Petition of Bowling Green and Others to the Sangamon County Commissioners' Court, 9 February 18331To the County Commissioners Court for the County of Sangamon when met at their march term for the year 1833
We the undersigned citizens of Sangamon County being personally acquainted with Zery. Elmore (who also is resident in said County—) and knowing him to be insane— and wholly unable to earn a livelihood either by labour or any other employment— and to have no relatives who can be lawfully made chargeable for his maintenanceTherefore we respectfully request that his case be taken into considderation by your honorable body—2New Salem Feb. 9, 1833.
petition for aid in supporting an afflicted pauper—
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the petition. He also wrote the signatures of all those in the right-hand column aside from Jason Duncan; and of those from Harvel to the bottom of the left-hand column.
2Illinois law authorized county commissioners courts to cover the expenses of the indigent in their counties. Initially covering those persons “unable to earn a livelihood, in consequence of any bodily infirmity, or other unavoidable cause,” on March 1, 1833 the legislature extended the law’s coverage to those suffering from “idiocy” and “lunacy.”
In March 1833, the Sangamon County Commissioners Court ordered that Elmore receive $32 per year for his support. In 1836, Abraham Lincoln authored and signed a petition requesting the Court to increase the amount allotted to Elmore, but the Court declined the request.
Sangamon County Commissioners Court, Record Book D, Manuscripts Division, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield IL, 12, 74, 137, 183, 237, 333.
Handwritten Document Signed, 2 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).