Joshua W. Ross to Abraham Lincoln, 8 June 18491
Confidential.Vandalia, Illinois, June 8th, 1849.Hon A. LincolnDear Sir;
Having learned from Doct Herrick that, you are in Washington City I have seen fit to address you a line, and being somewhat acquainted acquinted with you, personally, and well acquainted with all your public life, I hope will be sufficient excuse for my intrusion.2
You are ^aware^ I suppose, that Col Remann is an applicant for 'Register of lands,' at this place, and that some of his friends are doing all in their power, to get Col[Colonel] Remann appointed; well sir, you have learned ere this, that a Mr Kennaday is figuring in the case and in fact he is the only person that is doing any thing, and there is nothing but what he will do in this case to help Remann,
The fact is Remann is entirely unfit for the station, not being able to write a dozen words in the English language, (I refer you to a letter in the hands of Sect Ewing,) and this Kennaday expects a clerkship in the Office. Not only so, but he is also axious to defeat Col Stopp who is an applicant. and to do this, he has reported
<Page 2>in the different counties, that Col, Stopp is not an applicant, and is geting up petitions, in every neighbourhood, signed (mostly) by persons of scarce any or no influence at all, at the same time thinking or believing from Kennaday's representations that Col Stopp is not an applicant, Col Stopp does not choose to seek aid, by running over the country in order to obtain names to paper, if he did choose to do so, he could, I assure you, present a string that would astonish Remann & fi his friend Kennaday Now sir, I hope you will bear with me, and I will tell you why all this false acqusation and strong opposition to Col Stopp.3
You are no doubt, knowing to Kennaday's having in his possession, a "Printing Press" owned by the "Whig Party" (or some 1/2 doz[dozen] persons for the use of the Whigs of this portion of the state, Col Hodge in his lifetime, transferred his right, title & intrest, in said press to Doct McCurdy, and Kennaday sued, and obtained the value of the press, for those persons, and as McCurdy held a mortgage on Kennadays farm the value of the press was settled in that way, and Kennaday promised, faithfully that, when he sold the farm, here mentioned he would again replace the press in the hands, (or for the use of those concerned
the farm was sold and the money squandered
<Page 3>and Kennaday refused to pay over one dime to Either of those concerned.–4
12 years ago 18 18 months ago, Kennaday was a candidate for Probate Justice, and this Press matter was used against him, by Col Stopp and others, and this is what has caused so much abuse of Col Stopp and nothing else.
I do not hesitate in saying that Col Reman is totally unfit for the office, and his appointment would only give the "Democracy" room to complain of the bad appointments of the Administration,
I need not say any thing in regard to Col Stopp, you know him, he is "honest and capable" in Every respect and will, if appointed, give general satisfaction,5I am, dear sir
Respectfully yours &c[etc]J. W. Ross P. M[Post Master] at Vandalia Ills[Illinois]
This, in Confidence.P. S.
for the truth of my assertions in regard to this press matter, I refer you to Col J. W. Berry Cir, Clk,[Circuit Clerk]– Col R Blackwell (who has a share in the press) Doct[Doctor] Thos Wilkins,– N, M, McCurdy and 1/2 of the Whigs of this County.R.
2Ross addressed Abraham Lincoln in Washington, DC, because Lincoln, at the urging of William H. Henderson and Josiah Lucas, Lincoln supporters living in Washington, DC, had decided to travel to the nation’s capital to personally lobby for the position of commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. Justin H. Butterfield, James L. D. Morrison, and Cyrus Edwards were among the early contestants to replace Richard M. Young, the incumbent. Lincoln entered the competition after learning that Butterfield was favored over Morrison and Edwards. On June 9, Butterfield wrote Lincoln suggesting that neither go to Washington. Lincoln did not respond to this suggestion, and on June 10, both set out for the capital. Lincoln arrived on or before June 19. See the General Land Office Affair. William H. Henderson to Abraham Lincoln; William H. Henderson to Abraham Lincoln; Josiah M. Lucas to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Robert C. Schenck; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 10 June 1849, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1849-06-10; 19 June 1849, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1849-06-19.
3Frederick Remann and James T. B. Stapp were vying to become register of the U.S. General Land Office in Vandalia. Lincoln received several letters endorsing Remann, and on May 29, Remann himself wrote Lincoln requesting his recommendation.
James Kennaday was seeking to hurt Stapp’s candidacy by charging that Stapp was not a Whig. On April 23, 1849, Stapp wrote Lincoln refuting Kennaday’s claims. Kennaday himself wrote Lincoln on May 2, to state his case against Stapp. In a letter to Lincoln dated June 11, Stapp further vindicated himself, emphasizing the almost unanimous support of Whigs in Fayette County and other counties in his congressional district.
4Stapp references the Vandalia Free Press and Illinois Whig.
History of Fayette County, Illinois (Philadelphia: Brink, McDonough, 1878), 40; Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, vol. 6 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1910), 342.
5Stapp would receive the appointment and hold the position until at least 1851.
Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1849 (Washington, DC: Gideon, 1849), 137; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1851 (Washington, DC: Gideon, 1851), 141; Illinois Journal (Springfield), 11 July 1849, 1:6; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 4 September 1850, 2:4.
Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).