Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.


[1]   Chicago Daily Democratic Press, September 24, 1857. Because of its unusual interest, this case received complete reporting by Robert Hitt, which appeared daily in the Press, September 9-25. The Rock Island bridge was the first across the Mississippi and became the center of a fight between steamboat and railroad interests when on May 6, 1856, about two weeks after its completion, the steamboat Effie Afton crashed into one of the bridge piers and burned to the water's edge, destroying a span of the bridge. Jacob S. Hurd and associates, owners of the Afton, bringing suit against the bridge company for damages, were backed by steamboat interests up and down the river, and the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, foreseeing the effect of railroad bridges on St. Louis as the center of steamboat transportation, promoted the cause. Lincoln, Norman B. Judd, and Joseph Knox represented the owners of the bridge. Hezekiah M. Wead, Corydon Beck-with of Chicago, and Timothy D. Lincoln of Cincinnati represented Hurd et al.

[2]   Meetings of the Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis at which the steamboat owners and pilots were exhorted to make the case a cause celebre.

[3]   Wead addressed the jury on the preceding day, making the most of the sectional strife which the bridge was causing.

[4]   Seth Gurney, keeper of the bridge.

[5]   R. B. Mason, a civil engineer residing at Dubuque, Iowa, and a contractor on the construction of the Dubuque and Pacific Railroad, who testified for the defense as to the river current in relation to the bridge piers.

[6]   Nathaniel W. Parker, pilot of the Afton, who testified for the plaintiffs.

[7]   Joseph McCammon, a pilot who was in the wheelhouse but not acting pilot at the time of the crash.

[8]   Benjamin B. Brayton, engineer in charge of construction of the bridge.

[9]   The steamboat S. B. Carson.

[10]   John A. Baker, mate on the Afton.

[11]   Unable to agree on a verdict (nine for the bridge, three against), the jury was discharged. Further litigation against the bridge was not settled until December, 1862, when the U.S. Supreme Court set aside a District Court order to remove a part of the bridge.