Sycamore, Illinois

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Sycamore is a city in DeKalb County, Illinois, United States. It has a commercial district based and centered on Illinois Route 64. The population was 12,020 at the 2000 census, and as of the 2005 estimate it was 14,866.[1] It is the county seat of DeKalb County.[2]



Early settlement

The first settlers to the Sycamore-area arrived in 1835 and concentrated themselves mostly north of the Kishwaukee River and the present site of Sycamore. The original town was platted by a New Yorker named Christian Sharer. A mill was constructed and the Kishwaukee dammed but the town failed. By 1837, after some controversy, the location of county seat was settled in favor of Orange, Sycamore's original name, and the settlement moved to the present-day site of the city.[3]

The present-day town site was platted by James Waterman and Evans Wharry in 1837. The first settler at the new site was Carlos Lattin, who preceded the town, having arrived in 1835.[3] Lattin staked a claim that included most of the present west side of the city and erected his first cabin just north of downtown.[3]

County seat controversies

Early in the city's history, it seemed, that Sycamore might not be the location of the DeKalb County Courthouse; other towns were vying for the county seat title. A now defunct [4] Colton, the Clerk of the Court and preparer of the writs and process of the court, had set the first session of county court to be held at his home, in Coltonville.[5] In his attempt to make Coltonville the county seat, Colton decided to hold a new election for the status in 1837. Colton made sure that Coltonville would win the election by telling only the population of Coltonville about it. His political tactics were eventually cancelled by an act of the Illinois General Assembly,[6] after the DeKalb County court intervened. When court convened the sheriff served a court order declaring a courthouse be built in Sycamore.[5] Afterward, Coltonville eventually suffered the same fate as Brush Point and disappeared from the map.[6] These events seemingly settled the issue of where the courthouse and, in turn, the DeKalb County seat was going to be located.[5]

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