Gere, Asa O. Letter, 1941 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
This collection consists of a letter from Asa O. Gere to Clayton Daugherty of Champaign, Illinois.
Asa O. Gere (1846-1941) was born in Covington, Indiana. When Gere was four, his family moved to Urbana, Illinois, where they operated a hotel known as "Gere House." Abraham Lincoln stayed at the hotel during his frequent visits to Urbana as a lawyer on the Champaign Circuit Court. In 1861, at the age of fifteen, Gere enlisted in the 26th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company I. After the war, he worked as a newspaper printer, railroad engineer, farmer, and contractor. Gere was an early settler of Stafford, Kansas--he moved there in 1877 and remained until his death in 1941. Clayton Daugherty (1899-1990) was a Lincoln collector and researcher who lived most of his life in Champaign County, Illinois. He spent many years studying the law career of Abraham Lincoln, focusing on his legal work in Urbana, Illinois.
This collection contains a dictated letter from Asa O. Gere, written by his secretary, Jessie E. Richardson, and sent to Clayton Daugherty. The letter was written January 7, 1941, just two months before Gere's death. In it, Gere recalled how Abraham Lincoln would stay at his family's hotel during his visits to Urbana, Illinois. During his stays, Gere would sit on Lincoln's lap and chat. Gere also reminisced about growing up in Illinois and his service in the Civil War, stating "having known Abraham Lincoln when a small boy, I was determined to respond to Lincoln's call for Volunteers." At the time of the letter, Gere was ninety-four years old and the Senior Aide-de-Camp of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Clayton F. Daugherty loaned the letter to the Illinois Historical Survey for photocopying in 1974. It was later donated to the Library by Ossie Daugherty, wife of Clayton F. Daugherty, in 2002.