The Bridge



This article examines a little-remembered piece of history that connects early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with Abraham Lincoln. In 1856, the steamboat Effie Afton crashed into a much-contested and newly completed railroad bridge over the Mississippi River. A lawsuit ensued, and Abraham Lincoln, who at the time was one of the premiere lawyers on the frontier, along with Norman Judd and Joseph Knox, defended the bridge owners. This, one of Lincoln’s most celebrated cases, had an impact on immigrating Mormons, for whom railroad bridges made westward travel considerably easier.

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