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David R. Atchison signs an autograph document.
Autograph Document Signed: "Atchison Atto for/Defd" on verso, 1¼p, 7¾x12½, front and verso. No place, 1839 April 20. Concerning the case of "Hill vs Allen". Atchison's client pleads not guilty to "the said supposed grievances above laid to his charge". Docked by Atchison on verso, which also bears the docket of a clerk. Lawyer David Rice Atchison (1807-1886), who began his practice of law in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri in 1829, represented Missouri in the U.S. Senate from 1841-1855, serving as President Pro Tempore of the Senate from 1846-1850 and 1852-1854. As President Pro Tem of the Senate, Atchison was third in line for the Presidency. The terms of 11th President James K. Polk and Vice President George M. Dallas ended at noon on Sunday, March 4, 1849. President-elect Zachary Taylor, a religious man, refused to take the Oath of Office on Sunday, and he and Vice President-elect Millard Fillmore were not sworn in until noon on Monday, March 5. Therefore, historians content that Atchison was President of the United States for a 24-hour period (noon, March 4-noon, March 5). Although there was a question about his "time in office", since the Senate had been dismissed and there was no President, Vice President and President Pro Tem, Atchison was the first person sworn in on inauguration day, and, as the official President Pro Temp, he actually was President until he sworn in Vice President Millard Fillmore (who was then technically President until Taylor was sworn in). Lightly creased with folds, not at signature. ¾-inch tear at mid-horizontal fold at blank right margin, ¾-inch tear at lower horizontal fold at that margin. Lightly shaded at folds. Nicked at blank left margin at mid-horizontal fold. Ink smudged at 2 words of Atchison's docket. Slightly soiled on verso. Overall, fine condition.

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Born: August 11, 1807 in Lexington, Kentucky
Died: June 26, 1886 in Gower, Missouri

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