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Illinois Wesleyan's "Birth Certificate" also known as the "Watson copy"
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TitleIllinois Wesleyan's "Birth Certificate" also known as the "Watson copy"
Description
The "birth certificate" of IWU is said to be in the handwriting of the Rev. James F. Jacquess (1819-98), one of the best educated men of his time, and signed by the thirty Founders on September 23, 1850, just seven months after the City of Bloomington was chartered by the State of Illinois.

Originally envisioned as the McLean Collegiate Institute, the name of the institution was changed to Illinois University in July 1850, and nine Trustees were selected. The name "Wesleyan, " in honor of the founder of Methodism, was inserted in a different hand later, after the Illinois Conference of the church voted to accept patronage of the new institution. It was at that time that the number of Trustees was increased to thirty members.
A transcription of the document, created by historian Elmo Scott Watson, author of The Illinois Wesleyan Story, 1850-1950 is available below.

ILLINOIS WESLEYAN'S "BIRTH CERTIFICATE"

TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Be it known that at the city of Bloomington in the county of McLean
and State of Illinois, on the Twenty-Third day of September A.D. One
thousand eight hundred and fifty, we the undersigned James C. Finley,
James Miller, James Allin, John E. McClun, John Magoun, William C.
Hobbs, Thomas Magee, Charles P. Merriman, Ezekiel Thomas, Thomas P.
Rogers, Linus Graves, Peter Cartwright, James F. Jaquess, William J.
Rutledge, Calvin W. Lewis, James Leaton, John Van Cleve, Silas Watters,
Isaac Funk, David Trimmer, John S. Barger, C. M. Holliday, W. D.
R. Trotter, W. H. Allin, William Wallace, W. H. Holmes, J. W. Ewing,
Lewis Bunn, Kersey H. Fell, Reuben Andrus, of the state aforesaid, do
and hereby have associated ourselves together as Trustees and a body
corporate for the purpose of permanently establishing at or near said
city of Bloomington, in the county aforesaid, an Institution of learning of
Collegiate grade in accordance with the provisions of an act of the General
Assembly of the State of Illinois, entitled an "Act for the Incorporation
of Institutions of learning, " approved January Twenty Sixth A.D.
One thousand eight hundred and forty nine. And we do hereby make
known and declare that the said Institution of learning hereby established
shall be known in law and equity or otherwise by the name and style of

ILLINOIS WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY

And we do further make known and declare that the said Institution of
learning shall be under the direction and supervision of Thirty Trustees
and that the undersigned James C. Finley, James Miller, James Allin, John
E. McClun, John Magoun, William C. Hobbs, Thomas Magee, Charles
P. Merriman, Ezekiel Thomas, Thomas P. Rogers, Linus Graves, Peter
Cartwright, James F. Jaquess, William J. Rutledge, Calvin W. Lewis,
James Leaton, John Van Cleve, Silas Watters, Isaac Funk, David Trimmer,
John S. Barger, C. M. Holliday, W. D. R. Trotter, W. H. Allin,
Wm. Wallace, W. H. Holmes, J. W. Ewing, Lewis Bunn, Kersey H. Fell,
Reuben Andrus shall constitute such Trustees for the time being and until
they shall be succeeded in manner hereinafter provided. And we do
further make known and declare that the said Institution of learning shall
be of the rank and order of a College or University, and that the branches
of Literature and Science proposed to be taught in said Institution are
the Ancient and Modern Langnages, Biblical Criticism and Ecclesiastical
History, Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, Mental and Moral Science,
Belles Lettres, English Literature and Normal Instruction, Natural
Science, Law and Political Economy, and such other branches of Literature
and Science as in Collegiate Institutions usually belong to the several
Professorships hereinafter provided. And we do further make known
and declare that the Officers of said Institution shall be a President, a
Professor of Ancient Languages, a Professor of Modern Languages, a
Professor of Hebrew and Biblical Criticism and Ecclesiastical History, a
Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, a Professor of Mental
and Moral Science, and Belles Lettres, a Professor of English Literature
and Normal Instruction, a Professor of Natural Science, a Professor of
Law and Political Economy, a Principal of the preparatory department,
and such adjunct professors and tutors as the Trustees may from time to
time elect.

And we do hereby make known and declare that the Trustees, aforesaid,
at this first meeting after the filing of this their declaration in the
Office of the Secretary of State, at Springfield, and in the Office of Recorder
of Deeds and Mortgages, in the county of McLean, aforesaid; according
to the provisions of the Act of the General Assembly aforesaid,
shall by lot divide themselves into three classes of Ten Trustees, each;
that is to say a first class, being Ten of said Trustees, a Second class,
being Ten other of said Trustees, and a third class, being Ten others
of said Trustees, shall be one year from and after the day of such classification,
and that the term of Office of said Second Class Trustees shall be
two years from and after the day of such Classification, and that the term
of Office of said Third class of Trustees shall be three years from and after
the day of such Classification.

And that at the expiration of the term of Office of any of said
Classes, the remaining Trustees, then in Office, or a majority of them,
shall elect Trustees equal in number to the outgoing Trustees, and who
shall hold their office for three years, from and after their election and
until their successors shall be elected and qualified. Provided always, that
any person or persons who may have been or shall be a trustee of said
Institution shall be eligible tore-election. And at the expiration of the
term of Office of any ten of said trustees, the remaining Trustees in
Office, or a majority of them, shall elect the same number as such outgoing
trustees, and all trustees so elected shall hold their Offices for
three years from and after their election, and until their successors shall
be elected. Provided, always, that if at any time a vacancy should occur
in said board of Trustees by removal, death, resignation, or other cause
of one or more of said trustees such vacancy or vacancies shall be supplied
by the remaining board of Trustees or a majority of them appointing a
person or persons to fill such vacancy or vacancies, Provided the person or
persons so appointed to fill such vacancy or vacancies shall by such appointment
only hold said office for the unexpired term of the person or
persons whose vacancy he or they were appointed to fill. And we hereby
make known and declare that the said Trustees and their successors in
office will from time to time make such by-laws not inconsistent with the constitution of this State, and of the United States, as we may deem necessary for the Government of said Institution of learning.

IN TESTIMONY THEREOF WE THE SAID James C. Finley,
James Miller, James Allin, John E. McCIun, John Magoun, William C.
Hobbs, Thomas Magee, Charles P. Merriman, Ezekiel Thomas, Thomas
P. Rogers, Linus Graves, Peter Cartwright, James F. Jaquess, William J.
Rutledge, Calvin W. Lewis, James Leaton, John Van Cleve, Silas Watters,
Isaac Funk, David Trimmer, John S. Barger, C. M. Holliday, W. D.
R. Trotter, W. H. Allin, William Wallace, W. H. Holmes, J. W. Ewing,
Lewis Bunn, Kersey H. Fell, Reuben Andrus have at the city of Bloomington,
in the county of McLean and State of Illinois, on the Twenty-Third
day of September A.D. One thousand eight hundred and fifty,
hereto subscribed our names and affixed our seals.

Peter Cartwright Wm. Wallace
C. W. Lewis Chas. P. Merriman
J. C. Finley James Miller
John S. Barger William H. Holmes
James Leaton Linus Graves
John Van Cleve Thos. P. Rogers
James F. Jaquess John W. Ewing
Wm. J. Rutledge Lewis Bunn
C. M. Holliday E. Thomas
W. D. R. Trotter Isaac Funk
W. H. Allin James Allin
W. C. Hobbs D. Trimmer
J. E. McClun Kersey H. Fell
John Magoun Silas Watters
Thomas Magee Reuben Andrus
State of Illinois }
McLean County } ss.

I, W. H. Allin, Clerk of the Circuit Court in and for the County
aforesaid do certify that Peter Cartwright, C. W. Lewis, J. C. Finley, John
S. Barger, James Leaton, John Van Cleve, James F. Jaquess, Wm. J.
Rutledge, C. M. Holliday, W. D. R. Trotter, W. H. Allin, W. C. Hobbs,
John E. McCIun, John Magoun, Thomas Magee, Wm. Wallace, Chas. P.
Merriman, James Miller, William H. Holmes, Linus Graves, Thos. P.
Rogers, John W. Ewing, Lewis Bunn, E. Thomas, Isaac Funk, James
Allin, D. Trimmer, Kersey H. Fell, Silas Watters, and Reuben Andrus
who are the identical persons whose names appear subscribed to the written
and foregoing instrument of writing appeared before me and acknowledged
that they had signed the said instrument of writing freely and voluntarily
for the purposes therein expressed.

Witness my hand and the Seal of Said Court at Bloomington

the 3rd day of December A.D. 1850

W. H. Allin Clerk

Author's Note: The original manuscript of this document, consisting
of six pages 7J1, by 12 inches in size, is preserved in the Illinois Wesleyan
archives. A close study of it reveals some curious facts. Internal evidence
strongly indicates that it is in the handwriting of the scholarly James F.
Jaquess. In giving the name of the institution he wrote it "Illinois University"
but later the word "Wesleyan" (in different handwriting) was
inserted just above and between "Illinois" and "University."
In the list of names (which appear three times in the body of the
document) four names, besides those of the 30 signers, occur all three
times but were subsequently crossed out. They were Peter Akers, John
J. McGraw, John Moore and Wiley Renshaw. In the list of signers at
the bottom of the document, Barger's name appears twice, the second
time between the names of Miller and Holmes where it was subsequently
crossed out. Some interesting variations in spelling several of the names
also occur which reflects a common practice of that era. In the body
of the document Holliday's name is spelled with only one "I" and Watters'
name with only one "t." In his certification William H. Allin also
drops a "t" from Watters; writes Van Cleve's name as one word, "Vancleve";
spells Jaquess' name "Jaques"; Magee's name as "Maghee" and
Merriman as "Merryman."

SubjectCharters
Birth certificates
Universities & colleges
CreatorIWU Founders
PublisherThe Ames Library, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington Illinois, 61701.
Date.Original1850-12-03
Date.Digital2011-08-04
Format.Originalmanuscript
Format.Digital.pdf
Type.OriginalText
Type.DigitalText
Record Group1-1/1 : IWU Charters
Languageeng
RightsIllinois Wesleyan University retains the rights to this material. Permission to reproduce these images must be granted by IWU. Contact archives@titan.iwu.edu or 309-556-1535 for more information
Digitization SpecificationsScanned as 600 dpi tifs and downsized for Web access using Epson 3170 with ScanPro v.3 and AdobeAcrobat 8.
Collection NameIWU Historical Collections (Illinois Wesleyan University)
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