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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > About Indiana - History and Trivia > Explore Indiana History by Topic > Indiana Documents Leading to Statehood > Act Dividing Indiana Territory, 1809 Act Dividing Indiana Territory, 1809

Congress received a number of petitions from Randolph and St. Clair Counties (in the present state of Illinois) urging a further division of Indiana Territory. (21) As in the earlier case of Wayne County (Michigan) the difficulties of travel and communication were cited, but, in addition, a resentment against Governor Harrison and a dislike of the second stage of territorial government are apparent. (22) Despite counter-petitions from Knox County, the Tenth Congress passed an act dividing Indiana Territory into two separate governments which was approved on February 3, 1809. (23)

AN ACT for dividing the Indiana Territory into two separate Governments.

Be it enacted, &c. That, from and after the first day of March next, all that part of the Indiana Territory which lies west of the Wabash river, and a direct line drawn from the said Wabash river and Post Vincennes, due north to the territorial line between the United States and Canada, shall, for the purpose of temporary government, constitute a separate Territory, and be called Illinois.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That there shall be established within the said Territory a government in all respects similar to that provided by the ordinance of Congress, passed on the thirteenth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, for the government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the river Ohio; and by an act passed on the seventh day of August, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, entitled "An act to provide for the government of the Territory Northwest of the river Ohio;" and the inhabitants thereof shall be entitled to, and enjoy all and singular the rights, privileges, and advantages, granted and secured to the people of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the river Ohio, by the said ordinance.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the officers for the said Territory, who, by virtue of this act, shall be appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall respectively exercise the same powers, perform the same duties, and receive for their services the same compensations as by the ordinance aforesaid, and the laws of the United States, have been provided and established for similar officers in the Indiana Territory. And the duties and emoluments of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs shall be united with those of Governor: Provided, That the President of the United States shall have full power, in the recess of Congress, to appoint and commission all officers herein authorized, and their commissions shall continue in force until the end of the next session of Congress.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That so much of the ordinance for the government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the Ohio river, as relates to the organization of a General Assembly therein, and prescribes the powers thereof, shall be in force, and operate in the Illinois Territory, whenever satisfactory evidence shall be given to the Governor thereof that such is the wish of a majority of the freeholders, notwithstanding there may not be therein five thousand free male inhabitants of the age of twenty-one years and upwards: Provided, That until there shall be five thousand free male inhabitants of twenty-one years and upwards in said Territory, the whole number of representatives to the General Assembly shall not be less than seven, nor more than nine, to be apportioned by the Governor to the several counties in the said Territory, agreeably to the number of free males of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, which they may respectively contain.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed so as in any manner to affect the government now in force in the Indiana Territory, farther than to prohibit the exercise thereof within the Illinois Territory, from and after the aforesaid first day of March next.

Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That all suits, process, and proceedings, which, on the first day of March next, shall be pending in the court of any county which shall be included within the said Territory of Illinois, and also all suits, process, and proceedings, which, on the said first day of March next, shall be pending in the general court of the Indiana Territory, in consequence of any writ of removal, or order for trial at bar, and which had been removed from any of the counties included within the limits of the Territory of Illinois aforesaid, shall, in all things concerning the same, be proceeded on, and judgments and decrees rendered thereon, in the same manner as if the said Indiana Territory had remained undivided.

Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That nothing in this act contained shall be so construed as to prevent the collection of taxes which may, on the first day of March next, be due to the Indiana Territory on lands lying in the said Territory of Illinois.

Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That until it shall be otherwise ordered by the Legislature of the said Illinois Territory, Kaskaskia, on the Mississippi river, shall be the seat of government for the said Illinois Territory.

Approved, February 3, 1809.

(21) Carter (ed.). Territorial Papers, VII, 140-145, 544-554; Jacob P. Dunn, Slavery Petitions and Papers (Indiana Historical Society Publications, Vol. II, No. 12, Indianapolis, 1897), 483-491, 498-506, 510-512.
(22) Carter (ed.). Territorial Papers, VII, 546-548.
(23) Annals of Congress, 10 Cong., 2 Sess., 1808-1810; Acts Passed at the Second Session of the Tenth Congress of the United States, 208-211; U.S. Statutes at Large, II, 514-516; Carter (ed.), Territorial Papers, XVI, 6-8; Kettleborough (ed.), Constitution Making in Indiana, I, 54-56.