Abraham Lincoln to Jackson Grimshaw, 11 April 18581Springfield, April 11. 1858Jackson Grimshaw, Esq[Esquire]Dear Sir.
Herewith I return you the copy of deed, as you requested– I have signed your supplemental stipulation, and shall keep both with my papers of the cases till court, when I will produce them– As I understand [
this?] you wish this copy to go in evidence in order to show that, if our deed was duly
filed for record, it was not correctly recorded.2
I believe this disposes of the cases until court–3
I have not seen the political resolutions you refer to; but, I doubt not, our friends every where, act in the right spirit, and with the best judgment– We probably shall haveYours very trulyA. Lincoln5
<Page 2>a State convention early in summer, when, by mutual consultation, we can secure uniformity of action, if, indeed, any such uniformity be lacking before–4
2The documents that Lincoln discusses here were related to the case of Powell v. Ament & Beer, which involved a dispute over the ownership of land in Adams County, Illinois. The case commenced in the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of Illinois in January 1858, with Lincoln representing the plaintiff and Jackson Grimshaw as an attorney for the defendants. At issue in the case was title to property which had originally been military bounty land patented by Jabez Morse and which Jeremiah Evarts claimed to have purchased from Morse, apparently through land agents Moore, Morton & Company. Lincoln’s client claimed ownership originating in Evarts’ supposed title to the property, and the defendants traced their title through transactions that originated with Morse’s heirs. Lincoln had previously sent Grimshaw a proposed agreement in the case, which Grimshaw returned with the supplemental stipulation mentioned here, as well as a copy of a certified copy of a deed as evidence related to the supplemental stipulation. Neither the deed that Lincoln returned here nor the agreement in the case mentioned has been located, but Grimshaw summarized what stipulations relative to the above facts of the case had been agreed upon by both sides in a letter he wrote to Lincoln on behalf of the firm of Williams, Grimsahw & Williams later in the course of the lawsuit. Based on Grimshaw’s summary, the certified copy of a deed returned here was likely one that purported to convey the land in question from Cyrus True to defendant Anson C. Ament, with True having purchased from Morse’s heirs. Neither the deed nor the agreement was apparently ever filed in the case. Lincoln’s involvement in the case ended about 1860. After three trials, the case was ultimately decided in 1863 in favor of the plaintiff.
Powell v. Ament & Beer, 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://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137595; Richard Lloyd to Abraham Lincoln.
3The first trial of Powell v. Ament & Beer went to court on June 24, 1858, with Norman H. Purple appearing for the plaintiff. After hearing the evidence, Judge Samuel H. Treat declined to rule immediately and instead decided to take time to consider the matter. Judgment was not issued until January 12, 1859, when the court ruled for the defendants.
Judge’s Docket, Document ID: 64426; Order, Document ID: 64425; Judgment Docket, Document ID: 64429, Powell v. Ament & Beer, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, https://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137595.
4Delegates to the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention, which met in Springfield on June 16, 1858, adopted an anti-slavery platform similar to that of the 1856 Illinois Anti-Nebraska Convention. Grimshaw represented Adams County as a delegate at the convention.
Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 17 June 1858, 2:3, 5-6.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Lincoln W 10-A (9), Hagley Museum and Library (Wilmington, DE).