Illustrated Atlas Map of Menard County, Illinois 1874
Published by W.R. Brink & Co., of Illinois


The Early Officials Of The County--Miscellaneous Matters
Page 11

Immediately following the organization of the County in 1839, the County Commissioners' Court was organized and held its first session on the 9th of April of that year. This Court comprised Joseph Watkins, William Engle, and George W. Simpson, who, with the officials mentioned below, held their several positions by appointment. The officials alluded to were as follows: Circuit and County Clerk, Nathan Dresser; Probate Judge, A. D. Wright; Treasurer, Jacob Laning; Sheriff, James Goldsby; Deputy Sheriff, John Pemberton; Coroner, Martin S. Morris; School commissioner, Samuel Berry; Collector, Harry Riggin; Recorder, William G. Spears. The first Grand Jury of the County consisted of the following gentlemen: Charles L. Montgomery, A. A. Rankin, William Stotts, James Walker, George Virgin, J. N. Moore, William Estell, Sr., J. W. Smith, Leonard Alkire, Sr., Thomas Wyne, Elisha Bone, Julius Simmons, James White, Jr., Jonathan Masterron, Thomas Dowell, James Taylor, C. B. Waldo, Jacob Barber, John Young, David M. Pantier, Henry Onstott, Obed Short, and James Baxter. The fees of these and all other jurymen were then fixed at seventy-five cents per day.

The first term of the Probate Court was held on the 2d day of May, 1839.

Among the first acts of the County Commissioners' Court was to divide the County into three assessors' districts, and to appoint George Spears Assessor in the First; Jacob C. West, in the Second; and Smith Turner, in the Third. It was also ordered by this Court that Jacob Bales be authorized to keep a ferry across the Sangamon River at Salem, on payment of two dollars and a half as license.

At the June meeting of the Board the County was divided into six Justices' districts, which were named as follows: Petersburg, Sand Ridge, Sugar Grove, Indian Creek, Texas, and Salt Creek. These districts were also constituted the election districts of the County. At this meeting the assessment on personal property and real estate was fixed at thirty cents on the dollar, to defray the expenses of the County.

The Commissioners appointed by the Legislature to select a County seat for Menard, were Benjamin Mitchell, of Tazewell; John Henry, of Morgan; Newton Walker, of Fulton. These gentlemen having designated Petersburg as the point for such location, John Taylor deeded to the County the present public square, upon which the court-house was completed in August, 1843. The agents for the County in building the court-house were James Goldsby, John Bennett, and William Hoag. The fire proof building used as the repository of the County records and for the business offices of the County and Circuit Clerks, was erected in 1865, at a total cost of about ten thousand dollars.

The first representative to the General Assembly from the new County of Menard was John Bennett.

The first parties married in the territory of what is now Menard County were William Sampson and Hannah Smick. The first marriage license granted after the County was organized was that of James Denton, who married a Miss Martha J. Leow, Rev. John A. Powell officiating.

The first birth within the territory now constituting Menard County was Solomon Potter. The oldest living citizen born in the County is William Watkins.

The first death in the County was an infant child of Jesse Armstrong, in the spring of 1821. A gentleman by the name of Rowe died a few months later.

The first school in the County was taught in Clary's Grove, in 1820, by Robert Armstrong.

The first brick house in the County was built by George Spears, in 1828.

The following is a list of the present County officers, and who comprise as competent and courteous a body of men as the State affords: J. H. Pillsbury, County Judge; H. H. Masters, County Attorney; Theodore C. Bennett, Circuit Clerk; R. S. Carter, Deputy Circuit Clerk; Anson Thompson, County Clerk; Charles Thomas, Deputy County Clerk; Fred. Wilkinson, Sheriff; John Tice, Deputy Sheriff; Eli Reep, County Treasurer; Hobart Hamilton, Master in Chancery; K. B. Davis, County Superintendent of Schools; A. J. Kelly, County Surveyor.

The Board of County Court Commissioners meet in regular session on the first Mondays in December, March, June and September, and on the second Monday in July in each year. The Board for 1874 consists of Milen Alkire, President; William C. Smoot, and James Perkapile.

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