Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 1.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Page  27

Portion of a Bill Introduced in Illinois Legislature Concerning Estrays [1]

December 6, 1834

. . . . And every person taking up an estray horse, mare or colt, shall within two months after the same is appraised provided the owner shall not have claimed his property during that time deposit with clerk of County Comr. court who shall transmit to the nearest editor of a public newspaper a particular description of such estray or estrays, and the valuation thereof, together with the name of the county and place of residence, certified by the clerk of the county commissioners court, or justice of the peace before whom such estray or estrays was appraised, to be advertised three weeks in said newspaper. [2]

SEC 3 And if no owner appears and proves his property within two years, after such publication, the property shall be vested in the taker up; nevertheless the former owner may at any time thereafter, by proveing his property, recover the valuation money.

SEC 4 And if any person shall trade, sell, or take away any such estray or estrays out of the state, for any purpose whatever, before the expiration of said two years, he or she so offending, shall forfeit and pay the sum of, one hundred and fifty dollars to be recovered by any person suing for the same in any court of record within this state having [3] cognizance thereof---the one Half to the informer and the other half to the County Treasury: and where the owner of any Estray head of neat cattle sheep hog or goat does not prove his property within twelve months after the same has been published at the door of the Court house as aforesaid, and where the valuation does not exceed Five Dollars, the property shall be vested in the taker-up but when the valuation shall exceed Five Dollars, and no owner appears within the time aforesaid, the property shall also be vested in the taker up. Nevertheless the former owner may at any time by proving his property recover the valuation thereof. [4] And it shall not be lawful for any person to take up any estray (except such as shall be herein after excepted) unless he shall be a free holder or a housekeeper. Any person finding an estray horse, mare, or colt runing at large without any of the settlements of this state may take up the same, and shall immediately take such estray or estrays before the nearest justice of the peace and make oath that he has not altered the marks or brands of such estray or estrays, since taking up; and if such taker up shall be a free holder or housekeeper, within that county it may and shall be lawful for him to post such estray orPage  28 estrays as herein before directed in this act; as if the same had been taken up on his plantation or place of residence. And when the taker up shall not be qualified as aforesaid he. . . . [5]


[1]   AD, I-Ar. This was probably Lincoln's first chore at lawmaking. John T. Stuart introduced the bill on December 6, 1834. The first one and one-half pages of the manuscript appear to be in Stuart's hand. Then come the portions which are in Lincoln's hand, except for an occasional insertion by Stuart, as given here. A third amanuensis carries on for the remainder of the manuscript, which is incomplete. The entire law as finally approved may be found in Laws of Illinois, 1835, pp. 229-35.

[2]   This paragraph is crossed out.

[3]   The rest of this sentence and the next are not in Lincoln's hand.

[4]   Lincoln's hand begins again at this point.

[5]   Remainder is not in Lincoln's hand.