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Notice to Take Depositions and Depositions of Ninian W. Edwards & Eliphalet B. Hawley, 22 September 18531
"Messrs[Messieurs] Oldham & Hemingway, survivors of Oldham, Todd &Co.Gentlemen
Take notice that I will take depositions to be read by me in the suit now pending in the Fayette Circuit Court, wherein you are plaintiffs & I am Defendant with others,2 at the following times and places towit: At the office of the Clerk of the circuit court of Sangamon County, Illinois, in Springfield, on the 12 day of Novr[November] next, at which place I will take the deposition of J. T. Stewart & others–
At the office of the Clerk of the Cass Circuit Court in the town of Beardstown, County of Cass, state of Illinois, on the 15th of Novr 1853, at which place I will take the deposition of H. E. Dummer & others–
At the office of the Clerk of the circuit court of Shelby county, in the town of Shelbyville in said county, State of Illinois, on the 8th of Novr 1853, at which place I will take the depositions of William F. Thornton & others–3
Abrm Lincoln"
"Executed, September 23rd 1853, by delivering to Thomas Hemingway & Edward Oldham, each true copies of the within notice–
John Rodes Ds[Deputy Sheriff] for Waller Rodes s/c4"
Depositions ofNinian W. Edwards & Eliphalet B Hawleytaken before me, William F. Elkin, and acting Justice of the Peace, in and for the County of Sangamon and State of Illinois, in pursuance of a written notice, of which, and of the entry of service thereof, the above, are true copies, and the original of which is retained by the defendant, to be used
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at Beardstown, according to said notice;5 said depositions being taken to be read in evidence, by the said defendant, Lincoln, in a suit now pending in the Circuit court of Fayette county, and Commonwealth of Kentucky, wherein Edward Oldham and Thomas Hemingway, survivors of Oldham Todd &Co[& Company], are plaintiffs, and said Abraham Lincoln, and another, are defendants–
SaidNinian W. Edwards,being produced and sworn testified as follows, towit
Interrogatory 1–6Are you, or not acquainted with the parties to the above suit?
Ans[Answer] I am.
Int[Interrogatory] 2d Have you or not any knowledge of a debt due the old firm of Oldham Todd &Co, of which firm the plaintiffs are survivors, and which debt was owing by a firm formerly doing business at Shelbyville, Illinois, and if yea, State the firm name of said debtor firm, how said debt originated and its history up to the present time so far as you know.?
Ans I have a knowledge of the debt; Robert S. Todd one of the firm of Oldham Todd &Co, placed in the hands of Rankin & Edwards of which firm I was a member cotton yarns to sell on credit or for cash for said firm of Oldham Todd &Co, and on the 7th of March 1840 we sold to Thornton & Basye of Shelbyville Illinois for the benefit of said Oldham Todd &Co, cotton yarns, amounting to the sum of Five hundred and ninety seven dollars, for which amount we took their note, dated March 7, 1840 payable to Rankin & Edwards, nine months after date, with interest after four months, this note we held till the latter part of 1841 or begining of 1842, when we placed it in the hands of Anthony Thornton a Lawyer of Shelbyville for collection, We have received payments on said note at different times amounting to TwoHundred &Eleven[& Eleven] dollars &fifty[& fifty] one cents, which was accounted for by Hawley & Edwards the successors of Rankin &Edwards[& Edwards], to said Oldham Todd &Co among other money remitted to them for cotton yarns. And on April 14th 1842
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I received forty Dollars of Anthony Thornton which I paid for Robert S. Todd on a note Executed by him to Nathaniel A. Ware which forty dollars, together with five retained by Thornton as a fee was endorsed as a credit on said note by said Thornton on the day of its receipt. ^and as I think in the fall of 1843^ Sometime afterwards ^Said^ Robert S. Todd told me, that he had given to A– Lincoln the defendant, what he could make out of said debt, and which said Todd had previously authorized me by letter to compromise by taking land, State Bank paper or any thing I could get to wind it up safely. he at the same, told me he had also given, ^to said Lincoln a debt in the hands of H. E. Dummer at Beardstown^
Intg[Interrogatory] 3d Did you or not, or either of the firms of which you were a member ever pay to said Lincoln any money belonging to said Oldham Todd &Co, on account of the debt aforesaid, or on any other account whatever?
Ans Neither I or any member of our firms ever did, so far as I know, ever pay to said Lincoln any money belonging to Oldham Todd &Co. And I have examined the Books of said firms and find no entry of any such payments.
Intg 4th Have you any knowledge of said Lincoln ever receiving any thing on said Shelbyville debt from any person whomsoever?
Ans I have not. And it has always been my understanding that the debtors at Shelbyville were insolvent from the beginning of 1842, and that nothing has been paid on said debt since the credits above mentioned. As late as 1851 Wm F. Thornton the Father in law of Basye mad some propositions to ^me, to^ compound the debt, and I refered him to said Lincoln. H. E. Dummers Receipt for the debt in his hands is still in my possession, said Lincoln never having called for it. I understand that I am a defendant in this same suit with said Lincoln, but on a distinct claim, and I have no interest whatever in the claim on which said Lincoln is sued. The note above mentioned placed in the hands of Anthony Thornton for collection is the only claim ever placed in said Thorntons hands for collection by me, or either of our firm. And further this deponent saith not7
Ninian W. Edwards8
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Eliphalet B. Hawley of lawful age being produced, sworn and examined on the part of the defendant, deposeth and saith.
Interrogatory 1st Are you or not acquainted with the parties to said suit?
Ans I am personally acquainted with the defendant Lincoln, and by reputation with the plaintiffs Oldham Todd &Co, of Lexington Kentucky.
Int 2d Are you or not the Hawley of the late firm of Hawley &Edwards of Springfield Illinois?
Ans I. am.
Int 3d Did you individually, or your firm, ever pay to said Lincoln any money belonging to said Oldham Todd &Co?
Ans I have no recollection that I, or we, ever did– Nor do the Books shew that we ever did. I was a Clerk for Rankin &Edwards previous to May 1840 when I bought out Rankin and became the partnor of Edwards– I have heard Mr. Edward's deposition read, and I know that the history of the origin of the Shelbyville debt, of the payments made upon it– and of the settlement with Oldham Todd &Co for them, as stated by Mr Edwards are correct– We never received any thing further upon that debt, and have never understood that any thing further was paid upon it to any one– Having always understood that the debtors were insolvent
Int 4th Have you or not, any knowledge of any person ever paying to said Lincoln any money belonging to said Oldham Todd &Co on any account whatever?
Ans I have no knowledge of any–
Int 5th What has become of Mr Rankin of the firm of Rankin &Edwards?
Ans He left this whole matter in our hands in 1840 when I became a partner with Mr. Edwards– and I now understand he lives in Warren County in this State; and further this deponent saith not9
E. B. Hawley10
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[certification]
11/12/1853
State of Illinois
Sangamon County
I William F. Elkin an acting Justice of the peace in and for the County aforesaid, do hereby certify that the foregoing depositions of Ninian W. Edwards and Eliphalet B Hawley were taken before me on the 12th day of November A.D. 1853 at the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the County aforesaid, in Springfield in said County; that previous to taking said depositions, said Witnesses were by me respectively duly sworn to testify the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, in the matter of the suit pending in the Circuit Court of Fayette County and Common Wealth of Kentucky, wherein Edward Oldham and Thomas Hemingway survivors of Oldham Todd &Co are plaintiffs, and Abraham Lincoln and another are defendants, that their answers when given respectively, were reduced to writing by me, and the same then and there respectively sworn to and subscribed by said Witness before me and in my presence
Given under my hand and seal at Springfield This 12th day of November AD. 1853.
Wm F. Elkin Justice Peace
 seal 11
[certification]
11/12/1853
State of Illinois
Sangamon County
I Noah W Matheny Clerk of the County Court for said County do hereby certify that William F Elkin Esqr[Esquire] who previously to the enclosing the foregoing depositions procures me to make this certificate is on this 12th day of November AD 1853. a duly qualified and acting Justice of the Peace for said County as appears of Record in my office, that full faith and credit are due to all his acts as Such Justice of the Peace and that what purports to be his signature to the Certificate above this is genuine
In Testimony Whereof I have here unto Subscribed my name and affixed the seal of my office at Springfield this 12th day of November AD 1853
N W Matheny Clk[Clerk]12

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[certification]
11/23/1853
Oldham & Hemingway }
[v?] Depos[Depositions] for Defendant Lincoln
Lincoln &c[etc.]
Filed under seal Novr 23 1853.
Att[Attested] James. M. Wood Clk13
1Abraham Lincoln wrote all of the text on the first sheet except for the script “Ninian W. Edwards & Eliphalet B. Hawley,” three-quarters of the way down the first sheet. Lincoln also signed his name on the first sheet, as shown in the first image. Additional segments of Lincoln’s handwriting are noted below, where they appear in the original document.
2Lincoln is discussing the case Oldham & Hemingway v. Lincoln et al. In the case, Edward Oldham and Thomas Hemingway, the surviving partners of Oldham, Todd and Company, which had included Robert S. Todd, father of Mary Lincoln, claimed that the company had hired Lincoln and Edwards to collect some debts for them in Illinois. Oldham and Hemingway claimed that Lincoln, Edwards, and George B. Kinkead (who was acting as Lincoln's attorney in Lexington, Kentucky) failed to pay them $472.54. In June 1853, Oldham and Hemingway sued Lincoln and others in a chancery action in Kentucky’s Fayette County Circuit Court to recover the debt. Lincoln denied the charges and claimed that his father-in-law, Todd, had asked him to collect two debts in Illinois and told Lincoln that he could keep the proceeds. Lincoln collected $50 from one of the debts and none from the other.
Oldham & Hemingway v. Lincoln 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=141851; Harry E. Pratt, The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln (Springfield, IL: Abraham Lincoln Association, 1943), 118.
3Copies of the depositions of John T. Stuart, Henry E. Dummer, and William F. Thornton have not been located. Lincoln wrote Dummer a letter on October 13, 1853, informing him of the need for his deposition, but his correspondence with Stuart and Thornton on this matter has not been located.
4Since Waller Rodes was a county sheriff, “s/c” is most likely an abbreviation referring to this position.
5In March 1845, the Illinois General Assembly passed an act imposing several requirements for the methods and timing of providing notice for taking depositions from parties residing outside the state of Illinois.
For the full text of this act, and the February 9, 1827 act that it amended, see “An Act to Amend an Act, Entitled, ‘An Act Regulating the Mode of Taking Depositions, and to Provide for the Perpetuating of Testimony,’” 1 March 1845, Laws of Illinois (1845), 27 and “An Act Regulating the Mode of Taking Depositions, and to Provide for the Perpetuating of Testimony,” 9 February 1827, Revised Laws of Illinois (1827), 174-79.
6Lincoln penned all of the script on the second sheet up to this point, with the exception of “Ninian W. Edwards,” which William F. Elkin wrote. The rest of the script on this sheet, shown in the second image, after “Interrogatory 1–,” is in Elkin’s hand.
7All of the script on the third sheet, with the exception of “Ninian W. Edwards” at the bottom, is in Elkin’s hand.
8Edwards signed his name, shown at the bottom of the third image.
9All of the script on the fourth sheet, with the exception of “E. B. Hawley” at the bottom, is in Elkin’s hand.
In February 1854, after depositions like the above supported Lincoln’s version of events, Oldham and Hemingway dismissed the case.
Oldham & Hemingway v. Lincoln et al., 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=141851.
10Hawley signed his name, shown at the bottom of the fourth image.
11Elkin wrote this endorsement, from “State of Illinois” to the line with his signature, shown in the fifth image.
12Noah W. Matheny wrote this endorsement, from “State of Illinois,” beneath the line with Elkin’s signature, to the line with Matheny’s signature, shown in the fifth image.
13James M. Wood wrote this certification.

Handwritten Transcription, 6 page(s), Fayette County Circuit Court case files, Box 2, Acc. No. A2007-046, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (Frankfort, Kentucky).