• Federalist, Wisconsin Pioneer Gen. William Smith Asked To Render Legal Opinion On Early Turnpike Co.

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    One-page, ALS, 7 ½ x 12, May 1, 1822, Lewistown, from David Milliken to the notable GENERAL WILLIAM RUDOLPH SMITH, requesting a legal opinion for the stockholders of the Lewistown and Huntington Turnpike Road Company. Also includes a 2 pp (attached) legal document regarding the election of officers to the company.  And, finally, a 2 pp, 7 ¾ x 12 ¾, partially completed, but unsigned, property document regarding a lot in the Borough of Huntingdon, involving William Smith, D.D.

    The ALS reads, in small part, “The foregoing statement and questions contain the most important points in dispute between the persons concerned & interested in the company to which it has reference, we wish you to give us your opinion and also if you can, let us have the opinion of some of gentlemen of Philadelphia learned in the laws...”

    The Lewistown and Huntingdon Turnpike Road Company was organized and incorporated under the act of March 4, 1807, and constructed the road between these two boroughs. The Legislature, in an act passed March 26, 1821, making appropriations for the improvement of the roads and streams of the state and authorized the Governor to subscribe for three hundred and forty shares of the stock of this company.

    WILLIAM RUDOLPH SMITH (August 31, 1787 – August 22, 1868) was an American lawyer, politician and historian from Pennsylvania who served as the 5th Attorney General of Wisconsin, the first President of the Wisconsin Historical Society and the first Adjutant General of Wisconsin. He was one of the early developers of Wisconsin Territory. Smith was also a Federalist member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Senate and served for many years in the Pennsylvania Militia, including as Colonel of the 62nd Pennsylvania Reserves in the War of 1812. He led the regiment in support of the Erie Campaign and the Battle of Lundy’s Lane.

    He was among the defenders at the Battle of Baltimore, witnessed the disastrous Battle of Bladensburg and the subsequent burning of Washington, DC. He rose to the rank of Major General. In 1837, Smith was appointed commissioner for the United States, along with Wisconsin Territory Gov. Henry Dodge, to negotiate with the Chippewa to purchase their lands in the forests around the Upper Mississippi River.  His negotiations with the Chippewa ultimately resulted in a treaty, which enabled the United States to acquire most of the territory of modern-day Minnesota.

    RICHARD MOORE SMITH (October 1, 1828 – May 24, 1888) was born in Pennsylvania, the son of William Rudolph Smith, and moved with his parents to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, in 1837. He served as Chairman of the Committee on Railways.

    Folds, toning. A couple of small fold tears. Seal tear affecting a few words. Stampless cover addressed to General William R. Smith at Witmers Tavern in Philadelphia, care of Richard Smith, Esq. Attorney at Law, Philadelphia. 

    Fine example of early Pennsylvania turnpike history.

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