Abraham Lincoln to Daniel A. Cheever, 9 August 18581
D. A. Cheever. Esq[Esquire]My dear Sir.
Yours of the 3rd was not received till last night, nor post-marked till the 6th How is that?2
Having an appointment at Havanna on the 14th I can not be at Tremont on that day–3 I will try to send S. C. Parks, of Logan Co– He is true as steel; very much of a man, and speaks finely–4
I know the difficulties in, and importance of, Tazewell county, and I shall give it all the attention I can spare from other places– Meanwhile you must all work and watch
Yours very trulyA. Lincoln5
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2Daniel A. Cheever’s letter to Lincoln of August 3, 1858, has not been located. The pair had earlier exchanged letters on July 20 and July 25, 1858 on the subject of arranging a speech by Lincoln in Tremont during the 1858 election campaign and on the importance of Tazewell County to the election. Lincoln had been nominated at the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention to run against incumbent Stephen A. Douglas to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate. At this time the Illinois General Assembly elected the state’s representatives in the U.S. Senate, thus the outcome of races for the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate were of importance to Lincoln’s campaign. Lincoln and Douglas both focused their campaign efforts on the former Whig stronghold of central Illinois, where the state legislative races were the closest.
Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 394, 400-401; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:457-58, 476-77.
3Lincoln arrived in Havana on August 13, 1858, and gave a speech there the following day.
The Republicans of Tazewell County ultimately held their convention in Tremont on the morning of August 30, 1858, and Lincoln gave a two-hour speech there at the mass meeting that followed in the afternoon.
The result of the 1858 race for Illinois House of Representatives in Tazewell County was that Democrat Robert B. M. Wilson garnered 1,955 votes, defeating Republican Richard N. Cullom who received 1,783 votes. Tazewell County was in the Seventeenth Illinois Senate district, where Democrat Samuel W. Fuller held over in the 1858 election.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 13 August 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-08-13; 14 August 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-08-14; 30 August 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-08-30; Report of Speech at Havana, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Tremont, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Tremont, Illinois; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 219, 222; The Weekly Chicago Times (IL), 11 November 1858, 2:5; The Biographical Encyclopedia of Illinois of the Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: Galaxy, 1875), 481-82; Chicago Daily Press and Tribune (IL), 5 November 1858, 1:3.
4Samuel C. Parks responded to a missing letter from Lincoln of this date indicating his willingness to campaign in Tremont. Accounts of Lincoln’s August 30, 1858, speech in Tremont do not mention that Parks was present, although Parks campaigned for Lincoln and the Republican cause in several different locations during the 1858 election.
In this context, the phrase “very much of a man” denotes an outstanding example. “Much of” is generally used in this manner regionally in the southern United States.
David Davis to Abraham Lincoln; Summary of Speech at Tremont, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Tremont, Illinois; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 7 September 1858, 2:3; 17 September 1858, 2:2, 3; Chicago Daily Press and Tribune (IL), 20 October 1858, 2:6; “much,” J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 4:44-45.
5No response to this letter from Cheever has been located. Lincoln wrote to Cheever again two days after this to convey printed copies of one of his speeches.

Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Lincoln Room, Illinois Historical Survey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Urbana, IL).