January 17, 1853
Governor Joel Matteson signs legislation granting Bishop Hill Colony a corporate charter:
AN ACT entitled ‘An act incorporating the Bishop Hill Colony at Bishop Hill, in Henry county.’
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the people of the state of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, that Olof Johnson, John Olson, James Eickson [Ericson], Jacob Jacobson, Jonas Cronberg, Swan Swanson, Peter Johnson, and their associates and successors, be and they are hereby constituted and appointed a body politic and corporate, by the name and style of ‘The Bishop Hill Colony,’ and by that name they and their successors shall and may have perpetual succession, shall be capable of suing and being sued, defending and being defended, pleading and being impleaded, answering and being answered, within all courts and places whatsoever; and they may have a common seal, to alter or change the same at pleasure; may purchase and hold or convey real and personal
property necessary to promote and fully carry out the objects of said corporation. The number of trustees shall be seven, and the above named persons are hereby appointed and constituted trustees of said corporation.
SECTION 2. The real and personal estate held and owned by said trustees in their corporate capacity shall be held and used for the benefit, support, and profit of the members of the colony.
SECTION 3. The business of said corporation shall be manufacturing, milling, all kinds of mechanical business, agriculture and merchandising.
SECTION 4. The said trustees above appointed shall hold their office during good behavior, but are liable to be removed, for good cause, by a majority of the male members of said Colony.
SECTION 5. All vacancies in the office of trustees, either by removal, death, resignation, or otherwise, shall be filled in such manner as shall be provided by the by-laws of such corporation.
SECTION 6. The said trustees and their successors in office may make contracts, purchase real estate, and again convey the same, whenever they shall see proper so to do, for the benefit of the colony.
SECTION 7. All the real estate heretofore conveyed by any person or persons to the trustees of the Bishop Hill Society shall be and the titles to said lands are hereby invested in the said trustees above appointed, for the uses and purposes above specified.
SECTION 8. The said Bishop Hill Colony may pass such by-laws concerning the government and management of the property and business of said colony, and the admission, withdrawal and expulsion of its members, and regulating its internal policy and for other purposes, directly connected with the business and management of said Colony, as they may deem proper, not inconsistent with the constitution and by-laws of the state.
SECTION 9. This act shall be deemed and taken as a public act, and shall be construed liberally for the benefit of said Colony.
[General Laws of the State of Illinois, 1853, pp. 328-29]
From the Bishop Hill Chronology document created by the Bishop Hill State Historic Site, Illinois Department of Natural Resources