Lot #21
Abraham Lincoln

Rare 1861 appointment for the blue-collar “Chief Justice”
This lot has closed

Estimate: $0+


Rare 1861 appointment for the blue-collar “Chief Justice”

Extremely desirable partly-printed DS as president, one page, 20.75 x 16, July 26, 1861. President Lincoln appoints Christopher C. Hewitt as “Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States for the Territory of Washington.” Beautifully signed at the conclusion by President Lincoln and countersigned by Secretary of State William H. Seward. The official seal is embossed in the lower left with a paper seal affixed to the reverse. In very good condition, with intersecting folds (tiny holes at intersection), mild toning to borders, and a few small stains. Accompanied by a mat for display purposes.

At this point in time, the Washington Territory was just eight years old and by far the most remote part of the United States. The road to Hewitt's appointment to this position was highly unusual—although he was trained as a lawyer, he had been unable to make a living practicing law after arriving in Seattle in the mid 1850s and retired to become a mechanic, working to make oxen yokes. When a local mill needed legal representation they found Hewitt, who managed to win the drawn-out case. His brief on appeal was so impressive that Washington took notice, and, finding him legally qualified and politically fit, Lincoln tendered him the position of chief justice. Despite being well-respected as a judge, Hewitt retired after the expiration of his four-year term in order to take up farming. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs and Artifacts
  • Dates: #444 - Ended January 14, 2015

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA DNA Precertified Letter
Buy a third-party letter of authenticity for $150.00

*This item has been pre-certified by a trusted third-party authentication service, and by placing a bid on this item, you agree to accept the opinion of this authentication service. If you wish to have an opinion rendered by a different authenticator of your choosing, you must do so prior to your placing of any bid. RR Auction is not responsible for differing opinions submitted 30 days after the date of the sale.