Lincoln, Smith and Warnock

The Cincinnati law firm that represented Henrietta Wood, along with Harvey Myers, in the initial phases of Wood v. Ward, Part II. Comprised of Timothy D. Lincoln, Fayette Smith, and James Warnock. They were later joined by Charles H. Stephens in 1864.

They may have been known to Myers because of work on the Cincinnati-Covington and Cincinnati-Newport bridges. An 1871 article indicates that T. D. Lincoln was reimbursed for legal work related to the raising of the Newport bridge, along with “Lincoln, Smith & Warnock, and Stevens, Hoadly, Jackson & Johnson, and Stevenson & Meyers,” all firms that were in some way connected to Wood v. Ward.1


Thomas D. Lincoln

According to a biographical sketch in the Magazine of Western History, he was born in 1815 in Brimfield, Massachusetts, and “obtained his high reputation chiefly in the conduct of marine and insurance cases,” and particularly in defending steamboat interests from threats posed by railroad interests. He was also well known for the size of his law library.2

He was also a “Republican in politics,” according to another sketch.

Fayette Smith

Smith joined the firm in September 1854, after being admitted to the bar in Ohio in October 1852. He was born in Warwick, Massachusetts, where he was actually christened “Lafayette Smith.” He graduated from Harvard in 1844 and then entered law school in Cambridge. He is described in an 1869 alumni guide for that class, possibly with self-provided information: “His life has been very monotonous. Since he has been in Cincinnati he has seen much hard work, but so far has succeeded in comfortably supporting himself and family.”3

See also a memorial to Smith in the Ohio Law Bulletin, which identifies his father as the Unitarian minister Rev. Preserved Smith and his mother as a direct descendant of Roger Williams. It also identifies “admiralty business” as the major business of the firm in its early years, and says that Smith was both a lifelong Unitarian and a Republican later elected as a judge in 1878.

On his Unitarianism, see this church history, which also describes the split of the church during the pastorate of Moncure Conway over Conway’s abolitionism, with Alphonzo Taft and George Hoadly being among Conway’s supporters. Unclear which side Fayette Smith was on (he was a member of the church at the time), but the history implies that he remained with the original church (Conway’s supporters) during the split and then was a trustee of the reunited church when it came back together in 1876.

James Warnock

Born in Ireland in 1826, he immigrated to Ohio at the age of four. He graduated from Centre College in 1849.4 He joined the firm in 1854. In 1861, he enlisted in the army and helped to raise Company D of the Second Ohio Infantry, where he received a commission as First Lieutenant and was later promoted to Captain, serving in Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee. He was wounded at Lookout Mountain, and oversaw the collection of soldiers’ votes in the field for the Ohio gubernatorial election of October 1863.5

He died suddenly in the office of the law firm on July 2, 1872.6 Afterwards the firm became “Lincoln, Smith & Stephens.”

See also a biographical sketch from a veterans’ publication. The


A sample of cases below shows that the firm was often involved in contract and property suits, particularly around the steamboat industry and government contracts during the war.

  • The Steamboat Baltimore v. Levi and Lindaur (1855) - a contract case, with LSW on side of steamboat before the Superior Court
  • Stein v. Steamboat Prairie Rose (1865) - another contract case, with LSW again representing the steamboat before the Superior Court
  • The “Oats cases” from 1869 in which a government contractor based in Ohio was sued by grain men for damages after their goods were not delivered to the government at the close of the Civil War; LSW was for the defendants and lost in Superior Court.7
  • Henry C. Lord vs. the First National Bank of Cincinnati (1872) - a contract case.8
  • G. Holterhoff vs. Gaff, Cochran & Co. (1868) - another case involving transportation of grain during the war for the government, argued before the Superior Court; in this case Hoadly, Jackson and Johnson (for the plaintiff) won damages of $1,547.9 Other cases also found in which the two firms squared off.

One case that united these typical kinds of cases with a case like Wood’s was Thos. Saunders vs. the Steamboat C. T. Dumont (1865) before the Superior Court: “The action was brought to recover damages, for the violation of a contract to transport the plaintiff, and fourteen other colored persons, for the sum of twelve dollars, from Vevay, Ind., to Cincinnati.” The petitioner argued that a few weeks before, when these persons went on the boat, they were not taken to Cincinnati but were instead “taken up the river to a point in Kentucky, and, being put on shore, were, by the aid of parties in Kentucky, setting in connivance with the officers of the boat, driven into the woods, with the intention of reducing them to slavery.” Saunders alone escaped to the city by hiding in the hull of the boat. But in this case LSW defended the steamboat, and “asked that part of the declaration should be stricken out, as scandalous and impertinent, the words charging fraud and malice, and an intention to reduce the parties to slavery.” The Court (Judge Storer) replied that “if the allegations in the petition were true, the conduct of the officers of the boat made them kidnappers to every intent and purpose,” so the motion was overruled;but the court added that whether Saunders could recover anything beyond damages for breach of contract was another matter.10

  1. “The Board of Aldermen,” Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, April 1, 1871, p. 8, on

  2. Henry Dudley Teetor, “The Bench and Bar of Ohio,” Magazine of Western History 5 (1886-1887), 690-695. Portrait included.

  3. The Class of 1844, Harvard College: Prepared for the 25th Anniversary of their Graduation, by the Class Secretary (Cambridge: Welch, Bigelow, and Company, 1869), 118-119. The preface describes the narratives as edited versions of submissions made by alumni themselves in response to a circular: “of the several memoirs twenty-three were written substantially by the parties themselves,” including Fayette Smith’s (p. iv).

  4. Danville, Kentucky, Advocate-Messenger, October 5, 1997, p. 22.

  5. “A Civil War Tale of Hogs and Money, Part 1,” Springfield, Tenn., Robertson County Times, April 8, 2009, p. B3, on (This article essentially plagiarizes this source.)

  6. “Obituary,” Chicago Inter Ocean, July 3, 1872, p. 1.

  7. “A Heavy Litigation Settled,” Cincinnati Enquirer, December 18, 1869, p. 2.

  8. “Court Report,” Cincinnati Enquirer, June 1, 1872, p. 3.

  9. “Superior Court,” Cincinnati Enquirer, March 14, 1868, p. 1.

  10. “Superior Court,” Cincinnati Enquirer, June 15, 1865, p. 2.