In Knoxville, they selected the southwest 28, 11 north, 2 east, as the permanent
seat of government of the count, and passed a resolution to the effect that a
suitable person be selected to proceed to Springfield, Ill., and pre-empt the
same. Rees Jones offered to go for $8, which was the lowest bid, and on his
giving bonds for the faithful performance of the duties required of him, was
given the contract. They also contracted with Parnach Owens for laying out
the town to be the County Seat, which they called Henderson, but by an act
of the Legislature, in 1833, it was changed to Knoxville. Mr. Owens was to
lay the town off in lots of 1/4 acre each, and was to receive as his compensation
for same the sum of 12 and 1/2 cents for each lot so laid off and staked, and was
to take his pay in lots.
The first sale of lots was April 23rd, 1831, at public auction; 79 lots were sold,
ranging from $2 to $61, and averaging $15.90 apiece. On the 7th of November, 1836,
the value of property had so risen that the lot on which the jail now stands and
extending south to the corner, with one-eight reserved for county purposes, was
sold for $3,911. John Eads, Esq., gave $2,500 for the lot on which his store now
stands. The first court house was built in the winter of 1830-31, by William Lewis,
Parnach Owens and Andrew Osborn, contractors. It was two stories high, 20x28, built
of hewn logs, and cost, complete, $197.
The Old Knox County Courthouse, second courthouse, was built in 1839 and used until
the county seat was moved to Galesburg in 1873. Now, the Knox County Museum, located
within the courthouse, depicts life as it was in the 1800's with the desk used by
Stephen Douglas and a buggy used by Lincoln. Downstairs you'll find the largest museum
collection of Abingdon pottery in the United States.
In Galesburg, the Knox County Courthouse is located between Tompkins and South Streets,
facing east onto Cherry Street. It was officially completed with a public reception on
January 26, 1887. The building is constructed entirely of "solid masonry with iron beams"
and an exterior of Cleveland limestone. The total cost of the facility, including all
furnishings and land, was $156,261.