Acme Hay Harvester Company Had Ties to Abraham Lincoln

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Patent drawing for Jonathan Haines’ first grain header.
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An 1860 political campaign button for Abraham Lincoln’s first U.S. presidential campaign. One side features a portrait of Lincoln while the other side has a portrait of vice presidential nominee Hannibal Hamlin.

Here’s an interesting side note to the Acme Hay Harvester Company story.

During the time that Jonathan Haines was building the Illinois harvester in Pekin, Ill., he retained Abraham Lincoln, who was then practicing law in Springfield, Ill., to represent him in several cases.

In a letter dated June 9, 1859, Lincoln writes:

Jonathan Haines, Esq.

Dear Sir: I have just come home and found your letter of May 30th. I have done nothing further with the Rugg case. How Dickey keeps that matter hanging along I do not comprehend. I do believe it would be better all around to let me surrender both your cases to some lawyer at Chicago. I really cannot give them proper attention.

Lincoln was, of course, preparing to mount his presidential campaign at that time. After some more discussion of the Rugg suit, Lincoln continues:

I have received of Fox one hundred dollars – being fifty at each of two different times – and credited it on one of your notes.

Yours truly A. Lincoln

A Springfield hardware merchant named Benjamin F. Fox had owed money to Haines and been sued by Lincoln. The $100 was a settlement in the case. There’s no record of what the Rugg case was all about. FC

Read more about the Acme Hay Harvester Company: “Acme Hay Harvester Company: Giant Among Farm Equipment Manufacturers Nearly Lost to Farm History.”
Sam Moore grew up on a farm in western Pennsylvania. He now lives in Salem, Ohio, and collects antique tractors, implements and related items. Contact Sam by e-mail at
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