Calhoun County Seat



[Note: Delegate McGinnis presented a minority report regarding House Bill No. 77 to the House of Delegates on February 10, 1871.]

The undersigned, one of the members of the Committee on County, Townships and [Municipal] Corporations, to whom was referred a bill, introduced on leave, changing the county seat of Calhoun County from Grantsville to Arnoldsburg and differing with the other members of the committee as to the propriety of the approval of the bill in question, beg leave most respectfully to submit the minority report and ask that the following reasons be considered in connection with the proposed measure. It appears that on the 28th day of October, 1869, a vote of the people of Calhoun County was taken in pursuance of the provisions of the Code, resulting in a vote of 290 for locating the county seat at Grantsville, and 174 for locating the same at Arnoldsburg, the place fixed in the bill reported by the majority. That in pursuance of this vote the Board of Supervisors, declared by ordinance that Gransville should be the permanent county seat on and after the 20th day of November, 1869, and the archieves [sic] of the county have been removed to that place, and the courts have been regularly held there ever since that time. It appears that a court house has been erected at Grantsville, embracing a clerks' office and recorder's office, and the same is now used as such. That no court house has been built, and no house suitable for holding courts at Arnoldsburg has been erected, or is available for that purpose. For these reasons I dissent from a majority of the committee in approving the measure under consideration. It was conceded that there were cast at said election 464 votes of which 290 were for Grantsville and 174 votes were for Arnoldsburg. The committee disregarded this popular expression of the people interested, and propose to locate the county seat to accommodate a minority, and against the unmistakable will of the people. If this bill shall pass, it must be passed in defiance of the wishes of the people of the county and by ignoring one of the most cherished principles of republican rule of the majority.

It was maintained that the election was not a fair one, that about fifty voters in the interest of Arnoldsburg were denied registration, and that there were about fifty knowing their disqualification did not apply for registration.

It appears that the friends of those two rival places for the county seat are distinctly marked out by township lines. That the two townships including Grantsville, only gave nine votes for Arnoldsburg, and that the two townships including Arnoldsburg only gave seven votes for Grantsville.

Thus it appears that those interests separated by township lines were almost unanimous for their favorite places. By an examination of the assessor's books for the year 1870, after the election took place, and was the election nearest to that time of assessment in that year, that both townships favorable to Arnoldsburg and which cast 174 votes for and seven against that place contained [229] male persons over 21 years of age. If all those 229 persons had voted for Arnoldsburg they would still lack 61 votes of reaching the actual number of votes cast for Grantsville. This fact extinguishes all claims to Legislative interference on the alleged grounds of fraud. In the two townships whose inhabitants favor Grantsville there were 344 male persons over 21 years of age for the same year of whom 54 were for some cause denied the right of voting; for out of the 344 only 290 voted. It will be observed that while 54 persons on the one side and 55 on the other, were denied the right of registration in a population so nearly balanced, that no one was prejudiced by fraud, if any existed. From official data it appears that the 464 votes on this question were distributed as follows:

    Grantsville Arnoldsburg.
In Sherman Township 125 9
In Sheridan " 158 10
In Lee " 6 60
In Washington "1 105
    290 174

The whole number of persons assessed with a capitation tax in the entire county was 573 and the whole number of votes cast was 464, leaving 109 not voting, of which 54 were in townships in the interests of Granstville, and 55 of Arnoldsburg. If all the male inhabitants in Washington and Lee townships had voted for Arnoldsburg they would still lack 61 of a majority of the votes cast, and excluding on both sides all the persons not registered, Grantsville had three-fifths of all the votes and 12 in excess. The Legislature is called upon the disregard this expression of the people made in 1869 when profound peace pervaded the whole country, and locate the county seat at a place condemned by more than three-fifths of all the people, which in the opinion of the undersigned would be a perversion of the most sacred principle engrafted into our government, and against which I respectfully and most earnestly protest.



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