To Thomas Meharry 
Dear Sir. April 21. 1857
Owing to absence from home your letter of the 6th. was received only two days ago. The land in question, as I suppose, is the two dollar and a half land, and my opinion is that there can be no lawful preemptions on those lands, based on a settlement made after, the allotment of those lands, in 1852 or 3 I think. If I am right inPage 394 this opinion, your entry is valid, and you can recover the land. I suppose yours, and your brother's adversary, are in possession; and if so, I would advise suits in Ejectment to be brought in the U. S. court, at Springfield. I can not tell in advance what fee I would charge, because I can not know the amount of trouble I may have. If the pre-emptioners have had patents issued to them, the cases, as I think, can still be managed, but they will be a good deal more troublesome.
If you conclude to have suits brought, & to engage me to bring them, call and see me at Springfield, from the 5th. to 10th. of May, at which time you will probably find me at home. I mention this, because I am absent a good deal. Yours, truly A. LINCOLN---
 ALS, owned by Vinton Meharry, Lebanon, Indiana. A draft of his letter to Lincoln, April 6, 1857, preserved along with Lincoln's reply, indicates that Thomas Meharry, a resident of Pleasant Hill, Indiana, had ``boug[h]t or entered a qu[a]rter Section of land at the sale of public lands at Danville Illanois on November the 24th. 1855 . . . in Champaign County Illanoise.'' On August 17, 1855, two pre-emptions had been made on the same piece of land and ``one of them has proven up and entered the land again. . . .'' Meharry wanted to know whether Lincoln would take his case, and possibly a similar case for his brother James Meharry, and for what fee.