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28. William W. Thomas to William H. Herndon.

Jacksonville 16 June 1865.

D. Sr. — I answer your note of yesterday. —

I was Elected Circuit Judge of 1 Circuit in February 1839. my Commission bears date 26 February 1839. up to 23 Feby 1839 the 1 circuit was composed the counties of Sangamon, Morgan, Greene, Macoupin, Tazewell McLean, Macon, see acts of 1837 p 112. Logan was Judge until Spring of 1837. he resigned, & Govr. Duncan appointed William Brown, — The Legislature met in June or July '37 & Elected Jesse B Thomas. In 1838 — 9. Thomas was Elected comsr. of the Board of public works, and I was Elected Judge as his Successor, — 23 Feby '39, the 8 Circuit was created (See acts of 1839 page 155.) composed of Sangamon, Macon, McLean, Tazewell, Menard, Logan, Dane & Livingston, & Logan was Elected Judge, The first circuit was composed of Morgan, Cass, Pike, Calhoun, Green Scott & Macoupin, Logan resigned shortly after his Election, and Judge Treat was


appointed by Govr. Carlin. I held the court in March '39 in Sangamon, for Judge Logan, and again in the Summer, for Judge Treat, In the fall of 1839 I held the courts in Tazewell & McLean, — While Judge Treat held courts for me in Macoupin, Scott & I believe Cass, —

Mr Lincoln did not attend the courts in my circuit regularly. — he was at our court in Pike, — several Terms in Morgan, — he was at the courts in Tazewell & McLean, — and in the latter court, made one of the best speeches he ever made in defence of an old Indian Indicted for Burning a Steam Mill.

I ceased to be judge upon the passage of the Law of 1840 & 1 Abolishing circuit courts, & requiring Supreme Judges to hold cir Courts. — (See the Law — I became acquainted with Mr Lincoln first in the Spring of 1832 at Beardstown acting Capt. of a company going to the Black Hawk War of that year, —

Mr Lincoln was remarkable for liberality, fairness and honesty in his practice as Attorney. —

Your friend
W W Thomas.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2190; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:437 — 38



1. Laws of Illinois, 1836 — 1837, 111 — 13.

2. Laws of Illinois, 1838 — 1839.