Abraham Lincoln to John W. Vance, 7 July 18441
My dear old Friend;
Your letter of the 27th June was received on yesterday–2 You remember taking the horse back from Karr, and receipting all of the debt except four hundred dollars and some interest– Well, at the last Decr[December] term of the U.S. court, we got a judgement for the $400– & interest according to your receipt– Kilgore was then in jail, and had been for three or four months
I had always had doubts about the legality of the transfer of the horse back to you, by Karr; and was fearful Kilgore might sue you, & recover either the horse or the value of him. I therefore made a written contract with Kilgore, in which he ratified the transfer of the horse to you by Karr, and I let him "slope" from the jail– His lying in jail so long; made a pretty big bill of cost– I presume near a hundred dollars– perhaps more–
The whole cost, including this jail bill, you are liable for; though you have a judgement against the defendants for it– You personally, being security for costs, for your brother, in the suit, are liable any moment to be sued for the cost; and I may as well mention, that the jailor in particular, is continually deviling me to have his bill paid– I do [...?] wish you could do something for him– The judgement I think will be ultimately paid, but not speedily–
Van Bergen, the deputy Marshall, who has the execution is out of town now, so that I can not give you particulars as to the prospect of collecting the debt– I believe this is about all the information I can give you–3
Your friend as everA. Lincoln
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SPRINGFIELD Ill.[Illinois]
. . .18
Mr John W. VanceDanvilleIllinois–
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A. Lincoln
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A Lincoln
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J & T Froman4 Dr[debere] to Jno Vance
to the 20 May $ [?] costs
or by 170 lb[pound] coffee a 9 cts pr[cents per] lb 170
do[ditto] 35 lb Shugar 8 cts pr lb 35 15.390
8 2.80
280 $18.10
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1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the letter. He also authored the address on the back page, which was folded to create an envelope for mailing.
2John Vance’s letter to Lincoln has not been located.
3John Kilgore, Thomas Karr, and a third man gave Joseph Vance promissory notes totaling $1,500. After Kilgore failed to pay, Vance retained Logan & Lincoln and brought suit in federal court for $2,000 in damages. Kilgore failed to appear at the court date, and the court awarded Vance $1,678. On August 20, 1844, the marshal sold $200 worth of Kilgore’s property to aid the judgment and costs of suit.
Vance v. Kilgore et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137641.
4This organization could not be positively identified.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).