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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Terry, Oliver C. 'Oliver C. Terry to Jesse W. Weik' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: letter]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
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546. Oliver C. Terry to Jesse W. Weik.

Mt. Vernon, Ind., July 14, 1888.

Dear Sir

Your letter of inquiry, regarding the whereabouts of one "Pritchard," "a lawyey of 1828, who rode this Juditial district about that time, and an associate of Abraham Lincolns," is received, and in answer will say, that I cannot assertain from any of our old citizens any thing that would throw any light upon "Pritchard," I will say however, that the party you refer to is no doubt the Hon Judge John Pitcher of this City. I have Known this Gentleman for the last thirty five years, and will without further preamble Give you a condensed history of this Gentlemans career in this state, as give me by him, on more than one occation. Judge John Pitcher was born in the State of Connecticut, in August 1795.

The Judge informs me that he was born in the "Old Nut Meg State," about ½ mile from the old Cider Mill, where our Puritin fathers would whip the cider barrels for working on Sunday. And in the year 1819 married there, and in the year 1820, removed to Rockport Spencer County Ind. where he began the practice of law.

In 1819, Thos Lincoln father of Abraham Lincoln had settled in Spencer County on a farm not far from Rockport. Judge Pitcher soon became acquainted with the Lincoln family Abraham being yet a boy, or verry young man, would frequently call at Pitchers office at Rockport, and was very desirous to read law with Pitcher, but his family being verry poor he could not give his time off the farm, but would borrow books from Judge Pitcher and read at home during leasure hours. After the death of Lincolns mother the family moved to Ills. and Judge Pitcher left Rockport and went to Princeton Gibson Co. where he lived and practiced law until 1835, when he came to Mt Vernon Posey Co. where he has lived ever since.

Pitcher received letters occationally from his friend Lincoln, after they had left spencer County, but did not meet him again until the summer or fall of 1840, when Lincoln came to Rockport and delivered a whig Speech during the Harrison Campaign of that year. [1] Lincoln wrote Pitcher he would be at Rockport and the Judge went up and met him and heard (using the Judge's own language) "hered one of the best political speaches he ever listened to."

Pitcher and Lincoln did not meet again until 1862, when Pitcher called on him at the White House in Washington, and at that time informed Lincoln that he only called to shake hands with him and to Congratulate him upon his success in life, and upon the policy of his administration, that he was asking nothing, wanted nothing and would not accept any thing. Lincoln has written the Judge prior to this, to Know what he could do for him?

Judge Pitcher, like Lincoln, was a Whig. And in 1836 received the nomination for Congress in this (the 1st) district by his party. The Democracy nominated Ratliff Boon, who defeated Pitcher by 21 majority in the District. In 1840 the Whigs nominated Pitcher for state senator to represent Posey and Vanderburgh Cos to which office he was elected and served until 1844.

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Genl Thos G Pitcher of the Regular Army is a Son of Judge John Pitcher.

Genl Pitcher was born at Rockport Ind in 1824, entered West point in 1840 entered the Army as a 2d Lt in Inft, and served through the Mexican War — was promoted to Capt. and was under Genl Twig when the war broke out in 1861, but had wisely taken a 6 months furlough, and was here in Mt Vernon when Twig transferred his Command to the Confederacy.

Genl Pitcher did good service during the rebellion, was promoted to Col of regulars and Brigadier of Vols. Wounded in 1863 which has maimed him for life. And is now on the retired list with the rank of Col in the regular Army.

Genl Pitcher has two Sons, both 1st Lieutenants of Cavalry in the reg, Army. One an Aid on Genl Schoelds Staff.

The subject of this letter, Judge John Pitcher, (as already indicated) will be 93 years of Age next month. he tells me he feels as well as he ever did in his life, does not suffer an ake or a pain. Apetite good, sleeps sound, And, if it were not for a broken hip, received 8 years ago by a fall, he could get round as well as he had for 80 ys prior,

The Judge as stated had been a life long whig. voted for Lincoln in 1860 & 64 — but on account of family relations, in 1868 he drifted into the Democratic ranks where he has remained until now. And after 20 years of Rip Van Winkle sleep, the old Judge is awakened, and returns to his first love, and will vote for Harrison this fall.

He does not wish to be quoted, as he is dependent on his family and as he says all are "locofocos"

As to the Rev Aaron Farmer, of whom you inquire, I can assertain nothing & do not think he figured in this neck of the woods. Judge Pitcher says he has no recollection of such person.

You ask how I like Harrison & Morton nomination! It could not have been improved upon. Its thee very best could have been made and will win — We are going to return Hovey to Congress from this Dist.

Pitcher informs me, that neither he, nor Lincoln ever wrote any thing upon the subject of temperance at any time, they both had mor sense than to meddle with something they knew nothing about as the question was not agitated at that time

You must excuse this miserable written letter. I have been sick five weeks and am so nervous I can scarcely write Am a poor hand at best.

Let me hear from you at your convenience —

We have a candidate here for Supreme Judge, or will be before the republican Convention on the 8th. its Judge William P. Edson. he has made two races for it and with the rest of his ticket should defeat. Can you help us on him in the Convention?

Very respectfully
O. C. Terry

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 4636 — 40

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Terry, Oliver C. 'Oliver C. Terry to Jesse W. Weik' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: letter]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document:
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