The project acknowledges with deep appreciation the
generosity of the following contributors:
Research Associate John A. Macaulay resigned from
his position with the project at the end of February. Macaulay
worked for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln at the Library of
Congress in Washington, DC, and at the National Archives
in College Park, Maryland. His primary responsibility was
editing scanned images of Lincoln documents prepared by
Library of Congress staff. Macaulay has accepted a faculty
position at Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina,
beginning in the fall. The project staff wishes him the best in
his future endeavors.
Associate Director John Lupton assisted the PBS
television series The History Detectives regarding a purported
Lincoln signature. While he will not appear on camera for
this upcoming episode, Lupton helped to provide samples
of Lincoln’s signature to a forensic document examiner.
David B. Miller in memory of O. J. Keller Jr.
Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
Scribes, American Society of Legal Writers
Raymond H. Williams
extant.”4 This long-lost letter is the one that appeared on
eBay in February.
The text of Lincoln’s letter of recommendation
(pictured below), written to Secretary of the Interior Thomas
Ewing, is as follows.5
Springfield, Ills. Decr 15, 1849.
Hon: T. Ewing.
I understand Mr G. W. Rives of Edgar county, Ills. is an
applicant for an Indian Agency; and I wish to say that, while I
think his appointment will be generally acceptable to the whigs, it
will certainly be gratifying to me.
Your Obt Servt
Editors from the Papers of Abraham Lincoln scanned
Lincoln’s letter to Rives at the Rosenbach Museum and
Library in Philadelphia in May 2007. Mr. McAvoy sent the
project a scan of Lincoln’s letter to Ewing in March of this
year. Now, after more than a century and a half of separation,
the two letters that Lincoln sent to Rives, one now in
Philadelphia and the other in Seattle, are reunited virtually in
the Papers of Abraham Lincoln.
George W. Rives was an active
supporter of Lincoln’s bid for the United
States Senate in 1858. After the election of a
majority of Democratic representatives to the
state legislature in November, Rives
immediately wrote to Illinois Secretary of
State Ozias M. Hatch, “now I am for Lincoln
for the nomination for president in 1860!” A
few days later, Rives wrote to offer Lincoln a
“word of consolation & comfort.” Rives was
proud that Republicans did their “whole duty” in Edgar
County by electing Republicans to the state legislature. Rives
concluded his letter by assuring Lincoln that “we stand ready
to aid you in 1860. We are for You first, &, last. . . . No man
never had Such friends in Edgar as you have! Can we do
you any Good[?] Command us & we will obey. We await
your Command.”6 Rives also worked for Lincoln’s election
to the Presidency in 1860. On August 28, 1862, Lincoln
appointed Rives as the Assessor of Taxes for the Seventh
Collection District of Illinois.7
By Daniel W. Stowell, Director/Editor
1 U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Edgar
County, IL, 203.
2 George W. Rives to Abraham Lincoln, 25 April 1849, Robert Todd Lincoln
Collection of Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress, Washington,
DC; Abraham Lincoln to George W. Rives, 7 May 1849, Roy P. Basler et
al., eds., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 8 vols. (New Brunswick,
NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2:46.
3 Abraham Lincoln to George W. Rives, 15 December 1849, Rosenbach
Museum and Library, Philadelphia, PA.
4 Basler et al., Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 2:69.
5 Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing, 15 December 1849, Private Collection.
6 George W. Rives to Ozias M. Hatch, 5 November 1858, Ozias M. Hatch
Papers, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield,
IL; George W. Rives to Abraham Lincoln, 15 November 1858, Robert
Todd Lincoln Collection.
7 Appointment of George W. Rives as Assessor of Taxes for the Seventh
Collection District of the State of Illinois, 28 August 1862, Record Group
56, Entry 234, Commissions Issued to Major Treasury Officers, 1797-
1901, National Archives College Park, College Park, MD.
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