History on Trial is a series of presentations highlighting important but relatively unknown lawsuits in Illinois and American history. The purpose is to demonstrate that the law is a living, breathing element of society, and these cases continue to have relevance today.
Mary Elizabeth Jenkins was born in 1823 in Prince George’s County, Maryland. At an early age, she converted from the Episcopal faith to Roman Catholicism.
In 1875, Robert Lincoln, the only living son of martyred President Abraham Lincoln, petitioned to have his mother Mary Lincoln institutionalized for insanity.
In the early 1840s, Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, had been accused of treason and of an assassination attempt against a former Missouri Governor.
In 1897, Scott Bibb, an African American fireman at the Alton Glass Works Factory, petitioned for a writ of mandamus to allow his children to attend a school close to his home rather than a segregated school m ore than a mile away.