Oak Floor Joist from the Lincoln Home

Constructed in 1839 for Reverend Charles Dresser and later purchased in 1844 by the Lincolns, the Lincoln Home was originally a one-and-a-half story cottage with five rooms and a sleeping loft. This section of floor joist is made of wood harvested from an oak tree growing prior to the American Revolution and was removed during the National Park Service’s 1982 to 1984 restoration of the home.

Gift of Benedictine University, 2003

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Contract to Purchase the Lincoln Home

In January 1844, Abraham Lincoln began the process of purchasing the only home he would ever own. This contract, written by Lincoln and dated January 16th, 1844, stated that he would purchase the home from Reverend Charles Dresser at 8th and Jackson in Springfield for $1,200 in cash and a plot of land worth $300. The Lincolns would live in the home from May 1844 until their departure for Washington in February 1861.

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Contract between Charles Dresser and Abraham Lincoln, 16 January 1844

This memorandum witnesseth that Charles Dresser and Abraham Lincoln of Springfield Illinois, have contracted with each other as follows.

The said Dresser is to convey to, or procure to be conveyed to, said Lincoln, by a clear title in fee simple, the entire premises ^(ground and improvements)^ in Springfield, on which said Dresser now resides, on or before and give him possession of said premises, on or before the first day of April next–2 for which said Lincoln, at or before the same day, is to pay to said Dresser twelve hundred dollars, or what said Dresser shall then at his own option, accept as equivalent thereto; and also to procure to be conveyed to said Dresser, by a clear title in fee simple, the entire premises (ground and building) in Springfield, on the block immediately West of the Public square, the building on which is now occupied by H. A. Hough as a shop, being the same premises, some time since conveyed by N. W. Edwards & wife to said Lincoln & Stephen T. Logan– Said Dresser takes upon himself to arrange with said Hough for the possession of said shop and premises–

Jany 1844

Charles Dresser

A Lincoln

(signed duplicates)

Received of A Lincoln on the within seven hundred and fifty dollars, on which he is to be allowed interest at the rate of twelve per cent per annum, until the within contract is complied with, or performance offered by said Dresser; and in case said Dresser shall fail to comply with the within, we hereby bind ourselves to refund said seven hundred and fifty dollars to said Lincoln with interest at the rate of twelve per cent per annum from date–

February 5th 1844–

Charles Dresser

S. M. Tinsley

Letter Audio


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