By Blake Schnitker
On March 10, 1825, local proprietors Thomas Arnett and Isaac Dial, in cooperation with Morgan County Commissioners, produced the original layout for a town that would serve as the seat of the newly founded county. Equally dividing up a 160-acre tract of land – the southern half being owned by Arnett and Dial and the northern half being the property of the county – the two parties, after careful consideration, decided to call the town Jacksonville, in honor of General Andrew Jackson.
Arnett and Dial initially purchased the land from the United States government at $1.25 per acre. In accordance with the law at the time, since the location of the county seat was located upon privately owned land, the owner or owners of said land were to donate 20 acres of land (Arnett and Dial ended up donating 40 acres) to the county, which would then be laid out and sold in lots, with the proceeds being used for the construction of a courthouse and a jail.