Abraham Lincoln to Thomas J. Turner, 26 April 18501
38.Springfield, April 26, 1850.Hon: Thos J. Turner:Dear Sir:
I came home from the circuit four days ago, and found your letter in waiting–2 To-day I made some corrections of mistakes in the descriptions of the land and filed the Bill– Process is issued– In this court we can not bring in non-resident defendants by publication as we do in the State courts, but I service can be had on Kemper, as he was here a few days since, and has gone to the Rock River country looking after this very land– If not, I suppose both he and Bradshaw will enter their appearance–In haste, yours as everA. Lincoln3
2Thomas J. Turner’s letter has not been located.
Lincoln was away from Springfield traveling the Eighth Judicial Circuit from April 6 to April 22.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 6 April 1850, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1850-04-06; 22 April 1850, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1850-04-22.
3Lincoln is referencing a lawsuit involving John H. Kemper, Adam Adams, and John Bovey. 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 Adams and 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, and Adams and Bovey 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 a letter to Turner, Lincoln first became involved in the lawsuit in December 1849. In a letter dated February 8, 1850, Lincoln noted that there were some mistakes in the description of the land in Turner’s bill of chancery sent to Lincoln in a letter dated December 5, 1849. Lincoln requested an accurate description of the land, which Turner must have provided in a letter Lincoln received on April 22, 1850.
Between 1850 and 1858, Lincoln wrote Turner nine letters relating to this case. He also corresponded with Adams, Bovey, and Cumins.
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.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Stephenson County Historical Society (Freeport, IL).