General James Shields

This statue of General James Shields is in front of the Carroll County Courthouse in Carrollton, Missouri

The following you are about to read is from the book "Abraham Lincoln's Stories and Speeches", published by Rhodes & McClure Pub. Co., in 1897

The Lincoln-Shields Duel

The late General Shields was Auditor of the State of Illinois in 1839.  While he occupied this important office he was involved in an "affair of honor" with a Springfield lawyer--no less a personage than Abraham Lincoln.  At this time "James Shields, Auditor," was the pride of the young Democracy and was considered a dashing fellow by all, the ladies included.

In the summer of 1842 the Springfield Journal contained some letters from the "Lost Township," by a contributor whose nom de plume was "Aunt Becca," which held up the gallant young Auditor as "a ballroom dandy, floatin' about on the earth without heft or substance, just like a lot of cat-fur where cats had been fightin'."

These letters caused intense excitement in the town.  Nobody knew or guessed their authorship.  Shields swore it would be coffee and pistols for two if  he should find out who had been lampooning him so unmercifully.  Thereupon "Aunt Becca" wrote another letter, which made the furnace of his wrath seven times hotter than before, in which she made a very humble apology and offered to let him squeeze her hand for satisfaction, adding:

"If this should not answer, there is one thing more I would rather do than to get a lickin'.  I have all along expected to die a widow; but, as Mr. Shields is rather good-looking than