Augustus H. Chapman to Abraham Lincoln, 24 May 18491Charleston Ills May 24th 1849Mr LincolnSir
at the special request of J D Johnsin I write you to inform you of the very Severe illness of your Father.2 He was atacked with a disease of the Heart Some time Since & for the last few days Has been getting much Worse & at this time He is very Low indeed He is very anxious to See you before He dies & I am told that His Cries for you for the Last few days are truly Heart-Rendering.3 He wishes you to come & See Him instantly if you possibly can, If you are fearfull of leaving your family on account of the Cholera & can bring them with you we would be very glad for you to bring them with you.4 the Health of our place is excelent & Harriett & I would be very glad to Have bring them with you as we are very comfortably fixed & will do all we can to render your Stay agreeable.Yours in great HasteA. H. ChapmanYou need Have no fears of your father Suffering for any thing He may need as Harriett & I will See that He Has evrything He may needA H C
2“J D Johnsin” is a misspelling of John D. Johnston, who was Abraham Lincoln’s stepbrother. Johnston also wrote to Lincoln the day after Chapman wrote this letter.
3A few days after writing this letter, Chapman wrote Lincoln again to apologize for any trouble this letter caused, since it turned out Lincoln’s father was not dying.
4There were several major outbreaks of cholera in the United States in the nineteenth century, including in 1849. That year, the outbreak reached Illinois in the spring.
Charles E. Rosenberg, The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987); G. F. Pyle, “The Diffusion of Cholera in the United States in the Nineteenth Century,” Geographical Analysis, 1:1 (January 1969), 65-67.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).