Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
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To Thomas Meharry [1]

Thomas Meharry, Esq Urbana Ills.
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---


[1]   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.

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