Abraham Lincoln to Thomas J. Turner, 11 November 18531Springfield, Novr 11. 1853–Dear Sir:
Judge Logan, Kemper's attorney, authorizes me say he consents to the within named Clerk, taking the deposition,2 in lieu of the man named in the commission,3 on condition that, if you can, you will notify Kemper's lawyer there, of the time & place– Mr Adams per haps will know who the lawyer is– Dont neglect, or fail for your life4A. Lincoln
3The commission document Lincoln references has not been located. He originally enclosed the commission for taking depositions in a letter he wrote Thomas J. Turner on August 15, 1853.
4Kemper’s other lawyer could not be identified.
Lincoln is discussing the case Kemper v. Adams & Bovey. In the case, John H. Kemper recovered a judgment against William F. Bradshaw, and the U.S. marshal sold Bradshaw's land in Ogle County, Illinois, to satisfy the judgment. Bradshaw conveyed the land to Adam Adams and John Bovey. Adams and Bovey had possession of the land that Kemper claimed to own by virtue of the judgment. Kemper sued Adams and Bovey in an action of ejectment in the U.S. Circuit Court, District of Illinois, to remove them from the property. Adams and Bovey retained Lincoln, Turner, and Solon Cumins; Kemper retained Stephen T. Logan. Lincoln and his fellow attorneys for the defense argued that the time during which Kemper could sue had expired. The Circuit Court found for Kemper. By virtue of an act promulgated in March 1839, the losing party in an ejectment case was entitled to one new trial simply by paying the court costs, and Adams and Bovey paid the costs and motioned for a new trial. The court granted the motion, and the jury found for Kemper. Adams and Bovey apparently sued Kemper for an injunction to stop the execution of the judgment, and in March 1858, the U.S. Circuit Court, Northern District of Illinois, ruled for Adams and Bovey. Lincoln received $100 for his legal services.
As indicated in another letter to Turner, Lincoln first became involved in the lawsuit in December 1849. He wrote multiple letters to Turner, Adams, Bovey, and Cumins regarding this case before its conclusion in 1858.
For the letters related to this case, see Kemper v. Adams & Bovey, 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=140935.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s). Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).