EDITOR’S BRIEFCASE BY RICHARD LEE STAVINS, ACTING EDITOR-IN-CHIEF 10 Intriguing Facts About Abraham Lincoln
EDITORIAL BOARD EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Justice Michael B. Hyman Illinois Appellate Court
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Anne Ellis Proactive Worldwide, Inc.
SUMMARY JUDGMENTS EDITOR Daniel A. Cotter Howard and Howard Attorneys PLLC YLS JOURNAL EDITORS Daniel J. Berkowitz Illinois Attorney General’s Office Kruti Patel Charles Wintersteen Law Group Kaitlin King Hart David Carson LLP Carolyn Amadon Samuel, Son & Co. Amy Cook The Farmer Chef Alliance Nina Fain Janet Sugerman Schirn Family Trust Anthony F. Fata Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP Clifford Gately Hinshaw & Culbertson Jasmine Villaflor Hernandez Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Lynn Semptimphelter Kopon Kopon Airdo LLC John Levin Kathryn C. Liss DePaul University College of Law Bonnie McGrath Law Office of Bonnie McGrath Clare McMahon Law Office of Clare McMahon Pamela S. Menaker Clifford Law Offices Peter V. Mierzwa Law Bulletin Media Kathleen Dillon Narko Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Adam J. Sheppard Sheppard Law Firm, PC Richard Lee Stavins Robbins, Saloman & Patt, Ltd. Caryn Suder
A braham Lincoln undoubtedly was Illinois’ greatest lawyer. February 12, 2020 being the 211th anni- versary of his birth, here are some obscure and occasionally intriguing facts about Honest Abe: • He was the first American president born outside the original 13 states ‒ as was his nemesis, Jefferson Davis, first and only president of the Confederacy. Both were born in the same state, Kentucky, one year and 100 miles apart. • In 1832, Lincoln served in the Illinois militia during the Black HawkWar, but saw no combat. He was elected captain of his regiment by his fellow troops for his one- month term of enlistment. After the month, he was mustered out and then re-enlisted as a private and never rose above that rank. At the same time, Jefferson Davis was a Lieutenant in the same Black Hawk War. • The officer who mustered Lincoln out of the Illinois militia when each of his two terms of enlistment expired was Colonel Robert Anderson. As students of Civil War history know, Anderson was the command- ing officer at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in 1861 when (and where) the Civil War began. • Lincoln’s grandfather, also named Abraham Lincoln, was a captain in the Virginia militia during the Revolutionary War. As students of early American geog- raphy know, at the time of the Revolution what later became Kentucky was a part of Virginia, which then ran due west to the Mississippi River. • Lincoln was elected to only one federal office before being elected president. He served one two-year term in 1849-51 in the U.S. House of Representatives. At the
same time, Jefferson Davis (him again!) was a U.S. Senator. • Contrary to legend, Lincoln was not a political failure before his election to the presidency in 1860. In addition to his one term in Congress, he was elected to four terms in the Illinois legislature. • The only president to hold a U.S. Patent was Abraham Lincoln. It was for a device to lift steamboats off of sandbars, and was never a commercial success. In those days, patent applications had to be accom- panied by a miniature working model of the invention. Lincoln’s model still exists today, and is in the custody of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. • Although Lincoln may or may not have represented indigent clients (the stories go both ways), he definitely repre- sented the Illinois Central Railroad, the biggest and wealthiest client in the state at the time. His typical fee for each matter for the IC was $5,000 ‒ a small fortune at the time. • Lincoln started poor, but he sure didn’t end up that way. When he died in 1865, the value of his probate estate exceeded $100,000. Converting that to 2020 dollars is inexact, but a reasonable ratio is 15 to 1. • Lincoln never attended any law school, or any college, or any high school. He had one year of formal school ‒ in what we would call today an elementary school. He became a lawyer by studying law in the offices of other lawyers in Springfield, and then successfully passing the bar exam, on the first try, we might add. The source for much of this column: A Lincoln Treasure Trove by Fred Antil.
Loyola University Chicago Rosemary Simota Thompson Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr. Circuit Court of Cook County
THE CHICAGO BAR ASSOCIATION Sharon Nolan Director of Marketing
6 January/February 2020
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