Abraham Lincoln to Anson L. Brewer, 5 November 18551Springfield, Ills. Nov. 5. 1855A. L. Brewer, Esq.[Esquire]
Would have answered sooner, but was absent– At the September Term, the defendant made fight, with apparant confidence, but the court decided for us, and we got judgment for the amount of the old judgment and interest– The main point taken, in defence was, that a bar, or a short act of Limitations, we have here, had been completed after the claim was filed, in the Probate court, but before a formal suit was brought– The court held that the filing of the claim saved the Statute bar– They took Exceptions & talk of going to the Supreme Court– That court sits in Jany[January] & I have thought it best to wait till after the first term before I begin to press for payment–2A. Lincoln
2Lincoln references a lawsuit involving James Kelly and Jesse D. Blackledge. In August 1838, Kelly sold his share of a mill in Columbiana County, Ohio, to Nathan Harris, who financed the transaction with a series of promissory notes, with Blackledge as security. Harris and Blackledge did not redeem the notes upon their maturity, and in August 1845, Kelly brought suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Columbiana County to recover the debt. In June 1847, the court rendered a judgment against Blackledge and Harris for $632.59. Blackledge failed to satisfy the judgment and moved to Logan County, Illinois. Brewer, Kelly’s attorney in Ohio, traced Blackledge to Logan County. In October 1852, Kelly retained Lincoln & Herndon and sued Blackledge in the Logan County Circuit Court to recover the debt. While the case proceeded in the Logan County Circuit Court, Blackledge died, and Kelly dismissed the case in order to file a claim against Blackledge’s estate. Kelly continued to employ Lincoln & Herndon, and in 1854, he filed a claim against David G. Evans, the executor of Blackledge's estate, in the Logan County Court. In April 1855, the court refused the claim because Kelly had not filed the claim in time. In September 1855, Kelly appealed the judgment to the Logan County Circuit Court. The September term of the court began on September 3, 1855. The court ruled for Kelly and awarded him the judgment award from Ohio. The January 1856 term of the Illinois Supreme Court commenced on January 7. Evans did not appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, and the amount of legal fees Lincoln requested is unknown.
Lincoln and Brewer first corresponded regarding this suit in November 1852. In 1855, Lincoln wrote Brewer two additional letters about this case, and Brewer wrote one additional letter.
Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 9 January 1856, 3:1; “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; Henry C. Friend, “Abraham Lincoln as a Receiving Attorney: Kelly vs. Blackledge,” Abraham Lincoln’s Commercial Practice (Chicago: Commercial Law Foundation, 1970), 21-28; Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2:161, 308-9, 315-16, 327; Kelly v. Blackledge, 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=140956; Kelly v. Evans, 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=136119; Kelly v. Evans, 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=136120; Abraham Lincoln to Anson L. Brewer; Abraham Lincoln to Anson L. Brewer; Anson L. Brewer to Abraham Lincoln.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Brown University (Providence, RI).