Storrs, Emery A. (1833-85). Closing Argument in the Ransom Case, 1882 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
Porter C. Ransom and Henry W. Bullock were leading citizens of El Paso, Woodford County, Ill. On May 2, 1881, Ransom shot and killed Bullock. Their backgrounds differed, Ransom being "a New Yorker and loyal to the Union, while Bullock was a Kentuckian of the 'Copperhead' stripe" (Chicago Daily Tribune, Feb. 6, 1882, p. 8, col. 4). In 1868, they fell out over a local political nomination, and their feud intensified when Bullock defeated Ransom's bid to be reelected mayor of El Paso. Bullock also represented Ransom's first wife in a bitter alimony suit.
The case, The People of the State of Illinois vs. Porter G. Ransom, went to trial on Jan. 19, 1882, after a change of venue to the circuit court of Marshall County, in Lacon, Ill. "An overwhelming array of legal talent [was] employed on both sides of the case" (ibid.), including Emery A. Storrs, a renown Chicago criminal lawyer. On Feb. 5, two days after the close of arguments, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.
This collection contains a 119-page manuscript copy of Storrs' closing argument in defense of Ransom. The volume is morocco-bound, gilt-edged, and partly illuminated. Probably a presentation copy, it was acquired by the Library in 1940, and previously numbered Ms 308.