in Hamilton Co., IL in 1842
by Harold G. Felty

From: Goshen Trails, April 1982
Printed by permission

          Seven former subjects of Leopold, Duchy of Baden, Germany, who were not citizens of the United States, voted in the general election, August 1, 1842, of state and county officers in Hamilton County.  They are listed in the Poll Book of an "election held at the house of Redrick Ralls in Crouch precinque."1

         It was legal for the Germans and other non-citizens of the United States to vote in Illinois.  Out of the shadowy mists of time, voting for political and military leaders has evolved from a granted privilege to a Constitutional "right.".  Shortly after the Declaration of Independence, most of the thirteen States adopted Constitutions that continued restrictive qualifications for voting, such as church membership, ownership of land, payment of taxes, etc.  The new, western States, in their struggle for settlers, most of whom had to come from or through the older State, liberalized qualifications for voting; and Illinois was one of the most openhanded.  The Constitutions of Illinois, 1818, provided that "In all elections, all white male inhabitants above the age of twenty-one years, having resided in the state six months next preceding the election, shall enjoy the right of an elector; but no person shall be entitled to vote except in the county or district in which he shall actually resides at the time of the election."  No mention of citizenship, church membership, or payment of taxes was included--just be a white male, above twenty-one years of age and live in the state six months.

          On March 25, 1845, nine former subjects of Leopold, Duchy of Baden, filed Declarations of Intention to become citizens of the United States with the Clerk of the Court of Hamilton County.2  Seven of them had entered the port of New York in June, 1841, and voted in Crouch Precinct in August, 1842.  Their names and dates of birth are given as written in the Declaration of Intention.  The spelling of the clerk of the election is in parenthesis.

ANSELMENT, Urban; 1815 (Ervin Ansylman) (Oncelman in election, Aug., 1844)

AYD, Charles Williams; 1807 (Charles W. Ide.)

AYD, John K.; 1800 (John K. Ide) (John J. Ide and John L. Ide voted in the same election and precinct).

ESWIN, Albert; 1812 (Albert Eswine).

HALLER, Joseph Leopold; 1801 (Joseph Haler).

KAUFMAN, Mathias; 1801 (Mithias Caughman) (Coffman in election, Aug. 1844). (Anthony Caughman voted in the same election and precinct).

ZACHMAN, Marzell; 1808 (Marsel Zackman).

The other two men filing a Declaration of Intention, March 25, 1845, had entered the Port of New Orleans in April, 1843.  They were:

RUBENAKER, Ignatz; 1800 (Ignatus Rupenaker in the election, Aug., 1844)
KARCHER, Solomon; 1810

1. Hamilton County Archives, Court House
2. Ibid.

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