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Proceedings of the Sangamon County Bar regarding Charles R. Welles, 29 November 18541
Charles R. Welles, Deceased.
At a meeting of the members of the bar, held at the court house, in this city, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, during the present term of the Sangamon circuit court, Hon. Stephen T. Logan was called to the chair, and W. J. Black appointed secretary.
Mr. B. S. Edwards stated the object of the meeting to be to pay a tribute of respect to the memory of Charles R. Welles, deceased, late a member of the bar, and moved that a committee, to consist of three members of the bar, be appointed to draft and present resolutions suitable to the occasion.
The chair appointed James C. Conkling, esq.[esquire], Hon. John T. Stewart and Hon. A. Lincoln as said committee.
The committee, by Mr. Conkling, their chairman, reported the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, since the last term of our circuit court2 Charles R. Welles suddenly terminated his mortal career under an attack of that fearful scourge, the cholera, which has desolated the hearts and homes of unnumbered thousands—3
Resolved, That by his death the bar of Springfield has lost a highly esteemed, upright and honorable member of the legal profession.
Resolved, That his strict integrity, his social character and christian virtues endeared him to his friends, secured the confidence of his acquaintances, and rendered him a useful member of society.
Resolved, That we deeply sympathise with his family and friends in their bereavement, but in the midst of their affliction we doubt not they experience consolation in the assurance that their loss is his eternal gain.
Resolved, That a copy of these proceedings be presented to the widow and family of the deceased, and to his honor, Judge Davis, of the circuit court, with a request that they may be enrered[entered] at full upon the records of the court, and that the city papers be requested to publish the same.
On motion of Mr. Thos. G. Taylor, Mr. B. S. Edwards was requested to present these proceedings to the circuit court.
On motion, the meeting adjourned.
S. T. LOGAN, Ch’n[Chairman].
W. J. Black, Sec’y[Secretary].
Upon presenting the proceedings to the court, Mr. Edwards said:
May it please the court: As the representative of the bar of Springfield, I have been instructed to present these resolutions, passed by them as a tribute of respect to the memory of the late Charles R. Welles, esq., and to accompany their presentation with the request that your honor would order them to be spread upon the records, and that the court should, as a further expression of honor to the deceased, adjourn until to-morrow morning.
In complying with these instructions, while it is not my intention to pronounce a eulogy on the character of our departed friend, I should do violence to my own feelings if I did not, at this time, add my testimony to the worth, the excellent worth of Mr. Wells. Although, from the nature of the business transacted mostly by him, he has not, for the last few years, often been actively engaged in the contests of the court room, yet the strict fidelity, the unswerving integrity with which he has ever discharged the duties of the lawyer, as well as of the private individual, in the management of a large and profitable business, have always reflected credit alike on the man and the profession of which he was a member.
It required an intimate acquaintance with him rightly to appreciate his many excellencies of character; although apparently cold and reserved, no man possesaed a kinder heart, or one more ready ever to sympathise with the joys or sorrows of his fellow men, or a disposition better qualified to enjoy, and contribute to the enjoyment by others, of the socialities of life. In fact, it was in the social and family circle that his virtues were eminently developed, and for this very reason, while those of us among whom his intercourse was more public, regret his loss to us and to society, his family feel with more intense grief his absence from them.
In conclusion, I have known Mr. Wells for many years— in fact, ever since his settlement in this city. For the last few years my intercourse with him has been more intimate. For him my esteem, my friendship has been constantly increasing. The resolutions speak of his distinguishing characteristics of integrity and purity of heart. No one could associate with him without being impressed with the prominence of these virtues. Of him we can all say, he was “PURE IN HEART,” and console ourselves that he is now rejoicing in the fruition of the blessing pronounced upon those possessed of this exalted virtue. I now move that the proceedings of the meeting of the members of the bar, and the resolutions passed by them, be spread upon the records of this court, and that this court do now adjourn.
Judge Davis replied as follows:
The court bears equal testimony with the bar to the merits of Mr. Welles, while living, and cherishes equal sorrow for his death. His life was illustrated by great purity of purpose, integrity of character, and a conscientious discharge of the various duties and obligations resting upon him.
The court is fully sensible that every tribute of respect is due to the memory of Mr. Welles, and therefore directs that the proceedings of the bar, together with the remarks of Mr. Edwards, be spread on the records, and that the court now adjourn.4
1Although, as this article notes, the Sangamon County Bar appointed James C. Conkling, John T. Stuart, and Abraham Lincoln to the committee that drafted the resolutions which the Sangamon County Bar adopted, it is unclear which segments Lincoln contributed. The original, handwritten draft of the committee’s resolutions has not been located.
2The Sangamon County Circuit Court was part of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which had three terms: spring, summer, and fall. Per Illinois law, the summer term commenced on the second Monday in June, which, in 1854, was June 12.
“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), 63-64; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 12 June 1854, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1854-06-12.
3There were several major outbreaks of cholera in the United States in the nineteenth century, including in 1854.
Charles E. Rosenberg, The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987), 4.
4Upon Judge David Davis’ order, the Sangamon County Circuit Court adjourned until Friday, December 1, 1854.

Printed Document, 1 page(s), Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield, IL), 9 December 1854, 2:2.