Stephen Julian vs. Estate of Leonadas C. Campbell- 1865

Stephen Julian lived in Cass Township, Greene County, Missouri in 1860.1 Leonidas C. Campbell was the son of William Campbell and Mildred Blackman.2 He married Elizabeth Dodd Berry in August 1851 in Springfield, Missouri. Both Stephen and Leonidas were natives from Tennessee living in Greene County before the war. The war, however, forever changed lives of men across the states.

While having similar backgrounds, the men differed in political views. Campbell supported the Confederacy, while Julian was a Union man. While the exact facts surrounding the altercation are unknown, Julian filed a lawsuit against Campbell for illegally and wrongfully imprisoning him on November 25, 1861. Julian claimed he was held for nineteen days against his will in a country jail. During that time, according to Julian, Campbell cursed at and threatened to Kill Julian and placed dead bodies inside of the cell for purposes of horrifying Julian. Exactly how Julian escaped or why Campbell finally decided to let him go is also unknown. After the war ended, Julian filed his suit for $10,000 in damages on October 11, 1865.

Leonidas was the Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment of Missouri which was organized during the summer of 1862 with men from Springfield, Newtonia, and Polk County.3 Many of the men in this regiment had been in the Missouri State Guard, which served in Shelby’s, C. Green’s, and J.B. Clark’s Brigade, Trans-Mississippi Department. Julian joined the 2nd Missouri Light Artillery in 1862, which supported the Union.4 Their differences in politics could be the reason Campbell imprisoned Julian.

Leonidas died in 1863 and therefore was not able to be tried. Leonidas’ wife, Elizabeth Campbell was the administrator of his estate and was therefore held responsible in the law suit brought against her deceased husband. However, Elizabeth remarried before the case concluded, and she was replaced by a public official as administrator of Leonidas’ estate.

Much of the facts surrounding this case are unknown. However, the lawsuit represents the vicious violence taking place across the region during the War. The frequency of murder, theft and destruction of property left many civilians seeking retribution through the court system once the war concluded.

Contributed by the Greene County Archives and Records Center

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  1. Year: 1860; Census Place: Cass, Greene, Missouri; Roll: M653_621; Page: 262; Image: 262; Family History Library Film: 803621.
  2. “Descendants of William Polk”,
  3. “CONFEDERATE MISSOURI TROOPS: 3rd Regiment, Missouri Cavalry”, National Parks Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Systems,
  4. “UNION MISSOURI VOLUNTEERS: 2nd Regiment, Missouri Light Artillery”, National Parks Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Systems,