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Washington County, Illinois
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Washington County, Illinois

Nashville, Washington County, Illinois.
1906 postcard of Washington County, Illinois Courthouse
1906 Postcard Photograph
Photograph and Articles furnished by Jo House
1957 postcard of Washington County, Illinois Courthouse
1957 Postcard Photograph
Photograph courtesy of Frank Absher
Additonal Courthouse photographs : Courthouse ~ Through the Years

History 1
       There are no records by which the dimensions or cost of the court-house at Covington can be obtained. One thing is certain, -- it was rude and primitive, and in keeping with the character of other improvements, public and private, of that day.
       As before mentioned, there was no court-house at Georgetown. On the 25th day of June, 1831, the county commissioners contracted with Thomas L. Moore for the building of a court-house on the public square in Nashville, under which contract Moore erected the old frame court-house, which continued in use until 1840.
Present Court-House
       On April 1st, 1840, the commissioners contracted with Malachi Jenkins for the erecetion of a new court-house, according to a plan furnished by Harvey Neville. The price agreed to be paid was $4385. The building was built upon the site occupied by the old one. The court-room , at first, was on the ground floor; the offices on the second floor, and was changed to its present model in 1855.
drawing of courthouse in 1879
Drawing of Jail & Court House 1
circa 1870s
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History of Nashville 2
History of the Precincts of Washington County
       The first settler so f Nashville precinct were Samuel K. Anderson, John Morgan, Landon Park, a Negro, and Nicholas Darter, Orcenith Fisher, David Ramsey, John D. Wood, Livesay Carter and D. L. Livesay, who settled at various periods from 1818 to 1833.
       Nashville was laid out by the proprietors, Robert Middleton and G. Brown on June 8, 1830, and a report and plat of the city was filed with the commissioners by A. W. Cassada, county surveyor. The records show that the proprietors deeded a stipluated number of lots to the commissioners for the use of the county, and used the remainder for themselves. David White, Joseph Whittenberg and Livesay Carter were the commissioners. Carter and Whittenberg, Tennesseeans, christened the town "New Nashville," but the "new" was soon dropped. First house was built by Sam K. Anderson. First marriage was that of Rev. Horatio Burns to Mrs. Martha Morgan, on Nov. 22, 1831.
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Newspaper Aricles 3
Articles regarding construction of present Washington County Courthouse
May 2, 1884
       . . . There is already some trouble about the foundation of the new Court house. The contractor goes according to the specifications, which do not, in the opinion of good judges plainly provide for a suitable foundation for such a building. If this is so, the Building Committee had better provide for this deficiency before the work goes any further. If the specifications are defective, they should be amended, and a price agreed on between the committee and the contractor for alterations and additions. They had better incur this additional expense now, than go on with an insure foundation and regret their action later. As the Board meets on Monday, this matter will no doubt be investigated by them, and receive the attention it demands.
May 9, 1884
       . . . The plan of the proposed new court house at Fairfield has been exhibited here. It is so much superior to the plan of our court house, that there was a general desire that the Board of Supervisors would adopt it in place of the present indefinite plan. If there is a misunderstanding already about the precise meaning of the specifications, or rather if no suitable foundation is proviced (sic) for, it would be the part of wisdom to overhaul the whole thing before any more work is done. Better spend one or two thousand dollars now, to repair mistakes already made, than spend eight or ten thousand dollars to remedy them after the building is up, and yet have a court house that is not satisfactory to the people.
       Since the above was written, the Building Committee have agreed to pay Mr. Hollerbeck extra for a good concrete foundation, at the rate of $6.40 a perch, and also for grading the ground at the north end of the building at the rate of 20 cents a yard. It is estimated that the extra cost will be six or seven hundred dollars.
June 13, 1884
       At a meeting of citizens held in the Court room on Wednesday evening, to make arrangements for laying the corner stone of the new Court House, Ph. H. Reither was called to the chair and C. M. Forman elected Secretary. Judge Vernor stated the object of the meeting.
       After some remarks the following committees were appointed:
       Arrangements - George Vernor, H. F. Reuter, Chas. Gerstkemper, W. S. Hisey, H. P. Green
       On Speakers - Charles Rose, J. C. Kerr, J. A. Watts
       On Music - H. F. Reuter, F. E. Liese, L. Krughoff, D. E. Wagenhalls, Wm. Wagner
       Committee of Arrangements for laying Corner Stone of new Court House met at office of W. S. Hisey and transacted the following business. On motion W. S. Hisey was elected chairman. On motion of H. F. Reuter the time for laying Corner Stone was postponed to Saturday, June 21st, at 2 o'clock, p.m.
       This action was taken because the roads have been so bad that the material to complete the foundation could not be hauled, and on account of the shortness of time to give general notice.
       Then the following program of exercises for Saturday, June 21st was adopted:
         1. Song by the choir.
         2. Prayer by Rev. J. H. Stevenson.
         3. Music by the band.
         4. Address by Judge Amos Watts.
         5. Song by the choir.
         6. Music by the band.
         7. Address by Dr. H. D. Schmidt.
         8. Song by the choir.
         9. Music by the band.
       10. Address by Hon. P. E. Hosmer.
       11. Song by the choir.
       12. Music by the band.
       13. Address by Judge George Vernor.
       14. Laying Corner Stone
       15. Music by the band.
       16. Song by the choir.
       17. Benediction by Rev. W. A. Cross
       All citizens of the county are cordially invited to be present. The 21stshould be made a holiday and everybody turn out and be there.
       Nashville, Ill., June 12, 1884 (date Minutes were taken)
June 27, 1884
       Saturday was a very warm day, but there was a good attendance from all parts of the county to witness the ceremonies of laying the corner-stone of the new Court House.
       At 2 p.m. Judge Vernor called the meeting to order, and moved that T. Balderston, Esq., be requested to preside, which was agreed to.
       A platform had been erected for the speakers, the choir and the Nashville Band, and the program was nearly carried out as announced. The choir of four voices - Mrs. Rose and Miss Nellie McCracken, Col. Krughoff and A. H. Meyer, with Mrs. Goodner as organist - and the well-drilled Nashville Band, furnished some very fine music. The opening prayer by Rev. J. H. Stevenson was more than usually impressive. It was an invocation in behalf of all who might officiate within its walls, that truth, justice and righteousness might influence their conduct, and that the building dedicated today would in reality be a Temple of Justice.
       Judge Amos Watts gave some interesting reminiscences of the early days, when W. H. Bradsby filled nearly all the offices, and carried around the records and papers in a bag. As the judge spent his early days, from a youth up, in the old court house, as clerk and lawyer, he probably knows more of its history than any living man, and his talk was very entertaining. He could speak from personal knowledge of the growth of the city and country, from a backwoods settlement to a large and flourishing community. He did not think the proposed new court house was at all too large for our present wants, and it would seem not large enough if our growth in the future would compare with what it had been in the past.
       Dr. H. D. Schmidt followed with some remarks in German for the benefit of our adopted fellow citizens, who now form so large and so honored a portion of the inhabitants of this county.
       Judge Vernor concluded with some recollections of the prominent men who had figured in the early days; and though his span of life is shorter than that of Judge Watts, he also could trace back to what now appears a long time, when Bissell, Trumbull, Reynolds, and others were some of the prominent lawyers of the Nashville bar.
       The articles were then placed in a copper-box, soldered up, and the corner-stone was put in place. The following is a list of articles deposited in the box:
      - Pass-book of the Washington County Building and Loan Association, by T. J. Vernor.
      - Hand-book of the Runk Manufacturing Co., by J. A. Watts.
      - Roll of the Nashville Silver Cornet Band, by Wm. Wagner.
      - List of officers of Washington county, by O. P. Hallam.
      - Runk Sisters' business advertisement, by Maud Runk.
      - Copy of the Illinois Volksblatt by Emil Schmidt.
      - Copy of the Nashville Journal, by C. F. Hartman.
      - Copy of the Nashville Democrat of January 26th, 1883, and extra issue of January 21st, 1883,
         containing account of the great fire, by J. E. Wightman.
      - Copies of Weekly Democrat of 20th, and Daily of the 21st of June, by the editor.
      - Photograph of remains of the old Court House, and also of the burnt district, by Wm. Standbrook.
      - Hand-book of New Home Life Association, by C. M. Forman.
      - Names of members of the Board of Education by P. Ziegel.
      - Roll of Fidelity Lodge No. 224, A.O.U.W. by Andrew Meyer.
      - Photograph of Warren E. Kuhl by H. E. Kuhl.
      - Constitution and by-laws, list of charter members and present members of
         Nashville Lodge No. 37, I.O.O.F., by Wm. Watson
      - Historical events in the history of Washington County by T. Dalderston.
      - Roll of officers and members of the Knights of Labor, by F. Lebkuecher.
      - Copy of the Odd Fellows' Herald, by Geo. Vernor.
      - Roll of the Nashville Turnverein, by J. G. Bieser.
      - Roll of the Nashville Merchants' Protective Association, by W. O. Weihe.
      - Record of Elkton, by J. R. Kennedy.
      - Nashville Temperance Township Ticket, by J. B. Stoker.
      - "One hundred Years Hence," by W. W. Hutchings.
      - "To the Next Generation," by H. P. Green.
      - Roll of Arbelter Lodge, No. 385, I.O.O.F., by Fred Schleifer.
      - Copy of Bulletin of Commerce, by C. Rose.
      - Copy of specifications of the New Court House, John Seyler.
      - Roll of the Presbyterian church, by J. C. Kerr.
      - Official list of Beaucoup Circuit M.E. church, by Rev. G. W. Walker.
      - New Testament, by Wm. T. Jones.
      - Stamped envelope and letter head, by Geo. Vernor.
      - The following cards were also put in: Hosmer & Hosmer, att'ys-at-law; Kerr and Hughes,
         abstractors of titles; Means and Adams, grocers; C. W. Mitchell, grocer; John G. Bieser, City Hotel;
         Reuter & Schmidt, marble works; C. & R. Scheurer, hardware; Dr. and Mrs. J. H. Means' New Year cards,
         and a program of the "Social Glass" entertainment, by Greenville Rountree.

Harrl Beatty Photograph Collection
Courtesy of Larry & Jo House
Washington County Courthouse ~ Through the Years

Washington County Courthouse drawing 1884-1984
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County Courthouse drawing 1884-1984
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse
Washington County, IL. Courthouse

Washington County
Sheriff's Residence & Jail

Sheriff's Residence & Jail
Sheriff's Residence & Jail
Sheriff's Residence & Jail
Sheriff's Residence & Jail

Sources :
1 1879 History of Washington County, Illinois
      Brink, McDonough & Co.; Philadelphia;   Corresponding Office, Edwardsville, ILL.; 1879
2 This Is Washington County -- 1818 - 1968 -- Illinois Sesquincentennial
      by the Sesquincentennial Committee of the Historical Society of Washington County
3Articles regarding construction of present Washington County Courthouse
      The Nashville Journal, Nashville, Washington County, Illinois; 1884

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