Petition of R. O. Warinner and Others to Thomas Ford, [September 15-20, 1845]1To His Excellency Thomas Ford Governer of the State of Illinois
The undersigned would respectfully represent, that at the last term of the McLean circuit court held in the month of September, AD 1845, a person to said court unknown, was indicted, plead guilty to the charge, and was by said Court sentenced to the Penitentiary for the term of one year– for the crime of Larceny. That said person was apprehended about five month previous to the sitting of said court, during all which time, he has been confined in the Jail for the County of McLean– That during his said confinement he has in all respects behaved and conducted himself as one worthy of a better fate– That he has at all times acknowledged the taking of the watch with which he has been charged, and upon which he has been sentenced– That he was destitut of money at the time he took, the watch, and we have been told, that he tried repeatedly on the road to obtain employment, as a labouring hand, but was not successful in getting work–2
We would therefore humbly represent suggest that in consideration of the punishment which he has already received, together with his conduct, destitution & youth, that in our opinions he is a fit object for executive clemency–
We therefore petition your excellency, that he may be reprieved, and as in duty bound your Petitioners will evy[every] pray.
|R. O. Warinner
|W. C. Hobbs
fore man of Grand Jury, which found the Bill–3
|Will. T. Major
|M. H. Hawks
|A. J. Merriman
|I. P. Conant
|M. W. Packard
|Wm H. Allin
|James T Walton
|D B Robinson
|J. W. Billings
|J. H. Harlan
|W H Temple
|J. E. Parke
|J. E McClure
|J. W. Ewing
|B. F. Hains–
|J. L. Wolcott
|J. N. Ward
|L E Rucker
|Jas. S. Bay
|Wm G. Thompson
|S A Adams
|G. D. McElhiney
|J. R. Fell
|Jas. T. Gildersleeve Clk. Ct. Ct.[Clerk Circuit Court]
|John T. Stuart
|Jesse W. Fell
[ endorsement ]
In this case, the deft.[defendant] pleading guilty, I did not hear the evidence, and know nothing personally about the facts of the case– The appearance of the prisoner was in his favor– The forgoing petition is signed by the principal citizens of Bloomington, who, I presume are cognizant of the circumstances detailed, & state them truly–Sept. 24th 1845–S. H. Treat.
[ endorsement ]
The statement set forth in the written petition by the citizens of Bloomington and vicinity, is believed by the undersigned to be correct; and the individual referred to in the petition being imprisoned during several months previous to his sentence the punishment already received would appear to be sufficient, and the prisoners case one which recommends itself him to the sympathies of the humane and the favorable consideration of the executive to remit the remainder of his sentence.Jno Moore
[ docketing ]
pet[Petition] for pardon for person Unknown
1This petition was written by an unknown author. Abraham Lincoln signed his own name only. The McLean County Circuit Court met in Bloomington from September 15 to 20, 1845.
“An Act to Change the Time of Holding Courts in the County of Shelby, and For Other Purposes,” 21 February 1845, Laws of Illinois (1845), 47-49.
2In 1900, a courthouse fire in Bloomington Illinois, the seat of the McLean County Circuit Court, destroyed all of the legal records that would have provided details about this larceny case. It is unknown whether Governor Thomas Ford commuted the sentence of this individual.
Table of County Courthouses Searched, 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/Reference.aspx?ref=Background%20html%20files/index%20for%20background-document%20collection.html.
3It was not uncommon for grand jurors who indicted people and for petit jurors who convicted them to support petitions for pardon. There were numerous examples of it in Abraham Lincoln’s law practice.
For complete list, search “pardon” under Document Type, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org; Petition of Alexander Fisher and Others to Thomas Carlin.
4In the 1850 federal census, there were two men by the name of John Dawson living in McLean County, Illinois. One lived in Mackinaw (with Armina Dawson), and the other lived in Bloomington (with Caroline Dawson); and both were born in Ohio. A John Dawson served as a juror in two cases in which Lincoln was a lawyer.
U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), McLean County, IL, 17, 62; Fleming v. Rogers & Crothers, 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=136710; Stern & Friedman v. Sawyer, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136811.
Handwritten Document Signed, 4 page(s), Illinois State Archives (Springfield, IL).