Abraham Lincoln to Peter Doty, 3 October 18531Pekin, Oct 3. 1853.2Peter Doty Esq.[Esquire]Dear Sir:
Herein is the writ in the case of Hall against Wilson which I brought off to get the Sheriff's return amended– Please place it with the papers again–3Yours truly,A. Lincoln.4
2Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois on September 5 to attend to legal business on the Eighth Judicial Circuit. He was in Pekin for the Tazewell County Circuit Court, which began its fall session on October 3.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 5 September 1853, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1853-09-05, 3 October 1853, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1853-10-03; “An Act to Reduce the Limits of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, and to Fix the Times of Holding Courts Therein,” 3 February 1853, General Laws of Illinois (1853), 64.
4Lincoln references amending the sheriff’s return on a summons in a lawsuit between Jeremiah S. Hall and John Wilson. In 1840, Hall won a judgment against Anderson Ashburn and Jesse Ashburn in the Justice of the Peace Court in McLean County. At the execution sale, Hall bought forty acres owned by Anderson Ashburn, but Hall never received a certificate of purchase. Before the judgment, Hall claimed that Anderson Ashburn had fraudulently given the forty acres to Wilson at no charge, and the recorder had never recorded the transaction. In April 1853, Hall sued Wilson in the Woodford County Circuit Court to perfect the title and to force Wilson to convey his interest to Hall. Wilson retained Lincoln, who amended Sheriff Martin Scott's return on the summons. The court dismissed the case due to lack of prosecution, but Hall reinstated the case to add Anderson Ashburn's heirs. The outcome of the case is unknown.
Writ of Fieri Facias, Document ID: 56352; Judge's Docket, Document ID: 56358, Hall v. Wilson, 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=137077.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Andre De Coppet Collection, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ).