Knox County Courthouse History
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.