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Davis, William D.

William D. Davis was a veteran of the Mexican War. He lost one of his hands in 1846 due to injuries suffered while serving. On October 30, 1849, Davis killed Henry W. Louthan during a fight in Coles County, Illinois. He was arrested, convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to three years in the Illinois State Penitentiary. Abraham Lincoln helped represent him during his trial and petitioned for his early release in 1853.

Petition for Pardon, Document ID: 54728, People v. Davis, 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), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=135871; Gravestone, Bagdad Cemetery, Douglas County, IL; Illinois Journal (Springfield), 14 November 1849, 4:1; Abraham Lincoln to Joel A. Matteson.