Newton D. Strong to Abraham Lincoln, 5 February 18581Hon A. Lincoln–Dear Sir–
I have prepared an answer for Mr Camp to an Amended Bill in the case of Cochran etal vs Camp etal–2 The Bill, which is entitled against several only speaks of Camp & his individual transactions— the Complainants seem to have confounded individuals, & it so happens that almost every allegation in their Bill as regards Mr Camp is untrue–3 I ought to have seen all the papers in the case, but for this there was no time– I am apprehensive there may be other allegations in the original Bill which ought to have been answered— but you will judge of that– I have only seen the fragment of an amended Bill which Mr Camp has had sent to him from the Clerk– It seems to me that in order to secure their respective interests in all the lands to which the complainants lay claim, it will be necessary for the defendants or some of them to file a cross bill–4 If the Complainants can maintain an interest in any of these lands in IllinoisYours very trulyN. D. StrongSt Louis Feb 5. 1858–6
<Page 2>then the parties must fall back upon the old land association in contemplation of which these lands were entered— and in contemplation of which Sanger Camp & Co, contributed their full share of money as it was assessed by the common agent of the concern,–5 But you understand all this doubtless from Mr Camp–
2Strong and Abraham Lincoln were two of the attorneys for the defendants in the case of Cochran & Hall v. Camp et al., which commenced in the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of Illinois in October 1855. The case concerned a dispute over ownership of lands near the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad. The firms of H. C. Seymour & Company and Sanger, Camp & Company had joined together in 1852 to purchase over $6,000 worth of U.S. government land warrants for 1,080 acres along the railroad for the purpose of speculation. Initially, the two firms, along with other individuals, had proposed making the purchases as a land association, but the agreement was apparently verbal and the contemplate land association fell apart when the parties attempted to codify the terms. Irvin Camp, a partner in Sanger, Camp & Co., held the title to the warrants in order to locate the land and purchased the property in his own name.
George W. Cochran and James C. Hall, two of the individuals who had discussed forming the land association, later acquired H. C. Seymour & Co.’s interest in the property and claimed that they had not received their due percentage of the land. The pair sued Camp to convey the 1,080 acres. Camp retained Lincoln and William H. Herndon, who were unable to effect a compromise but continued to represent him in the case until Lincoln’s election as president in 1860. The case was settled in 1863 and the court ultimately found for the plaintiffs and ordered Camp to convey his interest to Cochran, who had purchased Hall’s interest.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys John T. Stuart and Benjamin S. Edwards filed the amended bill mentioned here on June 15, 1857. The answer to this amended bill that was prepared by Strong was filed February 6, 1858.
Cochran & Hall v. Camp et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), https://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137521.
3The amended bill named Camp, Henry D. Bacon, Daniel D. Page, Thomas Brown, Edward Wyman, and Lewis B. Parsons, Jr. as defendants in Cochran & Hall v. Camp et al. The bill, however, complains only of the actions of Camp, in his supposed capacity as agent of H. C. Seymour & Co., having been allegedly entrusted with the firm’s land warrants and tasked with locating and purchasing tracts of land for them in Illinois.
Amended Bill, Document ID: 63315, Cochran & Hall v. Camp et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, https://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137521.
4Camp filed a cross bill on February 4, 1861, against Cochran, James L. D. Morrison and others in an attempt to account for funds contributed and land purchased related to the case. Morrison was also being sued by Cochran and Hall for interest in land he had located and purchased, allegedly with warrants purchased by Sanger, Camp & Co. and H. C. Seymour & Co. as part of their land speculation efforts.
Cross Bill, Document ID: 63349, Cochran & Hall v. Camp et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, https://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137521; Cochran & Hall v. Morrison et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, https://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137522.
5Sanger, Camp & Co. had sent $2,000 to H. C. Seymour & Co. in 1852 to be combined with the over $4,000 contributed by the latter firm for the purchase of land warrants by the common agent of the two firms, Robert Christie.
Cross Bill, Document ID: 63349, Cochran & Hall v. Camp et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, https://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137521.
6No response to this letter nor further correspondence on the subject between Strong and Lincoln has been located. This letter was enclosed in a related letter from Camp to Lincoln of the following day.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).