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two miles east of the city of Urbana. During the same year, but it is believed a little later in the season, came also William Tompkins, who is believed to have been the first permanent inhabitant of the ground now bearing the name "The City of Urbana!" The latter was at first a "squatter," for not until February 4, 1830, nearly eight years after his settlement thereon did he become the owner of his home lot, which was the west half of the south east quarter of section 8, of the township. His cabin, the first permanent structure erected within the city, was located closely to the south west corner of the tract, about where the rear end of the Courier building now stands.
Other than the standing timber the tract had little to invite its selection as a home and the reason therefor must have been its nearness to a spring of water a few rods to the south west, near the front of the Flat Iron building, but upon another section of land. This spring, from which gushed a copious flow of water, had long been the center of an Indian encampment or village, which extended many rods to the east and to the south west. Here, when Tompkins came, were abundant evidences of Indian occupancy in the numerous bones along the creek and of old corn hills on the adjacent prairie. Hence the name of the creek,-"Bone-Yard Branch."
Tompkins, soon after becoming the owner of his home, sold the same to Isaac Busey, an incoming emigrant from Kentucky, who was not long the only citizen of the site of the future city, for in 1832 came Thomson R. Webber, also from Kentucky, who built a cabin upon the site of the Webber home in the east part of Urbana.
The General Assembly of Illinois, at its session of 1833, established by law the county of Champaign, as it now exists, with the provision that commissioners, who were therein named, should locate the county seat of the new county and that the same should be called "Urbana."
This commission met in the June following and among several proposed locations selected the lands a short distance east of the then Busey home, where the court house now stands and there drove the stake which was to be the county
seat and gave it the legal name of "Urbana." This event marks the first location of that name within this territory.
Lands given to the county to induce the location of the county seat by Isaac Busey, William T. Webber and Col. M. W. Busey were soon thereafter platted around the court house square, received the legal name, and a sale of the same, at auction, was advertised for an early day.
Thomson R. Webber, who was at the first appointed to the clerkship of the Circuit Court and also as clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, built a cabin across the street west of the square and lived upon that lot until driven therefrom by the great fire of October 9, 1871.
The population of the new county at its inception did not exceed 1000 and was probably much less, for the official census of 1835, over two years later showed but 1038 inhabitants.
At this date there were but two post offices in the county, one, Van Buren, four miles to the north east of Urbana, and one, Luddington, two miles north of Homer. Urbana post office was established September 2, 1836, with Thomson R. Webber as postmaster, who held that position for over fourteen years.
The first term of the Circuit Court was held on April 6, 1835. Nothing was done save the appointment of Mr. Webber as clerk, the approval of official bonds and the continuance of the only two cases for want of service. Mr. Webber held this office until succeeded by W. H. Somers in 1857. Hon. James Harlan was presiding Judge.
The General Assembly, at its session of 1855, passed an act chartering the City and an election held on June 2, 1855, chose Hon. Archa Campbell, Mayor and set the municipal government in action.
The following interesting political history of Urbana was furnished by the City Clerk, C. B. Holmes:
By an act of the General Assembly of the state of Illinois, approved on the 14th day of February, 1855, the City of Urbana, Illinois was chartered.
The limits of said city at that time were fixed as follows: Beginning at a point in center of section 9, thence west two miles, thence south one mile, thence east two miles and thence north one mile to beginning.
An election was held at the court-house on the first Monday in April, 1885, "when and where a majority of the legal voters, residing within said limits, voted for incorporation' ".
Section 3 of the chapter of said city provides that "if a majority of the citizens shall vote for incorporation the following named persons, to-wit: William Park, J. W. Jaquith, W. N. Coler, A. G. Carle, Alonzo Lyons, A. M. Whitney, Moses Snelling, or a majority of them, shall meet at the court house on the first Saturday in May and divide said city into wards, appoint three judges of election in each ward and appoint a day of election."
On the 5th day of May, 1855, J. W. Jaquith, W. N. Coler, William Park and A. G. Carle met in the court house and divided the city into three wards, and called an election to be held in said city on the first Saturday in June, 1855, for the election of one mayor and also two aldermen for each of said wards.
At said election Archa Campbell was elected mayor, and for aldermen of the first ward William C. Beck; second ward, John Gere and Daniel Jarvis; third ward, E. Harkness and Jesse D. Jaquith; who were installed" at a meeting of the citizens held at the court house on July 14, 1855," and at a meeting of the council held on said date, the council decided a contest between Mr. Harvey and Mr. F. B. Sale for alderman of the first ward and declared Mr. F. B. Sale elected to said office, and he was duly installed. Said council appointed Mr. S. J. Toy as city clerk.
At a special election duly called and held at the Pennsylvania House in the city of Urbana on the 19th day of April 1873, for the purpose of voting upon the proposition of the adoption by the City of an act entitled, "An Act to Provide for the Incorporation of Cities and Villages, passed by the General Assembly of the State of Illinois, and Approved April 10, 1872.”
The vote for adoption of said act at said election was 350 votes, and against the adoption of said act, 136 votes.
The City Council of the city of Urbana, Illinois at a regular meeting thereof, held on the 21st day of April 1873, upon the canvas and declaring the result of said election, adopted the following resolution :
"Be it resolved by the City Council of the City of Urbana, That we hereby declare said City, from and after this date, April 21, 1873, organized until the General Law of the State of Illinois, for its charter, and the question of minority representation in the City Council, we declare defeated."