Upon President Lincoln's death, his son Robert Lincoln sent a telegraph to David Davis, Justice of the United States Supreme Court and a close friend of the president's. The message was simple, Robert requested Justice Davis to take charge of his father's affairs.
Wasting no time, Davis went to Washington to be there for the family. Together, Robert and his mother, Mary, issued a letter to the Judge of the Sangamon County Court in Illinois. Their request was to have the Judge appoint Davis as the administrator of Lincoln's estate.
In his opening court briefing, Davis estimated the president's estate to be worth $85,000. The money would be split between Mary and the two boys, Robert and Thomas. What would wind up happening is a two-year legal process.
The court case was finally closed in November of 1867, the sum of $110,974.62 ($200,000 today) shall be divided among the three surviving family members at $36,991.54 each. David Davis did not charge the estate any fees, charges, or attorney costs. Months later, Mary and Robert separately sent letters to Davis thanking him for how he handled Abraham's affairs and for his generosity.
What's ironic was that President Lincoln, being a lawyer, and having all his ailments, didn't have a will. The family would have avoided two years of Probate.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.