Black Sheep Sunday - A letter from a prominent lawyer

A few years ago, one of my relatives sent me a photocopy of a letter that was sent to Thomas Meharry on April 21, 1857.  Thomas Meharry was my 3rd great granduncle.  The little notes above the original words were written on the copy of this letter that was sent to me and not on the original.

In case your knowledge of mid 19th century penmanship is a little fuzzy, here's a transcription:
Urbana, Ill., April 21, 1857
Thomas Meharry, Esq.
Dear sir
     Owing to absence from home your letter of the 6th. was received only two days ago. The land in question, as I suppose, is the two dollar and a half land, and my opinion is that there can be no lawful preemptions on those lands, based on a settlement made after, the allotment of those lands, in 1852 or 3 I think. If I am right in this opinion, your entry is valid, and you can recover the land. I suppose yours, and your brother's adversary, are in possession; and if so, I would advise suits in Ejectment to be brought in the U. S. court, at Springfield. I can not tell in advance what fee I would charge, because I can not know the amount of trouble I may have. If the pre-emptioners have had patents issued to them, the cases, as I think, can still be managed, but they will be a good deal more troublesome.
     If you conclude to have suits brought, & to engage me to bring them, call and see me at Springfield, from the 5th. to 10th. of May, at which time you will probably find me at home. I mention this, because I am absent a good deal.
Yours truly,
A. Lincoln
Yes, that's the same A. Lincoln that went on to be sworn in as President of the United States on 4 March 1861.

From what I can tell in a quick web search, this letter was a reply to one sent by Thomas on 6 April 1857.  Thomas had purchased some land at auction near Danville, Illinois, on 24 November 1855, but there were two pre-emptions filed against this land on 17 August 1855, and one of those pre-emptions was trying to claim it.  Thomas wrote to Lincoln to see if he would take the case and what he would charge for bringing the case to trial.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Nice way to start a new blog! Nice hunk of history there! Congrats.