Kankakee County Maps
Below is a map of Kankakee County I have made to help with locating property from the legal description. This map shows today's Kankakee county but the county has changed since it was formed in 1853. In 1853 Kankakee county started out with all of the land it has today except for Essex and Norton townships, which were then Essex township in Vermilion county. Before 1853, the land north of the river was a part of Will county and the land south of the river belonged to Iroquios county. Kankakee was, at its beginning, divided into 6 townships: Yellowhead, Momence, Bourbonnais, Rockville, Aroma, and Limestone. In 1855, Essex township, which then included what is today both Essex and Norton townships, was obtained from unorganized territory administered by Vermilion county.
Understanding Legal Descriptions and this Map
An ideal township contains 36 sections. Each section is ideally 1 mile square and contains 640 acres. These sections are numbered within the township starting in the upper right-hand corner and zig-zagging to the bottom. See numbers included top left of map. If a description is given as the SW 1/4 of sec 19, twp 32 N, range 11 E of the 3rd PM, the map shows the property to be 160 acres along the west border of Rockville township, about 2 miles north of the river. For another example, a property listed as the NE 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of sec 3, twp 31 N, range 12 E of the 3rd PM is the 40 acres in Bourbonnais twp NE of the Village of Bourbonnais along the border of Manteno twp. Note how in Bourbonnais township there are two "section 3's" - one is in twp 31 N, range 12 E and the other is in twp 31 N, range 11 E.
If the world was flat, mapping would be much easier. Unfortunately, to account for the curvature of the Earth, corrections to the grid pattern must be made and we have an excellent example of this in Kankakee county. All the townships in township rows 31 N and 32 N are located as range x east of the 3rd prime meridian. If you look at the bottom of the map, you can see this changes. Townships 29 and 30 N are still counted from the 3rd PM for range 9 and 10 E, but then townships 29 and 30 N, range 11 E. is only a bit less than a mile wide. The sections are numbered in these townships, from top to bottom, 6, 7, 18, 19, 30, and 31. The townships 29 and 30 N to the east of these skinny range 11 E townships are counted west from the 2nd PM. There is also a north-south correction. If you look closely you will see that the top row of sections in the township row 30 N keep getting shorter and shorter as they go east. Note again that township rows 31 and 32 N are normal.