The following letter was written by Humphrey J. Comer (1819-1889) of Richmond, Missouri. He was born in Chillicothe, Rosee county, Ohio, to John Comer (1785-1865) and Polly Baker (1790-1852), and came to Missouri Territory with his parents when he was young.
Comer wrote the letter to U.S. Congressman Austin A. King—also from Richmond, Missouri—at Washington, D.C. in which he thanks King for his help in obtaining a pardon for his brother, and now asks the same favor for friends of his—two of whom he points out had formerly “had the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with the President [Lincoln], having had him employed at one time in the State of Illinois as an Attorney in a long suit in Court.”
He notes that all is “quiet” at present, but in just 8 months, the Guerilla leader, “Bloody Bill” Anderson was killed in Richmond, Mo. and buried there.
On the back is a lengthy autograph endorsement signed by Austin A. King, (1802-1870), born in Tennessee, he came to Missouri in 1830; Colonel of Militia in the Black Hawk War, 1832; Move to Richmond, MO in 1837, when he was appointed Judge of the Missouri Fifth Circuit Court, serving on the bench until 1848, and during which time he presided over the trial of Mormon Founder Joseph Smith during the 1838 Mormon War; Governor of Missouri, 1848-1853; In U.S. Congress, 1863-1865.
Congressman King endorses the request for the pardons requested by Mr. Comer in this letter (which would have to be granted by President Lincoln), and notes that “they, like very many of the men of their county, went originally into the rebellion, but voluntarily returned home & were arrested & gave bond & took the oath of allegiance & I have no doubt have lived up to it…”
February 19, 1864
Your favor covering a pardon for my brother was duly received, and delivered to my brother in a few days after I received it, which allow me to assure you places him and myself under lasting obligations to you.
And, Sir, if you could confer an additional favor upon my friends Messrs. James M. Withers, Marquis M. Withers, and John N. Carter of Lafayette County, Missouri, in the way of procuring their pardons, they together with myself will feel ourselves under obligations to return the favor at any time.
This request is made by the above named Gentlemen of my hearing that you had procured a pardon for my brother through my request. I can assure you that they are all Gentlemen, and men of influence in the County in which they reside. They, Messrs. Withers, inform me that they have formerly had the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with the President, having had him employed at one time in the state of Illinois as an Attorney in a long suit in Court. They are all men of decided conservative feelings—having given bond and strictly complied with their requirements. Please make an effort for them.
There is nothing transpiring here of interest. All quiet. There will be a rush for the gold regions in the spring equal to that of 1850. Mrs. King, I understand, is in very bad health. Mr. James R. Allen died some weeks since. The weather is intensely cold.
If you succeed in procuring the within pardons, please mail them to me at this place.
Respectfully your obt. servt.
Humphrey J. Comer
[to] Hon. Austin A. King, Washington City, D.C.
docketed on the reverse:
I endorse the request for the pardon of the within named men. They, like very many of the men of their county went originally into the rebellion, but voluntarily returned home & were arrested, & gave bond & took the oath of allegiance & I have no doubt have lived up to it. Subsequent they were indicted in U.S. Court at St. Louis for their original offense.
A. A. King , House of Reps.
They reside at Lexington, Mo.