Pike County Courthouse
Pike County Courthouse, Pittsfield, IL 62363, (217) 285-6812
Birth Records available from December 1877 to 1920
Death Records available from 1877 to March 1934
Marriage Records available from June 1827 to ??
Marriage Certificates began in 1831
Pike County was first organized January 31, 1821 and the first county seat was in Coles' Grove, which is now Gilead in Calhoun County where the first term of the Circuit Court was held on October 1, 1821. A legislative act redefined the county boundaries in 1823 and the county seat was moved to Atlas. The change of county seats was contested by the citizens of Coles Grove but a court decision made it valid and in 1824 the records were moved from Coles' Grove to Atlas. In 1832 the legislature authorized another location change to bring the county seat to a more central location within the county and in 1833 it was moved to its present site of Pittsfield.
The first courthouse was built in Atlas in 1824 and replaced the rented rooms previously used for the county offices and meeting place of the county commissioners court. Its dimensions were sixteen by eighteen feet and it was constructed entirely of pegged logs. In September 1829, a second courthouse was built in Atlas as a two-story frame structure costing the county $642.28.
In 1833, when the county seat moved to Pittsfield a new building was erected. It was a two-story frame house that cost just over $1,000. In 1839, yet another courthouse was built at a cost of $15,000. This latest building served the needs of the county until 1894 when the present courthouse was completed.
Prominent people connected with the Pike County Courts include:
Abraham Lincoln who practiced as a lawyer in the Pike County Courts and on October 1, 1858 he delivered an address to a large crowd. The spot is now marked by a boulder in the Court Yard.
Thomas Ford and Richard Yates also practiced law in Pike County and both later became Governor of Illinois.
Governor John Reynolds and Senator Stephen A. Douglas sat as Circuit Judge in Pike County Court.
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Last article added: 10/24/10