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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > About Indiana - History and Trivia > Explore Indiana History by Topic > Indiana Documents Leading to Statehood > The State Capital Act, 1813 The State Capital Act, 1813

After Illinois was cut off from Indiana Territory in 1809 Vincennes ceased to be central in relation to the area it served as a capital. Lawrenceburg, Vevay, Madison, Corydon, Salem, and Jeffersonville sought the honor. No action was taken while Harrison was Governor since he preferred Vincennes. In 1813, with John Gibson as acting Governor, the Assembly took up the matter. The House of Representatives favored Madison but the Council would not agree and Corydon was chosen in conference. The act which was dated March 11, 1813, was to be effective by May 1, 1813. (26)

An ACT to remove the Seat of Government from the town of Vincennes to the town of Corydon, in the county of Harrison.

1. BE it enacted by the Legislative Council and House of Representatives, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That from and after the first day of May next, the seat of government of the Indiana territory shall be, and the same is hereby fixed and established in the town of Corydon, in the county of Harrison, and the said seat of government shall be and remain in the said town of Corydon, until altered by law; and it shall be the duty of all officers and all other persons in any way concerned in administering the government of the said territory, and all persons whose duty it is to be at the seat of government of the said territory, or whose functions are or ought to be exercised at the said seat of government, to remove the books, records, papers and proceedings of whatsoever nature or kind they may be, in any wise relating to their offices to the said town of Corydon, in the said county of Harrison, on or before the said first day of May next, and it shall be the duty of all the said officers, and all persons whose duty it is to be and attend at the seat of government to be and attend at the said town of Corydon, in the county of Harrison, from and after the said first day of May next, then and there to attend to, perform, and do whatsoever to their said offices doth belong or in any wise concerned are hereby required to govern themselves accordingly.

2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Judges of the General court of the said territory, and they are hereby authorized and required to hold the first term of the said court after the passage of this act at the town of Vincennes, in the county of Knox as heretofore, on the first Tuesday of April next, and the second term of the said General court, after the passage of this act shall be held, and the said Judges are hereby authorized and required to hold the same in the said town of Corydon, in the said county of Harrison, and the said Judges shall continue to hold the said court on the several days which are or may be fixed by law for holding the said courts, and the said town of Corydon, in the said county of Harrison, shall be, and the same is hereby declared to be the place of holding the said General court until altered by law; and all actions, suits, pleas, plaints and causes now depending in the said court, which by the existing laws are required to be tried and decided in the said General court, shall be, and the same are hereby removed from and after the said first day of May next, to the said town of Corydon, in as full, complete and ample a manner as if the said actions, suits, pleas, plaints and causes had been originally brought in the said county of Harrison, and all actions, suits, pleas, plaints and causes had been originally brought in the said county of Harrison; and all actions, suits, pleas, plaints and causes which are now depending in the said court, and which by the existing laws may be tried in the Circuit court, shall be tried in the Circuit court of the county of Knox, which shall be held in the said county, when, and at such times as may or shall be regulated and established by law; and it shall be the duty of the Clerk of the said General court to remove, or cause to be removed all records, books, papers and proceedings of whatsoever kind they may be, in any wise relating to any of the actions, suits, pleas, plaints or causes by this act removed to the said town of Corydon on or before the said first day of May next; and it shall be the further duty of the said Clerk, from and after the said first day of May next, to be and attend at the town of Corydon aforesaid, then and there to do, attend to, and perform whatsoever to his said office may or doth belong, or in any wise appertain.

3. And be it further enacted, That if any officer or other person in any wise concerned in administering the government, or the Clerk of the General court, or any other person whose duty it is made by the provisions of this act to remove, or cause to be removed any books, papers, records or other documents or proceedings to the said town of Corydon, or if any person or persons, officer or officers, who are by this act required to be and attend at the said town of Corydon, shall neglect or refuse to do and perform the duties required of them by this act, the person or persons so offending shall each and every of them be fined in a sum not less than one hundred, nor more than twelve hundred dollars, to be recovered by indictment before any court of record for the use of the territory.

4. And be it further enacted, That any expense necessarily incurred by any officer in removing the books, papers, records and proceedings pertaining to his said office from Vincennes to the said town of Corydon, agreeably to the requisitions of this act shall be paid out of the territorial treasury; and the governor of this territory is hereby authorized and empowered to order our any number of milita that he may deem necessary for the more safe conveyance of any books, papers, or other thing by this act made necessary to be conveyed to the said town of Corydon.

JAMES DILL,

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

JAs. BEGGS,

President of the Legislative Council.

Approved-March 11, 1813.

JOHN GIBSON.

(26) Louis B. Ewbank and Dorothy L. Riker (eds.), The Laws of Indiana Territory, 1809-1816 (Indiana Historical Collections, XX, Indianapolis, 1934), 335-338; Logan Esarey, A History of Indiana (2 volumes, Fort Wayne, 1924), I, 239-242.