The Mattoon Court of Common Pleas Case Files Index was compiled by Jennifer Van Haaften and Amanda Standerfer, interns for the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) System at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. The index includes nearly 500 cases heard by the Common Pleas Court of the City of Mattoon from its inception in 1869 to its termination in 1873. The information in the database was extracted from the Mattoon Court of Common Pleas Case Files (IRAD Accession 5/0110/03).
Each entry found in the index contains the following categories of information: the names of the plaintiff and defendant; the year the case was heard; the file number; and usually the type of case. Names of plaintiffs and defendants were transcribed directly from the case files. Every attempt was made to obtain accurate spellings of names. If the spelling of a name could not be determined from the case jacket, a search of the various case documents was conducted. However, names were often spelled a variety of ways throughout the case documents. It was also sometimes difficult to decipher handwriting in some case files. Therefore, when searching this index, we suggest that researchers check alternative spellings of names if they do not find an entry for the name for which they are searching.
The Common Pleas Court of the City of Mattoon in Coles County was established on February 20, 1869 as a court of civil jurisdiction. The Common Pleas Court was a court of record whose jurisdiction rested within the limits of the City of Mattoon. The court's jurisdiction was concurrent with that of the circuit court of Coles County in all civil common law cases and actions arising under the statutes of the State of Illinois for recovery of debt. The city council of the City of Mattoon was responsible for providing a place for the court to meet and for supplying it with necessary blank books, records, stationery and other materials necessary for its operation. [Laws of Illinois 1869, p. 133]
The Common Pleas Court of the City of Mattoon was abolished on April 29, 1873. All records and papers of the Court of Common Pleas were transferred to the circuit court of Coles County. [Laws of Illinois 1873, p. 86]
The Mattoon Court of Common Pleas Case Files include common law proceedings. These case files generally show the names of the plaintiff, defendant, judge and clerk of the court; the court dates; and usually the charge or cause of action. Documents contained in these case files include: summonses, affidavits of witnesses, subpoenas, bonds, receipts, depositions, declarations, and decrees and orders of the court. Common law cases involve debt, replevin, assumpsit, breach of covenant, recovery of damages, ejectment and trespass.
Copies of the files found in this index may be obtained by mail or telephone. Inquiries should be made directly to the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. IRAD cannot accept requests by email at this time. Please contact:
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920