Merryman, Elias H.

Born: 1802-01-20 Baltimore, Maryland

Died: 1855-05-08 Costa Rica

Flourished: 1830-1851 Springfield, Illinois

Alternate name: Merriman

Merryman was a physician who graduated from William and Mary College in Virginia and the Baltimore Medical University. In 1822, Merryman married Susan H. Lavely, with whom he had three children. After practicing as a physician in Baltimore and St. Louis, he moved to Springfield, Illinois, in 1830. From 1831 to 1832, he enlisted in the Illinois militia fighting the Black Hawk War, serving first as a surgeon and later as an adjutant. In 1842, Merryman served as Abraham Lincoln's "second" in the altercation with James Shields that nearly resulted in a duel. Afterward, Lincoln served as Merryman's "second" in an altercation with John D. Whiteside. After nearly twenty years practicing medicine in Springfield, Merryman moved to San Francisco in 1851 and in 1855 to Costa Rica, where he began a coal mining operation. He died during a yellow fever outbreak.

Ellen M. Whitney, comp., The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832: Illinois Volunteers, vol. 35 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1970), 1:56, 406; John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 517-18; Memorandum of Duel Instructions to Elias H. Merryman; Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed.