DescriptionDavid Wills, Lincoln's Host in Gettysburg, Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pages, 5" x 8", Gettysburg, Sept. 18, 1874, to the Hon. William M. Sherry regarding his chances for election. He writes, in part: "I have heard Republicans & Democrats here discussing the probabilities of your election in this Congressional District if you were an independent candidate for Congress and received the support of the Republican party of the district. It seems to be conceded by many knowing ones that you would be elected. I think there is no doubt of it. If you would consent to be a candidate the conferees of each county would have to pledge you the support of the Republican party. In this county you would get the half the democratic party in addition. Thus you would get 3000 republican and 1500 democratic votes to 1500 democratic votes for [Col. Levi] Maish which would give you 3000. Maj. Col. Maish could not carry his party vote over you in York County. You would get quite a good support there and could calculate out some in Cumberland Co. You could not be beaten. In view of the moment in which you were cheated out of the nomination you would not be bound to any way by it and would be fully justified in an independent course...I write this to you as a sincere friend and wish it to be in confidence and your reply will also be in entire confidence." The letter has the usual mail folds, and light soiling on final page, bearing no writing.
David Wills, a wealthy and influential lawyer in Gettysburg, was the driving force behind Pennsylvania's purchase of 17 acres for a cemetery to honor the fallen soldiers of the Battle of Gettysburg. It was Wills who made all of the arrangements for the dedication including the engagement of Edward Everett as the main speaker, and it was in a guest room in his home that Abraham Lincoln would finish what is perhaps one of the most famous speeches: "The Gettysburg Address".
Levi Maish would go on to win the Congressional seat that year. Maish had raised his own company in 1862, and it joined the 130th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was promoted to colonel after the Battle of Fredericksburg and would muster out at the expiration of his term in May 1863.
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