph east of the third principal meridian were added to Gallatin, nearly half of the remaining territory of Randolph was added to St. Clair and a small triangle from the extreme southwestern part of St. Clair was added to Randolph. Madison and Johnson remained unchanged. The county boundaries established by these acts are shown on Map No. 7.
1814-1815--EDWARDS AND WHITE
November 20, 1814, the Territorial Legislature passed "An Act for the division of Gallatin County," which act divided Madison County as well, and from the northern part of Gallatin and the part of Madison lying east of the third principal meridian, made Edwards the sixth county of the territory. December 9, 1815, Gallatin was further reduced by the creation of White including besides the present area of White all the territory directly west of it to the third principal meridian. These two counties are shown on Map No. 8.
1816--MONROE, JACKSON, POPE AND CRAWFORD
January 6, 1816, Monroe County was created, Jackson and Pope January 10, and Crawford December 31, of the same year. Monroe, from St. Clair and Randolph, was given substantially its present boundaries except that the eastern boundary across town three has since been carried east to the Kaskaskia River. Several changes have since been made in the northeastern and southeastern boundaries of Monroe, but all of a trifling character. Jackson, from Randolph, included, besides its present area, the southern part of the present county of Perry. Pope, from Johnson and Gallatin, contained besides its present area, portions of the present counties of Massac, Johnson and Hardin. December 8 of the same year the northeastern boundary of Pope was carried east six miles, that is to a line running from the "Rock and Cave" (Cave-in-Rock) on the Ohio to the southwest corner of town ten south, eight east. Crawford included all that part of the territory lying east of the third principal meridian, and north of the line dividing towns three and four north. That part of Johnson between Mile's trace and the third principal meridian was attached temporarily, the eastern part to Gallatin and the western part to Jackson. These changes of county lines are shown on Map No. 9.
January 4, 1817, Bond County was created, a parallelogram twenty-four miles wide from east to west and about 600 miles in length, reaching from a line six miles south of its present southern boundary to Lake Superior on the north. The Illinois part of this county is shown on Map No. 10.
1818--FRANKLIN, UNION AND WASHINGTON
By acts of January 2, 1818, three new counties were created, the last counties of territorial origin. Franklin included, besides its present area, all of Williamson. Union was given its present territory to which was temporarily attached the country lying south of it and between the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Union was the first county of Illinois to which was given its present boundaries. Washington, formed from the eastern part of St. Clair, included besides its present area, the greatest part of the present county of Clinton. Map No. 11 shows the counties of Illinois as they existed at the close of the territorial period. The admission of Illinois as a State in 1818 worked no change in county boundaries except that Madison, Bond and Crawford no longer extended north to the Canada line, but had for their northern limit the present northern boundary of the State.
1819--ALEXANDER, CLARK, JEFFERSON AND WAYNE
The second session of the first General Assembly of the State created four new counties, Alexander, Clark, Jefferson and Wayne. Alexander (March 4) from unorganized territory south of Union, included besides its present area, a portion of Pulaski, Clark, (March 22) from the north part of Crawford, extended from the third principal meridian to the Indiana state line and from the present southern county boundary to the Wisconsin state line on the north. Jefferson, (March 26) from Edwards and White, included besides its present area, the greater part of Marion. Wayne, (March 26) from Edwards, contained its present territory together with the southern part of Clay and the western part of Richland. Map No. 12 shows the county boundaries as they existed at the close of the first General Assembly of the State.
1821--LAWRENCE, GREENE, SANGAMON, PIKE, HAMILTON AND MONTGOMERY
In 1821, six new counties were created. Lawrence, (January 16) from Crawford and Edwards, included, besides its present area, the greater part of Richland just west of it. Greene, (January 20) from Madison, included, besides its present area, that of Jersey. The unorganized territory to the north and east of Greene was temporarily attached to it. Sangamon, (January 30) from Madison and Bond, included, besides its present area, all of the existing counties of Cass, Menard, Logan, Mason, Tazewell and parts of Christian, Macon, McLean, Woodford, Marshall and Putnam. Pike, (January 31) from Madison, Bond and Clark, inluded all that part of the State north and west of the Illinois and north of the Kankakee. Hamilton, (February 8) from the western part of White, was given its present boundaries and White was reduced to its existing limits. Montgomery, (February 12) from Bond and Madison, extended north from its present southern boundary to the county of Sangamon and included the southwestern part of Christian County. Town ten and part of town nine north, one west have since been added to Montgomery. Vandalia having been fixed upon as the future capital of the State, it was considered necessary to surround it with a county of suitable dimensions, and Fayette, (February 14) was created from Bond, Jefferson, Wayne, Crawford and Clark. It had for its southern boundary the line dividing townships two and three north, and extended north 180 miles, to the Illinois River. It was 42 miles wide for a distance of 60 miles and 36 miles wide the remaining 120 miles of its extent. It contained nearly 7,000 square miles of territory and included within its boundaries, in whole or in part, 18 counties as they exist today. A strict construction of the act creating Fayette would have made its entire western boundary the line between ranges one and two west of the third principal meridian, and its northern boundary the Wisconsin state line; thus taking, south of the Illinois River, one range of townships from the east side of Sangamon (formed January 30) and north of the river, cuttting in two, Pike (formed January 31), and making its area about 11,000 square miles. It is probable, however, that the word "unorganized" should be read into the first section of the act, making it read, "all that tract of unorganized country lying north," etc. Subsequent acts seem to agree with this construction. The outlines of these counties are shown on Map No. 13.
1823--EDGAR, MARION, FULTON AND MORGAN
In 1823, four new countries were created. Edgar, (January 3) from Clark, was given its present boundaries and unorganized territory, north and west of it was temporarily attached to it. Marion, (January 24) from Fayette and Jefferson, was given its present boundaries. Fulton, (January 28) from Pike, included besides its present area, parts of Knox, Peoria and Schuyler, and the unorganized territory to the north and east was temporarily attached. Morgan, (January 31) from Sangamon and the unorganized territory north of Greene, included the present counties of Morgan, Scott and Cass. The boundaries of Pike were re-defined, restricting it to the territory between the Illinois and Mississippi south of a line drawn west from the present site of Beardstown. It contained the present counties of Pike and Calhoun, a small part of Schuyler and the greatest part of Brown and Adams. The unorganized territory west of Fulton and north of Pike was temporarily attached to Pike. For these changes of boundary, see Map No. 14.
1824--CLAY, CLINTON AND WABASH
In 1824, three new counties were created. Clay, (December 23) from Fayette, Crawford and Wayne, included besides its present area, parts of Jasper and Richland. Clinton and Wabash, (December 27) the former from Washington, Fayette and Bond, and the latter, from Edwards, were given their present boundaries. These acts also reduced Edwards, Wayne and Washington to their present limits. These changes of boundaries are shown on Map No. 15.
1825--TEN NEW COUNTIES
In 1825, ten new counties were added, all of them in the territory north and west of the Illinois River. Calhoun (January 10), Adams, Hancock, Henry, Knox, Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler and Warren by a single act of January 13, and Peoria by a separate act of the same date. These acts gave to Adams, Hancock and Calhoun their present boundaries, included with Warren the present county of Henderson, gave to Mercer besides its present area, the part of Rock Island to the north of it, to Knox an area smaller by four townships than it now has, included with Schuyler the present county of Brown, and gave to Putnam all the unorganized country north of the Illinois and Kankakee Rivers. Pike, Peoria and Fulton were reduced to their present limits. Hancock was attached to Adams, and Mercer to Schuyler, until the organization of these attached counties could be completed. The northern line of Sangamon was re-defined and the detached portion temporarily attached to Fulton. A considerable tract of the unorganized territory east of Greene was added to Madison. Henry County extended south from the Wisconsin line to a line six miles south of its present boundary and from the fourth principal meridian east to the line dividing ranges four and five. In defining Henry County, the Mississippi was not named as part of its western boundary, and as described in the act it extended beyond the Mississippi and included a considerable part of Iowa Territory. The eastern boundary of Monroe County was carred east so as to include township three south, eight west, from St. Clair, and in 1827 was further extended to the Kaskaskia River, adding to it the fractional township three south, seven west from St. Clair, thus enlarging Monroe and reducing St. Clair to existing limits. The changes described are shown on Map No. 16.
1826--VERMILION AND MCDONOUGH
In 1826, but two new counties were established: Vermilion, (January 18) from unorganized territory attached to Edgar; and McDonough, with its present boundaries, from territory attached to Schuyler. These two counties are shown on Map No. 17. The unorganized territory north and west of Vermilion was temporarily attached to that county. Mercer and Warren were attached to Peoria, and McDonough to Schuyler, until their respective organizations could be completed.
1827--SHELBY, PERRY, TAZEWELL AND JODAVIESS
In 1827, four new counties were established: Shelby, (January 23) from Fayette, including its present territory and portions of Moultrie and Christian; Perry, (January 29) from Randolph and Jackson, was given its present boundaries; Tazewell, (January 31) from the unorganized territory east of the Illinois, included the present counties of Tazewell and Woodford and parts of McLean, Livingston, DeWitt, Logan and Mason; JoDaviess, (February 17) from Mercer, Henry and Putnam, included a large area north of the "military tract" and west of the range line between ten and eleven east of the fourth principal meridian, including besides the present county of JoDaviess, four entire counties and parts of five others. The country north of shelby (formerly a part of Fayette) was temporarily attached to Shelby, that still further north to Tazewell and that north of Tazewell to Peoria. Mercer was reduced to its present limits; but, not having completed its organization, remained, with Warren, attached to Peoria. A small tract from St. Clair, lying west of the Kaskaskia was added to Monroe January 9. The county boundaries at the close of 1827 are shown on Map No. 18.
1829-1831--NINE NEW COUNTIES
During this period nine new counties were created: Two in 1829, two in 1830 and five in 1831. In 1829, Macoupin, (January 17) from Madison and unorganized territory attached to Greene, was given its present boundaries, and Macon, (January 19) from territory attached to Shelby, included the present area of Macon, together with portions of Piatt, Moultrie and DeWitt.
In 1830, Coles, (December 25) from the western part of Clark and the unorganized territory north of it, included the present counties of Douglas, Coles and Cumberland. McLean, (December 25) from the eastern part of Tazewell and territory east of it, included all its present area with parts of Piatt, DeWitt, Logan, Woodford and Livingston.
In 1831, Cook, (January 15) from Putnam, contained, besides its present territory, all of Lake and DuPage and parts of McHenry and Will. LaSalle, (January 15) from Putnam and unorganized territory south of the Illinois, contained, besides its present area, all of Grundy and parts of Livingston, Kendall and Marshall. Rock Island, (February 9) from JoDaviess, was given its present boundaries. Effingham and Jasper, (February 15) were given their present boundaries, the first from Fayette and Crawford, and the latter from Crawford and Clay. The boundaries of Henry, Putnam and Knox were altered, but neither county reduced to its present lines, Mercer was attached to Warren until fully organized; Henry was attached to Knox, and the unorganized country north of LaSalle was attached to that county. Towns twelve and thirteen north, five east of the fourth principal meridian were included by acts of the same date in both Knox and Henry Counties. The section of the act including this tract in Henry was repeated March 4, 1837. The county boundaries at the close of this period are shown on Map No. 19.
1833-1835--CHAMPAIGN AND IROQUOIS
In 1833, Champaign, (February 20) from Vermilion and unorganized territory lying west of it, was given its present boundaries. Iroquois, (February 26) from unorganized territory north of Vermilion, included , besides its present area, nearly all of Kankakee and nearly half of Will. By these two acts Vermilion was reduced to its present limits. The boundary between Franklin and Perry was re-adjusted, (March 1, 1935) making Little Muddy River the dividing line between the counties. February 12, 1835, the line dividing Sangamon and Morgan was re-defined and provision made for its survey. In 1833, (February 26) Vermilion was enlarged to its present limits by the addition of unorganized territory on the north. These changes are shown on Map No. 20.
1836--SIX NEW COUNTIES
In 1836, six new counties were formed: Will, (January 12) from Cook and Iroquois, included, besides its present area, the part of Kankakee County lying north of the Kankakee River. Kane, McHenry, Ogle, Whiteside and Winnebago were created by a single act, (January 16). Kane included the present counties of Kane and DeKalb and part of Kendall; McHenry, besides its present area, included Lake; Winnebago included Boone and part of Stephenson; Ogle consisted of the present counties of Ogle and Lee, while Whiteside was given its present boundaries. The boundary of JoDaviess was re-defined and the area greatly reduced by the act of January 16. Winnebago, Ogle and Whiteside were attached to JoDaviess, and Kane to LaSalle, until their several organizations could be completed. See Map No. 21.
1837-1839--TWENTY-ONE NEW COUNTIES
The changes made in the county boundaries in 1837 and 1839 are shown on Map No. 22.
In 1837, six new counties were created: Livingston, (February 27) from LaSalle, McLean and unorganized territory to the east; Bureau, (February 28) from Putnam; Cass, (March 3) from Morgan; Boone, (March 4) from Winnebago; DeKalb, (March 4) from Kane; and Stephenson, (March 4) from Winnebago and JoDaviess. All of these were given their present boundaries except Cass, whose southern boundary was fixed three miles further north than now, and Winnebago was reduced to its present limits.
In 1839, fifteen new counties were formed, a greater number than in any other year of the State's history, and equal to all that have since been created. Marshall, (January 9) from Putnam, was given its present boundaries, except that two townships (29 and 30 north, one east; from LaSalle) were attached in 1843; Brown, (February 1) from Schuyler; DuPage, (February 9) from Cook; and Dane renamed Christian, (February 15 and 26) from Shelby, Montgomery and Sangamon were given their present boundaries. Logan, (February 15) from Sangamon, was smaller than at present, three whole and three fractional townships from Tazewell, (1840) and a fractional township from DeWitt, (1845) having since been added to the north. Menard, (February 15) from Sangamon, included, besides its present area, about half of Mason County. Scott, (February 16) from Morgan; Carroll, (February 22) from JoDaviess; Lee, (February 27) from Ogle; Jersey, (February 28) from Greene, and Williamson, (February 28) from Franklin, were given their present boundaries. DeWitt, (March 1) from McLean and Macon, included, besides its present area; the northern part of Piatt and a small tract since attached to Logan. Lake, (March 1) from McHenry, was given its present boundaries. Hardin, (March 2) from Pope contained but about one-half of its present area; and Stark, (March 2) from Knox and Putnam, was given its present boundaries. These several acts reduced the following ten counties to their present limits: Cook, Franklin, Greene, JoDaviess, Knox, McHenry, Montgomery, Putnam, Sangamon and Schuyler. The western boundary of Hardin was changed January 8, 1840, from the Grand Pierre Creek to the present line between Pope and Hardin. The name of Dane County was changed to Christian February 1, 1840.
1841-1859--FIFTEEN NEW COUNTIES
Since 1839 fifteen new counties have been created, making the total number at the present time 102. No new counties have been created since 1859 and no important changes made in county boundaries since that year. Map No. 23 shows the county boundaries as they exist at the present time with the date of the formation of each.
In 1841, Henderson, (January 20) from Warren; Mason from Tazewell and Menard; Piatt, (January 27) from DeWitt and Macon; Grundy, (February 17) from LaSalle; Kendall, (February 19) from LaSalle and Kane; Richland, (February 24) from Clay and Lawrence; and Woodford, (February 27) from McLean and Tazewell, were given their present boundaries, and the following eight counties, Clay, Kane, LaSalle, Lawrence, McLean, Menard, Tazewell and Warren, were reduced to their present limits.
In 1843, four new counties were created: Massac, (February 8) from Pope and Johnson; Moultrie, (February 16) from Shelby and Macon; Cumberland, (March 2) from Coles; and Pulaski, (March 3) from Johnson and Alexander, were given their present boundaries. Pope, Johnson, Shelby, Macon and Alexander were reduced to their present limits.
In 1845, (February 16) part of Morgan was added to Cass; (February 26) part of DeWitt was added to Logan; the line between Fulton and Peoria was re-adjusted (February 23), but no new counties were created.
In 1847, Saline, (February 25) from Gallatin, was given its present boundaries and (February 20) territory was added to Hardin. By these two acts, Gallatin was reduced to its present limits, and with the act of January 8, 1840, changing the eastern boundary of Pope, Hardin was given its present boundaries.
In 1856, Kankakee, (February 11) from Iroquois and Will, was given its present boundaries except that two townships (30 and 21 north, 9 east), were added to the western part, February 14, 1885. The act creating Kankakee reduced Iroquois and Will to their present limits.
In 1859, Douglas, (February 8) from Coles, was given its present boundaries and Coles reduced to its present limits; Ford, (February 17) the latest county to be created was formed from unorganized territory which had been attached to Vermilion since the creation of that county in 1826. Ford was given its present boundaries and Vermilion reduced to its present limits.
During this period and in preceding years as well, a number of laws affecting county boundaries were enacted which have not been referred to in this article for the reason that the changes made by these acts have been so unimportant that they could not well be shown on maps so small as those following this sketch and intending to illustrate it. Some of the lines on the maps are not beyond possible controversy. The acts establishing the lines are not always clear and are sometimes plainly contradictory. When Crawford was established in 1816, its western boundary was described as "the meridian"; and it has been assumed that the third principal meridian was meant. The act creating Fayette in 1821 strictly construed, extended its northern limit to the Wisconsin line; but subsequent acts indicate that no territory north of the Illinois River was at any time considered a part of Fayette. The act of 1825 adding territory to Madison is contradictory in its terms, and a subsequent act, reciting how this act shall not be construed, fails to clarify the original law. The provisions by which unorganized territory was "attached" to organized counties vary greatly in terms, and possibly in meaning. Such territory is "temporarily attached" by one act, "attached for county purposes" by another, for "judicial purposes" by a third, and still other forms are used. One act provides that property in the attached territory shall not be taxed for the erection of public buildings in the county to which the territory is attached, and another that "the inhabitants residing therein shall enjoy all the rights and privileges belonging to the citizens of the county" to which the territory is attached. The act creating Fulton in 1823 gave to it definite boundaries as shown on Map No. 14, and declared that this territory "shall constitute a separate county;" but further declared that all the county east of the fourth meridian and north of the Illinois, formerly a part of Pike, "shall be attached to and be a part of said county until otherwise disposed of by the General Assembly", and it remained so attached until disposed of in 1825 by the creation of Peoria and Putnam Counties. So it seems an open question whether the boundaries of Fulton for 1823 should be represented as on Map No. 14, or whether the county should be shown as reaching east from the fourth meridian to Lake Michigan, and north from the Illinois River to the Wisconsin line. Many such problems present themselves in considering these maps. But reference is made in each case to the act establishing the county and the interested reader may readily consult the creative act and reconstruct the map to correspond with his interpretation of its meaning. The purpose of the maps and of the descriptive matter accompanying them is to give to those interested in this branch of the State's history, a reasonably correct idea of the evolution of the counties of Illinois. It is believed that the maps are substantially correct and that few material errors will be found in the text explaining them.
Besides the 102 counties above enumerated, 13 other counties with names assigned and boundaries fixed, have been authorized by legislative enactment but failed to complete their organizations under the several enabling acts creating them: The counties of Coffee and Michigan in 1837; Allen and Okaw in 1841; Audubon, Benton, Marquette and Milton in 1843; Audubon, Benton, Marquette and Milton in 1843; Highland in 1847; Oregon in 1851; Harrison in 1855; Holmes in 1857 and Lincoln in 1867. Coffee, (March 1, 1837) was identical in boundaries with Stark, except that it contained one more township, now the southeastern township of Henry. Michigan, (March 2, 1837) contained, besides the present territory of DuPage County, that part of Cook lying north of DuPage and south of Lake and McHenry. Audubon, (February 6, 1843) consisted of a rectangular tract, south of Christian County, running 12 miles south and 15 miles west, from the southeast corner of Christian and included parts of the present counties of Shelby, Fayette and Montgomery. Okaw, (February 4, 1841) was almost identical in area with the present county of Moultrie, but extended three miles farther west, and the zig-zag line forming its southwestern boundary was somewhat different. Marquette, (February 11, 1843) from Adams County, included townships one and two north and one, two and three south, ranges five and six west of the fourth principal meridian, with six sections off the east side of township one south, seven west. Highland, (February 27, 1847) included all the territory assigned to Marquette in 1843, together with the eastern third of townships one and two north, seven west and six additional sections from township one south, seven west. Allen, Benton and Oregon included much territory in common from the southwestern part of Sangamon, to the southeastern part of Morgan and the northern part of Macoupin. Allen, (February 27, 1841) contained townships twelve, thirteen, fourteen and south half of fifteen north, ranges seven and eight west; twelve and thirteen and part of fourteen, range nine; and the western third of twelve north, six west. It took nearly an equal amount of territory from each of the three counties of Macoupin, Sangamon and Morgan. Benton, (March 4, 1843) extended further west and south than Allen, but not so far east; its eastern boundary being the line between Morgan and Sangamon Counties. Compared with Allen it took more territory from Morgan, less from Macoupin, a considerable tract from the northeastern part of Greene and none from Sangamon, but gained nearly enough from Morgan and Greene to balance the loss from Sangamon. Oregon, (February 15, 1851) was very similar in outline to the old county of Allen, formed ten years earlier, but extended farther east, taking in township thirteen north, six west, and the eastern two-thirds of twelve north, six west, and its northern boundary extended a mile farther north than that of Allen.
Another group of proposed counties in the eastern part of the State also covered much territory in common. Milton, (February 21, 1843) from the southern part of Vermilion County, included early one-third of the area of that county. Harrison, (February 14, 1855) mostly from the eastern part of McLean, included also portions of the present counties of Ford and Champaign. Holmes, (January 15, 1837) similar in shape to the present county of Ford, but larger in area, reaching twelve miles farther north, six miles farther south and three miles farther east along its southern boundary, contained, besides the present area of Ford, portions of Kankakee, Champaign and Vermilion. Lincoln, (March 9, 1867) occupied a strip from two to eight miles wide and thirty-six miles in length, along the eastern side of Champaign, and a somewhat wider strip of the same length from the western side of Vermilion. This included a part of the territory assigned to Milton in 1843 and to Holmes in 1857, as Holmes had included a part of Harrison formed in 1855.