Letter to John Johnston

Abraham Lincoln

Shelbyville

November 25, 1851

Dear Brother

Your letter of the 22nd. is just received. Your proposal about selling the East forty acres of land is all that I want or could claim for myself; but I am not satisfied with it on Mother’s account. I want her to have her living, and I feel that it is my duty, to some extent, to see that she is not wronged. She had a right of Dower (that is, that use of one third for life) in the other two forties; but, it seems, she has already let you take that, hook and line. She now has the use of the whole of the East forty, as long as she lives; and if it be sold, of course, she is intitled to the interest on all the money it brings, as long as she lives; but you propose to sell if for three hundred dollars, take one hundred away with you, and leave her two hundred, at 8 per cent, making her the enormous sum of 16 dollars a year. Now, if you are satisfied with treating her in that way, I am not. It is true, that you are to have that forty for two hundred dollars, at Mother’s death; but you are not to have it before. I am confident that land can be made to produce for Mother, at least $30 a year, and I can not, to oblige any living person, consent that she shall be put on an allowance of sixteen dollars a year. Yours &c

A. Lincoln

 

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