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and towns is of value:

DIFFERENCES, POLICEMAN AND CONSTABLE

Policeman Constable

1. Has regular hours, a " beat," Has none of these.

or place to patrol, and a
uniform.

2. Can serve warrants only. Can serve all writs.

3. May arrest on sight. Must have a warrant.

4. Has relation to criminal ac- Has relations to both criminal

tions only. and civil actions.

5. Executes orders of a mayor. Executes orders of a judicial

officer as police magistrate,
justice of the peace, or judge.

6. Jurisdiction is the city. Jurisdiction is the county.

7. Is appointed by chief of po- Is elected in each township;

lice and the mayor; usually number depends on popula-
under civil-service rules. tion and cannot in Illinois be

more than five.

8. Term is good behavior. Term is four years.



TOWNS AND TOWNSHIPS IN ILLINOIS 61

V. Township Survey Systems. The old colonial
system of surveying land was very crude and unsatisfactory.
The old boundaries were trees, even stumps, a " quart of
charcoal buried under a certain tree," and similar remov-
able marks. Confusion of ownership resulted, and many
lawsuits over the title to land. The rectangular system of
surveys now in use throughout the West was adopted by
Congress (1785) and is called the " simplest of all known
modes of survey." Thomas Jefferson was chairman of
the committee in Congress that proposed this system and
therefore the plan is often attributed to him; but the real
originator was Thomas Hutchins, the first surveyor-gen-
eral of the United States. (Currey, Hist. Chicago, Vol. I.)

1. CONGRESSIONAL TOWNSHIPS. Nearly all public land
in the West is divided into townships of six miles square
" as near as may be," called congressional townships.
Some prominent geographical feature, as the mouth of a
river, is taken for a starting point and through this is
drawn a meridian line running north and south, known as
the principal meridian. Through this line at some selected
point and at right angles to it is run another line called the
base line. Starting at the intersection of these two lines
the surveyor measures off distances of six miles on both,
and through these points runs new intersecting lines. The
squares of land thus formed contain 36 square miles, " or
thereabouts," and are the congressional tozvnships, bounded
by the lines running north and south, east and west.

2. SECTIONS. Each township is subdivided by a further
series of similar lines into 36 squares, each containing one

.square mile (640 acres), called a section. Each section is
generally divided still further into quarter-sections of 160
acres each; these tracts of land are often subdivided. All



62 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS



these divisions are described by the points of the compass.
The sections in a township are numbered east and west, west
and east, alternately. The northeast section is always No.
I and the southeast section is always No. 36.
A Township with Sections Subdivisions of a Section.



Numbered.
Diagram A.



Diagram B.



6


5


4


3


2


1


7


8


9


10


11


12


18


17


16


15


14


13


19


20


21


22


23


24


SO


29


28


27


26


25


31


32


33


34


35


36



tt



NEV 4 o F



3. PROBLEMS. Describe divisions marked,
and give area of each.

Locate the following pieces of land :



, f,



S6. 12

Sl2.

Ss6.

sw^ 827.
Sio.
Si 5 .



8. SH nw^ Si.

9. S^ sw^ S;.

10. sy 2 sy 2 sw^4 531.

11. Ne^ neH 235.

12. Read and explain:

Tp. 41 n R. 14 e 3rd P. M.



NOTE. This is the congressional or school township, for the city
of Evanston. It has two school districts, Nos. 75 and 76. Find the
number of your township and school district.

VI. Convergence of the Meridians. Converging
meridians, because of the convexity of the earth, make
12 S6, Si 2, etc., refer to the section number.



TOWNS AND TOWNSHIPS IN ILLINOIS 63

necessary new base lines and guide meridians every forty-
eight miles in the latitude of Illinois in order to correct
the discrepancies in the size of the townships. Six of the
principal meridians of the United States are numbered and
the remaining eighteen are named. The greater part of
Illinois is surveyed from the third principal meridian run-
ning through the mouth of the Ohio River. Its base line
crosses it at Centralia in Jefferson County. Parts of Illi-
nois are surveyed from the second and fourth meridians.
Every civics pupil should understand the township survey
system used by the United States Government. An ex-
cellent account of the township survey system is found in
Government of Illinois, by Harry Pratt Judson, pp. 30-
37. See also Currey, Hist, of Chicago, Vol. I, pp. 226,
227; James and Sanford, Government in State and Na-
tion, Revised Edition, pp. 280-283 ; also Townsend, Illi-
nois and the Nation, ch. i. Any commercial arithmetic
will also give space to the topic.

SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS
(For pupils living in counties under township organization.)

1. When is your township election?

2. What township officers do you elect?

3. How do you care for the poor in your township?

4. How many townships in your county?

5. Bound the one in which you live.

6. (a) What was done at your last town-meeting? (b) How
many voters attended? (c) Ought the town-meeting to be abol-
ished? (d) Who would do its present work? (Ask the town
clerk to let you see the report of that meeting.)

7. What does it cost to run your township?

8. For what is the money spent?

9. Can women vote for township officers in Illinois? Can they
serve as township officers?



64 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS'

10. For what .offices are women especially fitted? (Give rea-
sons for your answer.)

11. Has your township good roads? If not, how can you get
better ones?

12. How do bad roads increase the cost of living?

13. Who are the justices of the peace in your township?

14. Who assesses the property in your township?

15. Who collects the taxes in your township?



CHAPTER IV

COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

REFERENCES ;

1. Town and County Government in Illinois, J. A. Fairlie, in Re-

port Joint Legislative Committee, 47th General Assembly, Vol.
II, pp. 76-132. This is by far the most thorough report on
this subject. Get from Secretary of State, Springfield.

2. Annals American Academy, May 1913, is devoted entirely to

county government and is very valuable.

3. Greene: Government of Illinois, pp. 95-99.

Local government is " neighborhood government," or
" home rule." The county, city, village, township, sani-
tary, school, and park districts are the local governments
in Illinois and perform the duties of social, or community,
service.

The county is the largest local government within the
State, and touches the lives of the greatest number of peo-
ple. Illinois has 102 counties, ranging in area from less
than 200 to over 1,000 square miles, and in population from
1,000 to over 2,400,000. The principal work of the
county in Illinois is to

(1) Levy and collect taxes.

(2) Administer justice.

(3) Have charge of the local charity service.

(4) Have charge of elections.

See American Republic, pp. 163-165. How many of
the officers there named does your county have? (Write

6s



66 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

your county clerk for a copy of the county budget, or ap-
propriation bill, to answer this question.)

County Boards. County boards in Illinois are of
three types : A board of three commissioners elected at
large in the seventeen counties not under township organi-
zation ; a board of supervisors, elected one from each town,
in the eighty- four counties under township organization;
a board of fifteen commissioners in Cook County, ten
elected from Chicago and five from the rest of the county.
The boards of supervisors are frequently too large for
efficient government, LaSalle County, for instance, having
over fifty members.

" Non-Township " Counties. There are seventeen
non-township counties now in Illinois. They are generally
small in area and are in the southern part of the State.
The list includes Alexander, Calhoun, Cass, Edwards,
Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Menard, Monroe, Morgan,
Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Scot, Union, and Wabash.
In 1907, two counties, Henderson and Williamson, adopted
township government by popular vote. These seventeen
counties elect three county commissioners for a term of
three years, one being chosen each year. This board of
commissioners is the chief executive and legislative author-
ity in the county, holding five regular meetings each year
to transact all county business. These " non-township "
counties are divided into precincts for election purposes
and road districts for highway purposes.

County government in Illinois shares the faults of such
government throughout the United States, and is too often
a " tax-eater " without showing commensurate benefits.
It is " like a big touring-car with the engine going, the
clutch on, but no driver in the front seat" A " driver "



COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS 67

is too often found in the county boss who distributes the
county patronage. Complete relief can only come through
amending the State constitution.

Three things need to be secured to make county govern-
ment more efficient in Illinois :

A. Unity of organization (fewer officers).

B. Administration by experts.

C. Simplicity of citizenship through a shorter ballot.
(Elect fewer officers on one ballot.)

" You can not get good service from a public servant
if you can not see him, and there is no more effective way to
hide him than by mixing him up with a multitude of others
so that they are none of them important enough to catch
the eye of the average work-a-day citizen." Roosevelt's
Columbus Speech, 1912.

Study the duties of the executive and judicial officers of
the county through those of Cook County. Are any of
these officers omitted in your county? About eight coun-
ties outside of Cook have a separate probate judge. Half
a dozen counties, notably Adams and Sangamon, have a
special juvenile court and a separate juvenile detention
home.

The usual county officers are the county board, sheriff,
coroner, county clerk, treasurer (who also acts as asses-
sor in the non-township counties), superintendent of
schools, State's attorney, county surveyor, county judge,
clerk of the circuit court, wh6 also acts as recorder unless
a county has more than 60,000 population, when a recorder
of deeds is elected. In each county outside of Cook there
are elected from nine to thirteen officers.



68 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

COOK COUNTY

Early History. Cook County was organized by act
of the General Assembly, January 15, 1831, in the " winter
of the deep snow," and included the present counties of
Lake, Dupage, Cook, and Will.

The county was named in honor of Daniel P. Cook,
formerly Illinois representative in Congress. The little
town of Chicago, not yet incorporated, was made the county
seat. In June of the same year the Legislature granted
the new county twenty- four canal lots containing land which
had been given to Illinois by the United States to encour-
age the construction of a canal to connect the Great Lakes
and the Mississippi. Part of these lots were sold to defray
the current expenses of the new county, but eight lots were
set aside for a public square to be always used for govern-
ment buildings. This square is now the site of the Court
House and City Hall and was originally a gift to the new
county from Illinois. On this block of land was erected
the first public structure, called the " Estray Pen," a small
wooden, roofless enclosure, the first " pound." See Gov-
ernmental History of Chicago, by Hugo S. Grosser.

In the autumn of 1835 the first court house was built
on the Clark and Randolph Street corner of this public
square. It was a small one-story brick building with a base-
ment in which were the county offices, while the court
room, seating two hundred persons, occupied the floor
above. That insignificant brick building, contrasted with
the present five-million-dollar court house on the same site,
is a symbol of the growth of Cook County in eight decades.

Area and Population. The area of Cook County is
over 1,000 square miles. It ranks third in Illinois in size







Prepar
CMICA6O BUREAU OF PUBLIC
J3I3



See Appendix D, p. 225, note I, ch. III.



70 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

(McLean and LaSalle are larger), although first in popu-
lation. The population of the county, outside of Chicago,
is about 200,000. Chicago has now over 2,400,000 in-
habitants.

Townships in Cook County. There are thirty-seven
townships in Cook County, eight of these lying wholly
within Chicago and their town governments since 1903
have been largely merged in the city. There are also sev-
eral consolidated townships like " Town of the City of
Evanston," which was formed, 1916, by vote of the county
board from parts of Niles, New Trier, and Evanston.
Consult ch. iii on Toivns and Tozvnships.

GOVERNMENT OF COOK COUNTY

Study the Chart of the Government of Cook County,
p. 87, in connection with this chapter.

County Board, (i) The county board of Cook County
consists of fifteen commissioners, ten elected from Chicago
by the voters of the city and five from the county outside
of Chicago. The voters choose at the same election a presi-
dent of the county board who must also be elected as a
commissioner. This officer must be voted for twice, once
for commissioner and again for president of the board
(Act of 1893). The appointments of the president of the
board must be confirmed by the. commissioners except three
civil-service commissioners, who are named by the president
alone. The board must let all contracts for work to be
done, after advertising for bids, to the lowest responsible
bidders. As these county contracts involve millions of dol-
lars, this is a wise precaution.

TERM. The term of office of Cook County commis-



COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS 71

sioners is now four years beginning with the first Monday
in December, 1914, when the new board took office. (Act
General Assembly, 1913.)

DUTIES. The principal work of the board is connected
with the annual budget, which must be passed by March
ist each year. The board is divided into standing commit-
tees named by the president, and their titles show their
duties : public service, finance, roads and bridges, legisla-
tion, building, and civil service. The deputy comptroller
of the county acts as clerk of the board at all its meetings
and is responsible for the minutes or records. The powers
of the Cook County board are very exactly stated in the
Revised Statutes, ch. xxxiv, art. 62.

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS. The president of the county
board presides at all meetings but casts only his regular
vote as a commissioner. There is no way to settle a tie
except by reballoting. He appoints the warden of the
county hospital; superintendent of the poor (house and
tuberculosis hospital at Oak Forest ; three civil-service com-
missioners ; 1 the county agent, who administers all outdoor
relief and any special help needed by old soldiers and sailors
or their families; superintendent of the Juvenile Detention
Home, who has always been a woman, although the law
does not require it; superintendent of public service, who
buys all supplies for the county offices and institutions;
county attorney, who acts as legal adviser for the board
and represents the county whenever suits are brought
against it ; county architect, who draws the plans and over-
sees the erection of all buildings owned by the county.

1 Cook County had the first woman civil-service commissioner in
Illinois, Miss Anna E. Nicholes, appointed by President McCormick,
February I, 1913. (2)



72 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

Any appropriation of money over five hundred dollars
must be passed by a two-thirds vote, (10) of the board.
The president has the right to veto any item he chooses in
the annual appropriation bill, and such items can only be
restored to the budget by twelve votes, or four-fifths of the
board. In the hands of a vigorous president this power
is capable of doing much good in defeating " salary grabs
and pay-roll padding " on the part of a corrupt majority
of the board members.

The Cook County budget for 1913 had about nine hun-
dred items vetoed by President A. A. McCormick, the larg-
est use of the veto power ever made by a Cook County presi-
dent.

The budget as finally adopted carried appropriations for
more than $15,295,000 for 1913. Any governing body
that has the legal right to spend over $i5,ooo,ooo 2 of
public money in one year 1913 ought to be well
known, carefully chosen, and diligently watched by every
citizen.

Sheriff. The sheriff is the arm of the judge, or
" court messenger," because he carries out the orders of
the judge. He sells property for debt; takes a prisoner
to jail, or hangs him, if the judge so orders. To help keep
peace in the county, the sheriff appoints deputies (in 1916,
28, and 128 bailiffs, similar to special policemen, to serve in
the courts), but he is responsible for their acts. He ap-
points the jailer of the county jail and is responsible for
the care and safe-keeping of its prisoners. By act of
Legislature, 1905, if a person in the custody of the sheriff
is lynched, the governor shall remove the sheriff from
office.

2 Cook County appropriation bill, 1913, p. n, total appropriations. (3)



COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS 73

The contract for feeding the prisoners in the jail is now
let by the superintendent of public service to the lowest
reliable bidder and costs Cook County, this year, $30,000.
Formerly the sheriff was paid twenty-five cents per day
for feeding each prisoner and had all he could make.
The office of sheriff was then a fee office and worth from
$75,000 to $100,000 a year, one of the " richest plums on
the county political tree." Since 1909 a salary of $9,960
has been given the sheriff and the fees are now paid into
the county treasury. Why is this a better arrangement?
The sheriff and county treasurer can not be reflected. Why ?

County Clerk. The county clerk holds three offices
because of his election to the office of county clerk. He is
ex-officio comptroller and must make all estimates of ex-
penses for every department of the county government;
is clerk of the county court and responsible for its records
although he does none of this work personally; keeps all
important county papers and the county seal; issues mar-
riage licenses; issues hunting licenses for the state. For
his work on the taxes, see ch. v, pp. 97-98. He maintains
three separate offices to perform these varied duties as
county clerk, comptroller, and clerk of the county court,
and employs several hundred men and women, none of
whom is under civil-service rules. Only a few of the more
experienced employees are appointed strictly because of
efficiency.

County Treasurer, who is ex-officio county collector.
He pays out as well as receives all county funds, on the
warrant of the county comptroller. His bond hereafter is
not to be less than $3,000,000, but in justice to the treas-
urer, the expense of carrying such a heavy bond is to be
borne by the county. Formerly one of the unsolved puz-



74 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

zles in Cook County government was the amount the treas-
urer received for his services as county collector for delin-
quent taxes. The law provided an utterly inadequate salary
for the office and allowed a certain percentage of the delin-
quent tax collections for the various towns in the county.
The legislature of 1915 amended the law by providing a
fixed salary of $9,960 for the treasurer and hereafter all
fees and percentages received from this office must be paid
to the county.

The law also allowed the treasurer to pocket all the in-
terest paid by the various banks on the county funds de-
posited with them. The exact amount was unknown, as the
treasurer always insisted the interest agreement was a pri-
vate matter between the banks and himself. Here also the
statute has been amended and now all such interest on pub-
lic funds will belong to the county in simple justice to the
taxpayers.

- Coroner. 3 If a person is found dead under any sus-
picious circumstances, or there is no physician's certificate
stating cause of death, then the coroner, or his deputy,
must investigate. A jury of six persons is summoned and
an inquest is held by examining witnesses to determine the
cause of death. If evidence of crime is disclosed, a war-
rant for the suspected person is sworn out by the State's
attorney. Arrest, indictment by the grand jury, and the
trial may follow, if such suspected person can be found.
The coroner is the only person who can arrest the sheriff,
and he acts as sheriff if the latter at any time is unable to
serve.

3 American Republic, p. 162.



COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS 75

The two offices are the oldest in the entire county, and
date back to the English " shire reeve " and " crowner,"
the king's personal representatives in the shire, or county.

Recorder. All deeds and mortgages must be re-
corded at the county seat. In Cook County a special offi-
cer is elected for this work, but in most counties the county
clerk is ex-officio recorder of deeds. The county and
State must know who owns every parcel of land within its
borders, and whether there is a mortgage on it. Why is
this necessary ? How does such a record protect the owner
as well as the county and State ?

Superintendent of Schools. For the duties of this of-
ficer, see chapter on Public Education, p. 168. He is par-
ticularly required to supervise and assist the rural schools.
Beginning September 1913, the Cook County superintend-
ent has appointed five rural directors, each one to have
charge of the country schools in his district comprising the
different townships in the county. These directors are
to oversee the teaching of agriculture in the country
schools; to encourage the wider use of the schoolhouse as
a social center, and direct the forming of corn clubs, vege-
table-canning, fruit- and chicken-raising clubs among the
boys and girls. This movement to help the country school
educate the country boy and girl for the farm life, not
away from it, is one of the hopeful signs of the growth of
practical education in Cook County rural schools.

Surveyor. Whenever necessary, the surveyor deter-
mines the right boundaries of property by a survey. He
is paid by fees. Why elect such a petty officer ? His name
only encumbers the ballot.

State's Attorney. The State's attorney, elected for
four years at the general election in November, is the pub-



;6 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

lie prosecutor and legal representative of Illinois in Cook
County. His office is of great importance because he must
prosecute all offenders indicted by the grand jury if they
are ever punished. If the State's attorney is weak or dis-
honest, the county will lack protection against law-break-
ers. A faithful State's attorney is a terror to criminals.
He appoints his own assistants, at present about forty
and unfortunately often uses this power to reward political
friends, and the administration of justice in the county
often suffers from lack of able legal service. Should the
State's attorney fail to do his duty, any one of the judges
may name a special State's attorney and grand jury to in-
vestigate and prosecute any case. Such a special attorney
and grand jury were named by one of the circuit judges
(July, 1913) to investigate charges of fraud in the general
election of November 5, 1912. Indictments resulted. A
general election is one where any State officer is elected.

STATE COURTS IN COOK COUNTY

There is a circuit, superior, appellate, criminal, and
juvenile court in Cook County, all of which are State
courts, but serving that county alone. There are thirty-
eight circuit and superior judges elected in the county, any
one of whom may hold court. The number of judges de-
pends on the Legislature, which also fixes their salaries;
for Cook County, $10,000 (4), half to be paid by the State,
half by the county.

The circuit judges are all elected the first Monday in
June, the superior judges at different times. The term
of both is six years. The jurisdiction of each court in-
cludes civil and criminal actions, and cases appealed from



OUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS 77



the justice, county, and municipal courts. The judges
themselves select certain of their number to sit in the crim-
inal court and one judge to preside over the juvenile court,


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Online LibraryMary Louise ChildsActual government in Illinois → online text (page 5 of 16)