Establishment of Rock Island County, Illinois

In 1828 and the early part of 1829 George Davenport and Russell Farnham entered the lands upon which the old fair grounds were located, and which extended from there about one mile east. William T. Brashar entered the lands upon a portion of which is now located Chippianock Cemetery. These and other pre-emptions were upon lands that had for nearly a century been the village and the cornfields of the Sacs. These entries were within the letter, but contrary to the spirit of the treaty of 1804. These lands were not open to settlers, nor brought into the market until the latter part of 1829, and one authority says: “Consequently all who had settled on them previous to this were trespassers, having violated the laws of congress and the pre-existing treaties. The most advanced settlements at that time did not approach nearer than fifty or sixty miles of Rock Island, and the lands for even a greater distance had not been offered for sale, yet the government disposed of a few quarter sections at the mouth of this stream, embracing the site of the village and fields cultivated by the inhabitants. The manifest object of this advanced movement upon the Indian settlements was to evade the provisions of the treaty, by having the governmental title to the lands pass into the hands of the individuals, and thus obtain a pretext for removing its owners west of the Mississippi.

By an act of the Illinois Legislature entitled “An act to establish Rock Island County,” approved and in force February 9, 1831, it was provided by Section 1 thereof what the boundaries of this county shall be. Section 2 provided that whenever it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of the presiding judge of the circuit court of Jo Daviess County, to which this county was then attached, that the said County of Rock Island contains three hundred and fifty inhabitants, it shall be his duty to grant an order for the election of three commissioners, one sheriff and one coroner to serve in and for said county until they be superseded by the persons elected at the next general election, which shall take place after the special election here-in provided for. The act then states that after such election the said County of Rock Island shall be considered as organized and entitled to the same rights and privileges as the other counties in this state. Owing, how-ever, to the Black Hawk War no effort was made to organize the county until 1833, when on Monday, July 5, in pursuance of due notice, the legal voters of this county to the number of sixty-five met at the “House of John Barrel,” and elected county officers.

 

Early Settlements of Rock County 

 

Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908