An affidavit signed by Abraham Lincoln for the Circuit Court of the United States, District of Illinois on July 11, 1854. Relating to the case of his client Charles Ballance vs. Robert Forsyth. Written in a secretarial hand, the legal document requests the postponement of the case until after the new year.
Charles Ballance was both litigant and attorney in several United States Supreme Court cases involving title to Peoria lots confirmed to early French inhabitants by an Act of Congress in 1784. As Americans moved west in the early 19th century, real estate speculation resulted in the dispossession of Peoria’s French residents through questionable methods, with people arrested and evicted from their homes, including the father of Robert Forsyth. By the 1840s, claims by dispossessed families were still being processed, while the land remained in the possession of new landowners, such as Charles Ballance. Forsyth and Ballance fought in court for nearly 17 years when Ballance finally agreed to pay Forsyth $31,000 in return for rights to all his land in old French Peoria. Abraham Lincoln was associated with Ballance in at least two of these cases.