The Courts

Courts at the city, county, regional, state, and federal levels heard cases involving St. Clair’s residents.

Cases ranged from childhood guardianship appointments, divorce, and indigent care, to naturalization and criminal cases, for example.

In the county’s formative years, the county commissioners/board of supervisors created and named new townships, approved ferry rates, and changed the boundaries of road districts. Judges of the local court heard cases about vagabonds, limited criminal offenses, and legal disputes involving monetary damages under the legal limit, for example.¹ The County Courts created during the territorial period lasted until 1964.² Read about the various courts and records each kept at the Illinois Regional Archives Depository website.

 

 

On our websites

  • The Circuit Court index 1819-1840 in addition to 13 sample cases and a contemporary legal dictionary.
  • Declaration and Naturalization papers for the four (4) courts that handled this process – a guide through the labyrinth.
  • Declaration Record of the County Court, St. Clair County, Illinois 1864-1906 (on member site)

 

 

In the Quarterly

Use the site search to identify article titles with words or part of a word, e.g., as court, divorce, or naturalization. 

For example, these articles appeared:

  • “User’s Guide to Board of Supervisors Proceedings Files, 1819 to circa 1882,” in Quarterly Volume 16 Number 1 (1993).
  • “St. Clair County Circuit Court Case Files Index 1790-1818,” in Quarterly Volume 16 Number 2 (1993).
  • “St. Clair County Territorial County Court Minutes “Index” Record of the Orphan Court 1796-1817,” [a table of contents] in Volume 19 Number 2 (1996).
  • “Probate index 1770s-circa 1960,” [Intestate cases, the majority died without a will] in Quarterly Volume 18 (1993). Includes some guardianships during the 1870s.

 

Books and microfilm

Probated and Unprobated Will Index 1772-1964 is one of several books in our collection at the library, in addition to our microfilm holdings of the original wills, will record, probate case files, and records of miscellaneous courts spanning the county’s existence.

See also the chapter on Courts in St. Clair County Research and Resources: A Genealogist’s Guide and updates on our member site.

 

Offsite – select sites

St. Clair County Circuit Court chancery case file index (1815-1870), courtesy IRAD. This equity court heard cases for divorce, injury, wills, assignment of dower, real and personal property foreclosures, and partitions of real estate.

East St. Louis City Court Naturalization Papers Index (1874–1906), courtesy IRAD.

Cases before the Supreme Court of Illinois in Illinois Reports 1819 to 1831. The Illinois Supreme Court heard cases appealed from the Circuit Court level.


  1. Justice of the Peace,” Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) System, Illinois State Archivesposted 9 May 2018.
  2. County Court,” Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) System, Illinois State Archivesposted 9 May 2018.

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