Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Ledlie, 1
In 1826, I believe it was, Elijah Iles conveyed a parcel of ground to Thomas M. Neale, by the following description–
"Beginning at a stake in the East line of Daniel P. Cook's sixteen acre tract, 330 feet from Madison Street– thence North with said Cook's line to his corner– thence at right angles to James Adams' corner– thence South with his line to another of his corners– thence East to John Taylor's corner of his Eleven acre tract– thence South with said Taylor's line to another of his corners on Madison Street– thence West to a corner on said Street of Beacher's Block of lots– thence North and West with the lines of said Block of lots to the beginning, containing about Eleven acres"–^ Book B– 128^
Afterwards Neale conveyed away part of the tract by the following description;
"Beginning at the South West corner of Joseph Millers purchase from John Taylor– thence N[North] 88° W.[West] 1 chain & 20 links– thence N 2° E.[East] 4 chains & 92 links– thence N 88° W. 4 chains & 80 links– thence N 2° E 7 chains & 25 links– thence S[South] 88° E. 6 chains– thence S 2° W 12 chains & 17 links to the beginning"–^ Book B. 218^
Also another part by the following description–
"Beginning at the North West corner of the tract last above described– thence N 2° E. 4 chains & 48 links– thence N 89 E 4 chains & 30 links– thence North 48 links– thence East 2 chains & 20 links– thence S 2° W. 4 chains & 48 ^96–^ links ^thence West 4, 48 chs[chains]^ to the beginning"– These conveyances were to Edward Mitchell– Neale also made a conveyance to J. R. Saunders by the following description– ^Book E. 421^
"Beginning at the N. W.[Northwest] corner of James Adams ten acre lot– thence with the quarter Section West 3 chains & 31 links– thence at right angles with D. P. Cook's East line to a stake opposite the S. W.[Southwest] corner of said Adams' field– thence at right angles to last mentioned corner– thence with Adams' line to the beginning." ^Book. B. 144.^ Whether this last is intended as part of the tract bought of Iles I am not sure; but I think probably it is–
Mrs Neale, now for ten years a widow, and very necessitous,A. Lincoln
<Page 2>thinks there is some small part of the Iles purchase which is not included by the conveyances of her husband– If so, it can only be ascertained by a Survey– If Mr Ledley will take an occasion to carefully make such survey, and thus ascertain the truth, I will do as much or more for him, in the line of my profession, at his order– I am not expecting any compensation from Mrs Neale–2
Survey to be made for Mrs Neale– by request of Mr. Lincoln–
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this document.
The exact date of this document is unknown, but Lincoln most likely wrote it sometime in 1850. He mentions that Harriet B. Neale had been a widow for ten years; Thomas M. Neale, her husband, died in 1840. In 1850, moreover, Harriet B. Neale retained Herndon & Lincoln in two property disputes, and this document appears connected to one or both of these lawsuits.
John M. Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis, 1899), 1:159; John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 539-40; Neale v. Ayres, 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=139963; Neale v. Britton, 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=139965.
2The tracts referenced were in Springfield, Illinois. Thomas M. Neale had been the surveyor for Sangamon County responsible for surveying the land donated to secure the county seat for Springfield. Lincoln had served as Neale’s assistant, so he was qualified to testify to Neale’s conveyances. Joseph Ledlie was the county surveyor in 1850.
In November 1850, Harriet B. Neale retained Lincoln & Herndon and sued Grover Ayers and Isaac S. Britton in actions of ejectment in the Sangamon County Circuit Court for unlawfully withholding property from her. In both cases, the parties reached an agreement, and the court awarded the properties to Ayres and Britton, respectively. Lincoln took no fee from Harriet B. Neale.
Joseph Ledlie responded in a letter written sometime in 1850.
John M. Palmer, ed., Bench and Bar of Illinois, 1:159; John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois, 539-40; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:78-79; History of Sangamon County, Illinois (Chicago: Inter-State, 1881), 689; Neale v. Ayres, 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=139963; Neale v. Britton, 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=139965.
Autograph Document Signed, 2 page(s), Box 5, University of Chicago (Chicago, IL).