Image of Stuart, John T.

Stuart, John T.

b. November 10, 1807, in Fayette County, Kentucky; d. November 28, 1885, in Springfield, Illinois. Stuart was Abraham Lincoln's first law partner and the first cousin of Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd. Stuart graduated from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, at the age of nineteen. He studied law in the office of Judge Daniel Breck in Richmond, Kentucky, and was admitted to the bar in 1827. Stuart came to Springfield, Illinois, when it was merely a county seat with a population of about three hundred residents, and became the town's sixth lawyer. When the Black Hawk war broke out, Stuart enlisted and served as a major. While serving in the war, Stuart met Abraham Lincoln. After the war Stuart became active in Whig party politics and served in the state legislature in 1832 and again in 1834. He formed a law partnership with Henry E. Dummer that dissolved in 1837. Stuart then formed a law partnership with Abraham Lincoln. In 1838, Stuart successfully defeated Stephen A. Douglas in a bid for a seat in Congress and was reelected in 1840. In 1841 Stuart and Lincoln dissolved their legal partnership. Stuart declined to run for reelection in 1842, and after returning from Congress, he formed a legal partnership with Benjamin Edwards that would last until his death. In 1848, he was elected to the state senate and held that position until 1852. After the Whig party dissolved, Stuart refused to join the Republican party and claimed to have no political party affiliation. Stuart did not support Lincoln's bid for the presidency. Endorsed by the Democrats, Stuart ran successfully for Congress in 1862 but lost his bid for reelection against Shelby Cullom.
Paul M. Angle, One Hundred and Fifty Years of Law (Springfield, Illinois: Brown, Hay, and Stephens, 1978), 7-43; David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995); John J. Duff, A. Lincoln: Prairie Lawyer (New York: Bramhall House, 1960); John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 21:78-79; Allen Johnson, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s & Sons, 1964), 9:2:173-74; Usher F. Linder, Reminiscences of the Early Bench and Bar of Illinois (Chicago: The Chicago Legal News Company, 1879), 347-49; Mark E. Neely Jr., The Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia (New York: McGraw Hill, 1982), 292; John Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1899), 1:187-90; Albert A. Woldman, Lawyer Lincoln (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1936). Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.