1813 ADS Court Summons with Connections to Abraham Lincoln by an Elizabethtown, Kentucky Pioneer

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On offer is an 1813 ADS, being a summons to appear at Hardin Circuit Court by Ben Helm (1779-1858), who was Clerk of Hardin County Court and Circuit Court at the time. It was in relation to a conviction against Christopher Bush (1730-1813) and Ichabod Radley (1774-1847). The two men owed damages to Joseph Stover, another Kentucky pioneer. SEE BIO NOTES ON HELM and BUSH FOLLOWING THE LISTING. 

The summons refers to a March 13, 1809 judgment against Bush and Radley, handed down by Judge Stephen Ormsby (1759-1844) and assistant judge Samuel Haycraft (1752-1823). The 1809 judgment is described here:

“Judgment of that Court had recovered against Christopher Bush and Ichabod Radley one penny Damage and twelve dollars and sixteen cents as well for the costs of a certain Ejectment brought by the said Joseph Stoves against the said Christopher Bush and Ichabod Radley as for his Damage in that suit expenses, where of the said Christopher Bush and Ichabod Radley are convicted…”

The summons goes on to explain that, “Execution of the said judgment still remains to be made…”. 

Since Christopher Bush passed away in January of 1813 and made his son, Christopher, and his wife, Hannah, Executors of his will, they are summoned to appear on “the first day of [the Court’s] next June term”.

The back of the document indicates that this summons was executed on Christopher Bush Jr. on April 28, 1813 and on Hannah Bush on May 14, 1813. It is important to note that Bush Jr. would become Abraham Lincoln’s uncle. 


BEN HELM (1779-1858) was a pioneer, soldier, and noted for his success as an Indian fighter. Major Ben Helm was the uncle of John Larue Helm, governor of Kentucky and grandfather of Confederate General Ben Hardin Helm who married Emilie Todd, sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. Ben Helm, married Mary Edwards, the daughter of Benjamin Edwards and was a sister of Governor Ninian Edwards. It was the governor's son and namesake who married Elizabeth Todd, sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. Thus there was a connection with Mary Todd Lincoln on both sides of Ben Helm's family. Ben Helm was a prominent citizen of Elizabethtown who served as a merchant and bank president. He was County Surveyor and was a member of the Town Board, Clerk of Hardin County Court and the Circuit Court and a major in the War of 1812. He as County Surveyor and the first to survey Elizabethtown, the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Helm built the first brick house in Elizabethtown that became an important social and meeting center of town. On May 28, 1860, Abraham Lincoln referred to Ben Helm in a letter to Samuel Haycraft. Ben Helm also became the owner of the Christopher Bush farm. It was Bush's daughter Sarah that became Abraham Lincoln's step-mother when Abe's mother, Nancy Hanks died of milk disease. (BIO CREDIT: Raynor’s Historical Collectible Auctions)

CHRISTOPHER BUSH (1730-1813) was said to have been born in Holland, and came to America circa 1750, and to Kentucky at the end of the Revolutionary War. Thomas Lincoln [Abe's father] was probably more involved with Bush and his children than anyone else in Kentucky. Bush was a farmer, a constable of Hardin County, and Captain of Patrollers. Thomas Lincoln served as a patroller under him. Christopher's son Isaac had a close relationship with Thomas, having made a flatboat  trip with him to New Orleans [1806]. He lent him money and sold Tom the Sinking Spring farm where the future president was born. And, of course, Christopher's daughter, Sarah, married Abe's father and raised young Abraham Lincoln. Anything by or about the Bush family from Kentucky should be considered quite rare. An unusual opportunity for the Lincoln collector. Because Christopher had died a few months earlier his wife Hannah  appeared with her son Christopher Jr. appeared. He would become Abe Lincoln's uncle. (BIO CREDIT: East Coast Books). 

This ADS, contains two pages of text on either side of a single sheet. It measures approx  7-1/2 x 13-1/4 in. It is in very good condition, save for some age toning, fold marks and micro-tears at the seams. Overall VG. 

Please don't hesitate to contact us for more information or to request photos. (Kindly include the SKU, listed on this page above the price, in your e-mail so we can more easily answer your questions.)

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