Abraham Lincoln to Charles Hoyt, 10 July 18551Chicago, July 10– 1855Mr Charles HoytMy dear Sir:
The U.S. Court is in session here now;2 and we have succeeded, by agreement with Edwards, in getting your case, and the three Rock-Island cases, dismissed, with leave to the plaintiff to reinstate them by the next term, if he desires–3 Edwards says he has heared nothing from Parker, or Cushman, or any of their men,4 since their case was disposed of in the Supreme Court, now more than a year ago– Judge McLean says Parker is broken up, and seems to be doing nothing further about his cases– From all this, I suppose the cases are not very likely to be reinstated–Your friend, as everA. Lincoln–P.S.
It would perhaps be best to make no movement about costs till after next term, lest this should stir them up to re-instate the cases–5A. L.
2The inaugural term of the U.S. Circuit Court, Northern District of Illinois convened in Chicago on Monday, July 2.
"An Act to Divide the State of Illinois into Two Judicial Circuits," 13 February 1855, Statutes at Large of the United States 10 (1855):606; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 2 July 1855, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1855-07-02.
3Lincoln is discussing the legal case Parker v. Hoyt and several related cases in Rock Island County, Illinois. In 1849, Zebulon Parker sued Charles Hoyt in the U.S. Circuit Court, District of Illinois for violating Parker’s patent, obtained in October 1829, for a reaction percussion waterwheel. Hoyt retained Grant Goodrich, Lincoln, and George W. Meeker to argue his case. Parker retained Benjamin S. Edwards, Archibald Williams, and John R. Olney, Sr. The suit came to trial on July 9, 1850, and concluded on July 24. The jury found for Parker, and Hoyt requested a new trial. The court granted Hoyt’s motion. In the second trial, the jury found for Hoyt, and Parker motioned for a new trial. The court granted his motion. The case lingered on through the early 1850s. In November 1854, Hoyt wrote Lincoln two letters asking for word on his suit.
In 1851, Lincoln wrote at least two letters to Orville H. Browning and Nehemiah Bushnell discussing the use of evidence from the Parker v. Hoyt case in the three related cases in Rock Island County. As Lincoln notes in this letter to Hoyt, these three patent cases were also dismissed.
Per legislation passed by the U.S. Congress in early 1855, the second term of the newly-created U.S. Circuit Court, Northern District of Illinois was scheduled to convene in Chicago on the third Monday in December 1855, which fell on December 17.
Grant Goodrich to Abraham Lincoln; The Lincoln Log, 9 July 1850, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1850-07-09; 24 July 1850, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1850-07-24; Newspaper Report, Document ID: 129692; Newspaper Report, Document ID: 132922; Newspaper Report, Document ID: 129693, Parker v. Hoyt, 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=137697; Charles Hoyt to Abraham Lincoln; Charles Hoyt to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Orville H. Browning and Nehemiah Bushnell; Abraham Lincoln to Orville H. Browning and Nehemiah Bushnell; Unknown v. Unknown, 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=141126; "An Act to Divide the State of Illinois into Two Judicial Circuits," 13 February 1855, Statutes at Large of the United States 10 (1855):606; The Lincoln Log, 17 December 1855, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1855-12-17.
4Neither Cushman nor the other individuals involved in the Rock Island County lawsuits could be positively identified.
5There is no evidence that Parker ever reinstated his suit against Hoyt.
Additional information about the Rock Island cases has not been located and may no longer be extant.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Aurora Historical Society (Aurora, IL).