Samuel A. Harvey to Abraham Lincoln, 15 May 18581Middletown May 15 1858Mr LincolnSir
the information that we want to Gain from the land Ofice is When the Entry was maid at Danvill of the south half of lot No. two of the NW[Northwest] fractional quarter of fractional section 7 in T[Township] 19 North of Range 9 E[East] Containing 4242/100 Acres allso the South East Quarter of the NE[Northeast] Quarter of Section 12 in T 19 North of Range 8 East Containing 40 acres Entry Maid by me Samuel A. Harvey2 No of Certificate 11039-11040 A Certified Copy together with the information you Got at Danvill from the Probate ofice in the Petition of Partition of the Estait of Harvey Stearns Deceised and Give me all other necesercy information in the Case to bee in Rediness for a triall
Should we take the Depisition before Cort.3No more but Remain yoursS A Harvey
2Harvey purchased the land in question in Champaign County, Illinois on May 27, 1850, at the price of $1.25 per acre.
Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales, Champaign County, 237:68, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL.
3If Abraham Lincoln wrote a response to this letter it has not been located. Henry C. Whitney wrote Lincoln concerning this case on November 12, 1858. No other correspondence pertaining to this case has been located.
Harvey is discussing facts related to the case, Harvey et al. v. Campbell et al. In the case, Harvey sued Archa Campbell and others in the Champaign County Circuit Court for fraud related to lands that Harvey purchased in 1850. In 1852, Harvey gave Campbell power of attorney to sell 42.42 acres of land that Harvey claimed belonged to his two children. In 1853, Campbell sold the land to Moses P. Snelling for $1,000, and, in 1856, Snelling sold the land back to Campbell for $2,000. Campbell subsequently sold half the land to John Condit Smith for $5,000 and the other half of the land to Andrew J. Galloway for $3,750. The land had increased in value after a railroad depot was constructed nearby. When Harvey returned to the area in 1856, he retained Lincoln and sued Campbell and others, claiming that he had not received any of the proceeds of the land sales and that Campbell sold the land for less than it was worth.
All of the defendants—save Campbell—defaulted, and Campbell responded that he had never intended to defraud Harvey. In October 1859, the Champaign County Circuit Court ruled for Harvey, awarding him $3,792 in damages. However, in April 1860, the court ordered the case stricken from the docket. Harvey appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, asserting that the Champaign County Circuit Court struck the case before the final decree, should have voided the land sales, and should not have allowed a default. In January 1863, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s judgment and remanded the case back to the Champaign County Circuit Court. In April 1863, on Harvey’s motion, the circuit court dismissed the remanded case.
Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales, Champaign County, 237:68, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Decree, Document ID: 47994, Harvey et al. v. Campbell et al., 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), https://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136542; Harvey et al. v. Campbell et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, https://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136544; Harvey et al. v. Campbell et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, https://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136543.
Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s) Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).