In Illinois, townships were established as units of state government under the 2nd Illinois Constitution of 1848.


       Up to this point, a County Commission form of local government prevailed. Under this form, the county unit was the governing body, with commissioners responsible for the administration and legislative affairs of towns and villages within a county.


       In 1849, voters within Illinois counties were given the right to adopt the township form of local government. With the option of choosing a township type of government, voters had the opportunity to elect officials from their local communities who would be directly responsible for conducting business necessary to maintain their communities.


       Over the next several decades, the response to adopting township government exploded and today, 85 of Illinois 102 counties operate under a township form of local government, with 1,433 townships serving more than 8 million people.


       On February 3, 1809, Illinois became a separate Territory and in 1818 was admitted as a state of the Federal Union. It was covered by tall wild grass with scattered woods along the waterways. By the time Illinois achieved statehood in 1818, word about the rich soil and the open prairies had already reached the East.


       Settlement began in 1818 when Kentuckians James and Betsey Chapman, and her brother Richard Latham built a cabin on the Sangamon River north of Springfield, which at the time only had two cabins. Shortly after their arrival, James Latham arrived and also settled along the Sangamon River.


       A January thaw caused the river to over flow, and Latham decided to seek higher elevation that the river valley. He, his son Richard and Ebenezer Briggs crossed the Sangamon and headed north until they reached what became known as Elkhart Hill. There they found a good location near a spring and marked the site for the first cabin built in Logan County. The central Illinois country had not been surveyed  when Latham settled at Elkhart.


       He erected a small cabin, near the spring and planted a crop. With the cabin completed and the crop established, James Latham returned to Kentucky for his family. They arrived at Elkhart Hill in September, 1819 with several wagons of furnishings.


       When Illinois became a state in 1818 it only had fifteen counties. At that time, Bond County contained the area which eventually became Logan County. The map above shows the counties in 1818 when Illinois became a state. On January 30, 1821, the State Legislature established Sangamon County, It included parts of the present day Christian, Macon, McLean, Woodford, Marshall and Putnam counties as well as all of Logan County, Tazewell, Mason, Menard and Cass counties.


       During the 1838-1839 session of the Eleventh Grand Assembly, Representative Abraham Lincoln of the Committee on Counties introduced a bill to establish Logan County, which he named after his friend and fellow legislator Dr. John Logan. The bill was approved February 5, 1839. In 1841 Logan gained more land from Tazewell County. In 1847 a small part of DeWitt county became part of Logan County, completing the county boundaries as we know them today.


       The first county seat was Postville. In 1848 it was moved to Mt. Pulaski. In 1855, after a two year legal fight settled by the Illinois Supreme Court, it was moved to the new town of Lincoln, a more central location. The present county seat of Logan County is Lincoln. It was named after Abraham Lincoln in 1853 - before he became president. Lincoln christened the new town with juice from a watermelon. The map to the right shows the state's county boundaries in 1839.




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