Affidavit of Abraham Lincoln regarding Black Hawk War Service, 21 August 18551
|State of Illinois,||}|
On this 21stday ofAugustA.D. one thousand eight hundred andfifty-five, personally appeared before me, a justice of the peace, within and for the county and State aforesaid,Abraham Lincoln, aged46years, a resident of Sangamon Countyin the State ofIllinois, who being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identicalAbraham Lincoln, who was a Captain of ain the company commanded by Captain , in the regiment ofIllinois Mounted Volunteers., commanded by Col. [Colonel] Saml M. Thompson, in the war with the British band of Sacs and other Tribes of Indians on our Northwestern Frontier in A.D. 1832 known as the “Black Hawk War”– That he Volunteered at the state and County aforesaid on or about the 21st day of April 1832for the term of no definite time, and continued in actual service in said war forabout 40 days , that he has heretofore made application for bounty land, under the act of September 28, 1850, and received a land warrant, No.52.076, forforty (40)acres, which he has since Located and cannot now return.2
He makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the additional bounty land to which he may be entitled under the act approved the 3d day of March, 1855. He also declares, that he has never applied for nor received, under this or any other act of Congress, any bounty land warrant except the one above mentioned.3Abraham Lincoln
[ certification ]
Josiah Francis4Justice Peace.
WE,Simeon FrancisandEdward Clarkresidents ofSangamoncounty, in the State ofIllinois, upon our oaths, declare that the foregoing declaration was signed and acknowledged byAbraham Lincoln, in our presence; and that we, believe from the appearance and statements of the applicant that he is the identical person he represents himself to be.Simeon FrancisEdward Clark
|SWORN to and subscribed before me||}|
|t[hi]s 21stday of AugustA.D. 1855.|
[ certification ]
THE foregoing declaration and affidavit were sworn to and subscribed before me, on the day and year above written; and I certify that I know the affiants to be credible persons; that the claimant is the person he represents himself to be, and that I have no interest in this claim.
GIVEN under my hand and seal the day and year above written.Josiah Francis, Justice Peace.
[ certification ]
|State of Illinois,||}|
I, NOAH W. MATHENY, Clerk of the County Court for said County, do hereby certify that Josiah FrancisEsq. [Esquire], whose name is subscribed to the foregoing certificate, was on the day the same bears date, an acting Justice of the Peace for said County, duly commissioned and qualified, and that as such full faith and credit is due to all his official acts, and that his signature thereto is genuine.
GIVEN under my hand and Seal of Office, at Springfield, in said County, this 21stday ofAugust.A. D. 1855N W MathenyClerk.
[ docketing ]
1The blanks on the printed form for this affidavit and certifications were filled in by an unknown person or persons, possibly Josiah Francis. The affidavit was signed by Abraham Lincoln, and the certifications were signed by Simeon Francis, Edward Clark, Josiah Francis, and Noah W. Matheny.
2At the outbreak of the Black Hawk War, Lincoln volunteered for the Illinois State Militia. On April 21, 1832, Lincoln and other men from the New Salem area were mustered into a company in the Fourth Regiment of Illinois Mounted Volunteers, and the members of the company elected Lincoln as their captain. When his month of service ended, Lincoln reenlisted twice, for twenty and thirty days respectively, serving as a private both times. He was finally discharged on July 10, 1832.
On September 28, 1850, the U.S. Congress passed an act granting certain groups who had served in the United States military during the War of 1812, any of “the Indian wars” since 1790, or the Mexican War parcels of public land. Per this act, the amount of land that veterans (or their legal heirs) were entitled to depended upon the length of their engagement and actual time served. Under this act, Lincoln was entitled to forty acres of public land for the time he served as captain of the Fourth Regiment of Illinois Mounted Volunteers, and on June 1, 1855 he patented forty acres in Tama County, Iowa.
Muster Roll of Abraham Lincoln’s Company of Mounted Volunteers; Muster Roll of Abraham Lincoln’s Company of Mounted Volunteers; Muster Roll of Captain Elijah Iles’ Company of Mounted Volunteers; Muster Roll of Captain Jacob M. Early’s Company of Mounted Volunteers; Ellen M. Whitney, comp., The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832: Illinois Volunteers, vol. 35 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1970), 1:176-78, 227-30, 544-46; “An Act Granting Bounty Land to Certain Officers and Soldiers Who Have Been Engaged in the Military Service of the United States,” 28 September 1850, Statutes at Large of the United States 9 (1862):520-21; Land Warrant for Abraham Lincoln’s Black Hawk War Service; Certification of Land Warrant for Abraham Lincoln’s Black Hawk War Service; Harry E. Pratt, The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln (Springfield, IL: Abraham Lincoln Association, 1943), 67-70.
3Lincoln was prompted to make this affidavit by an additional act passed by the U.S. Congress on March 3, 1855, which declared that all those who had served in any U.S. war since 1790 were entitled to receive 160 acres of land in total. Lincoln affirmed here that he had received the forty acres he was originally entitled to in order to claim the additional 120 acres authorized by the new law. The additional 120-acre parcel of bounty land that Lincoln patented on September 10, 1860 was located in Crawford County, Iowa, 144 miles west of his Tama County land. There is no evidence that Lincoln ever received any revenue from any of his bounty lands. After his assassination, since he did not leave a will, the Tama County land passed in one-third equal divisions to Mary Lincoln, Robert T. Lincoln, and Thomas “Tad” Lincoln. The Crawford County land also passed to the remaining Lincoln family.
Earlier this same month Lincoln had attested in a similar affidavit as to the identity and service of Charles R. Pierce, who had served as a private under Lincoln in the Fourth Regiment of Illinois Mounted Volunteers, in order to assist Pierce in obtaining his own additional 120 acres of bounty lands.
“An Act in Addition to Certain Acts Granting Bounty Land to Certain Officers and Soldiers Who Have Been Engaged in the Military Service of the United States,” 3 March 1855, Statutes at Large of the United States 10 (1855):701-2; Land Warrant to Abraham Lincoln; Certification of Land Warrant to Abraham Lincoln; Certification of Location of Land Warrant for Abraham Lincoln’s Black Hawk War Service; Harry E. Pratt, The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln, 69-70.
4Josiah Francis began advertising his services in assisting veterans in obtaining additional bounty lands soon after the passage of the act of March 3, 1855, described above.
Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 16 March 1855, 2:6.
Partially Printed Document Signed, 2 page(s), TR 3138, Vault, RG 15: Veterans’ Records, 1773-1985, NAB.