Abraham Lincoln to Adam Adams, 19 January 18531Springfield, Jany 19. 1853.Mr Adam Adams.Dear Sir:
The Judge this morning, decided our case against us– I paid the cost, and took a new trial– It will not be tried again until next summer term– Feeling more than an ordinary interest for you, in this case, it is my opinion, you should be on hand, with your witnesses next summer, so as to get a trial, the record of which, shall be in the best possible form to go to the Supreme Court– In addition to what we proved before ^about possession,^ I want to get in such circumstances as shall make it almost, or quite certain, that you had no ^actual^ notice of Kemper's judgment, when you bought, and took possession of the land– I think it may be important to make this point of "want of actual notice" distinctly– When you receive this, let Mr Bovey know of it–2Yours trulyA. Lincoln–
<Page 2>SPRINGFIELD [Ill.]
3Mr Adam AdamsGrand De TourOgle CountyIllinois.
2Lincoln 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, Thomas J. 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. By virtue of an act promulgated in March 1839, the losing party in an ejectment case was entitled to one new trial simply by paying the court costs, and Adams and Bovey paid the costs and 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. 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, 2 page(s), Newberry Library (Chicago, IL).