Appraisal of an Estray by Abraham Lincoln and John W. Reed, 16 December 18301
We the under signers having been called on to apprais an Estray Mare Taken up by Jonathan B. Brown on Monday the 12th day of Decr 1830; Do find her to be four years old next Spring a bright bay 14 hands high— a Small blaze and a Snip in her face— right hind foot white— right fore foot with a ^white^ stripe down the hough[hoof] and white hairs around the edge of the hough no brands perceiveable black mane and tail appraised to 30 Dollars Given under hands this 16th day of December 18302
A LincolnJohn W. Reed
[certification]
12/16/1830
Taken up by Jonathan. B. Brown, ^resident Macon county Ills^ on Monday the 12th day of Decr 1830 one bright bay Mare four years old next spring 14 hands high a small blaze and snip in her face right hind foot white right fore foot with a ^white^ stripe Down the hoof and white hairs around the edge of the hoof no brands perceivable black mane and Tail appraised To Thirty Dollars by Abram Lincoln and John W. Reed before Me this 16th day of Decr 1830
Macon county
State of Illinois
Given under my hand and seal This 16th day Decr 1830
Philip. D. Williams  seal 
J, P,[Justice of the Peace]

<Page 2>
[docketing]
Rtn[Return] of Etray Taken up by J. B. Brown
1830
1Abraham Lincoln wrote only his own signature on this document. Basler believed it to be entirely in Lincoln’s handwriting, and he included the document in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.
Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1:3.
2An estray is any domestic animal found wandering, whose ownership is unknown; the term also applies to water craft found adrift. Illinois law required the finder of an estray to register their possession with a justice of the peace. The justice of the peace would have two or three persons from the neighborhood appraise the estray, and report its description and value to the clerk of the county commissioners’ court. If the value were more than $15, the clerk would advertise the estray in public places and a local newspaper. If no owner appeared to prove his ownership within a year, the finder of the estray would deliver it to the sheriff, who would sell it at public auction and deposit the proceeds into the county treasury, after paying the finder the costs of taking care of the animal.
“An Act concerning Water Crafts, Found Adrift, Lost Goods, and Estray Animals,” 31 January 1827, Revised Code of Laws of Illinois (1827), 189-98.

Copy of Handwritten Document Signed, 2 page(s), Lincoln Collection Copy Files, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL)