Genealogy Trails - Jersey County, Illinois

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The Jerseyville Court House

First Court House

The first court house built in Jerseyville was in 1840, by subscriptions from the people. It was originally 40 feet square. Aaron Rue and Payten C. Walker did the carpenter work and Peter Perrine did the brick work. It was built on the block given by Lott & Daly to the town for a pubilc square and the trustees of the town deeded it to the county for a public building.

In 1862, an addition on the north side was built, 16x30 feet in size, for jail purposes. On the morning of January 6, 1884, a very cold winter morning, it burned up and some four inmates perished. Any person wishing to read at length about this sad and sorrful event, let him turn to the "History of Greene and Jersey Counties," page 100, where he will find details I prefer not to repeat in my history.
Source: Excerts from History of Jerseyville, Illinois 1822 - 1901- by Rev. Marshall M. Cooper - Page 162 - Transcribed by KP]

New Court House

At a meeting of the Board of Supervisors of Jersey County, March 2, 1892, they issued an order to the electors of said county to issue Forty Thousand Dollars in County bonds for the purpose of building a new court house. The vote resulted as follows:
For county bonds - 1366
Against County Bonds - 977 votes

Whereupon Supervisor L. T. English presented the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted, and on motion of Supervisor C. P. Stafford, each of the twelve members of the Board voting in affirmative on roll call:
"Whereas, It appears from the returns submitted to the Board by the county clerk, that the proposition to issue forty thousand dollars in county bonds for the purpose of buildinga court house for Jersey County, submitted at the general election in November, 1892, was carried by a majority of the legal votes cast upon the proposition,therefore be it
RESOLVED, That this Board shall proceed without delay to erect a court house upon teh public square in Jerseyville for the use of said county, to cost no to exceed forty thousand dollars.
RESOLVED, That the funds necessary to defray the cost and expense of building be raised by the issue and sale of county bonds to the extent of forty thousand dollars, drawing interest not exceeding five per cent."

The building committee was composed of the following gentleman: P. D. Cheney, James Stirratt, Wm. Goshorn, C. P. Stafford, and Joseph Knight. April 11, 1893, the contraact for buidling the court house was let to F. W. Menke, of Quincy, Ill., who gave bond for $30,000 for the faithful performance of his part of said contract.

The corner stone of the new court house was laid July 4, 1893. All the citizens of Jersey County were invited to be present adn participate in the excerises of the day. The County Board and County Offices of Greene County were invited to be present.

The building committee accepted the new court house from the from the hands of Mr. Menke, May 5, 1894, and they made report to the Board of Supervisors, June 5, 1894. The amount paid the contractor, F. W. Menke, was $40,411.85

The building is solidly constructed of Grafton stone, and is a very beautiful and imposing structure. Its height from the ground to the top of the statue is 124½ feet; length, 90 feet; width 71 feet.

In the basement are six rooms; on the lower floor are six rooms; on the second floor are eight rooms. It contains four fire-proff vaults, each 6x26 feet, making in all about 9,360 cubic feet of vault room. It is a beautiful and substantial structure and does credit to the architect who planned it, the building committee who superintended it, Mr. Menke who built it and the people of Jersey County who own it.

Source: Excerts from History of Jerseyville, Illinois 1822 - 1901- by Rev. Marshall M. Cooper - Page 163 - 164 - Transcribed by KP]