ADOPTION OF TOWNSHIP ORGANIZATION
At a meeting of the board of justices in June 1860, a petition was presented, praying that the question of township organization under the general act of 1851 be submitted to the voters of Sangamon county. The question was accordingly submitted at the regular election held on November 6. 1860, and it was carried by a majority of votes, out of a total vote of 7,241. At the meeting of the board of justices in December, following, John S. Bradford, John Gardner Sr., and Joseph Campbell were appointed a committee to divide the county into townships, in accordance with the general law on the subject. On March 1, 1861, this committee submitted to the county board their report in writing, which was approved. By it the county was divide into twenty-two townships, hearing the following names: Auburn, Ball, Buffalo Hart, Campbell (now Chatham, Clear Lake, Cooper, Cotton Hill, Curran, Gardner, Illiopolis, Island Grove, Loami, Mechanicsburg, Pawnee, Power (now Fancy Creek), Rochester, Sackett (now Salisbury), Spr ingfield, Talkington, Williams, and Woodside.
Five additional townships have since been formed, namely: New Berlin, from the south part of Island Grove; Wheatfield (now Lanesville, from the west part of Illiopolis; Capital, from parts of Springfield and Woodside; Divernon, from parts of Auburn and Pawnee; and Maxwell, from the west part of Loami making in all twenty-seven townships, with a present representation of forty-one members in the county board. The first board of supervisors met April 29, 1861, and organized by electing William Lavely as chairman.
Chatham Township lies in the middle of the second tier of townships from the county line on the south. It comprises all of government township 14 north, range 6 west and a small portion of the congressional township on the east. It is bounded by Curran on the north, Loami on the west, Auburn on the south and Ball on the east. The face of this township is mostly prairie, lying between two belts of timber-that of Sugar creek on the one side and of Lick creek on the other. Chatham village is in the northeastern part of the township, on the line of the Chicago and Alton railroad , and was first laid out and platted by Luther N. Ransom in 1836. It is a pleasantly situated village, and by the census of 1900 contained 629 inhabitants.
The first white settler of the township was John Campbell, who arrived in March, 1818, and located on Lick creek. The next settlers were John Darneille and Levi and Samuel Harbor, who came in 1819.
Chatham township was organized in 1861 under the name of Campbell, but changed its name to Chatham Township on September 2, 1863. Population of the township, including the village - 1,337. As of the 2010 census, its population was 6,978 and it contained 2,963 housing units.