Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sandford Conover Real Name "Dunham".

Washington, D. C., June 2, 1866.

Report of Colonel L. C. Turner, Judge-Advocate, to the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, in the matter of witnesses who had sworn falsely in relation to the complicity of Jeff. Davis and others in the assassination of President Lincoln.

On Thursday night, April 26, last, by direction of Judge-Advocate-General Holt, I went to New York City to find and procure the attendance of eight persons as witnesses before the House Judiciary Committee. The names of said witnesses, as furnished me by General Holt, were Sanford Conover, William Campbell, Joseph Snevel, Farnum B. Wright, John H. Patten, Sarah Douglass, [John] McGill, and Miss [Mary] Knapp. The only information I had as to where said persons could be found was that General Holt informed me that Conover's address was at Station A, post-office, New York (but Governor Boutwell told me it was Station F); that Snevel's address was Station D, New York; that Campbell, Wright, and McGill were supposed to be in or about New York; Patten in Saint Louis; Mrs. Douglass and Miss Knapp in Canada.

I was advised that Wright should be sent to find Patten and that Conover should find and procure the two women, and General Holt was to telegraph Snevel to [meet] me at the Astor House Friday a. m., and he gave me a letter to Conover asking him to aid me in procuring said witnesses, &c. On reaching the Astor House on Friday morning I wrote two notes to Conover, one directed to Station A, the other to Station F, asking him to call on me at once. Friday p. m. a card was left for me by Snevel, saying he would call next day and requesting that I would leave a note at the office stating my business, &c. Saturday Snevel called, said that he had not seen Conover in two or three days, that he was in Brooklyn, and when he last saw him he said he was about going to Washington and wished him (Snevel) to remain in New York and he would give him a good job on his return from Washington.

Snevel also told me he had not seen Campbell for some days, but promised to find Conover and Campbell and come with them to my room that evening (Saturday) or Sunday morning. As Snevel left I at once went to Marshal Murray's office to ascertain if I could get aid in finding the men, if needed, as I suspected that all was not right. The distance to the marshal's office from the Astor House is a walk of from three to five minutes. I did not find Marshal Murray, and returned to the Astor House, and when returning I met Snevel in the street. I spoke to him and he introduced me to Campbell, who was with him. They did not appear at their ease and seemed surprised at meeting me.

They promised to find Conover and come with him to my room that evening or early Sunday morning. I then wrote two more notes to Conover at Stations A and F, saying I had a letter from Judge Holt to him asking his aid and assistance. No one appeared till Sunday afternoon and then Campbell called alone. I talked with him and asked questions and he was a good deal embarrassed. He finally asserted, "This is all false; I must make a clean breast of it; I can't stand it any longer." He then made a full disclosure, giving a history of himself, of Senvel and Conover, and others as far as he knew; the deceptions, fraud, and injury and perjury that had been practiced and perpetrated. Campbell informed me, and I afterward found it to be true, that Conover and himself saw the telegram sent Snevel by Judge Holt; that Conover received my notes, and that Conover dictated, wrote out, the note left by Snevel for me Friday; that Conover sent Snevel to my room, told him what to say, &c. I directed Campbell to say to Conover that I wished to have him go to Canada for witnesses, and that I had a letter for him from Judge Holt, &c., and that I wanted to send him at once.

Conover finally called Monday noon. He was agitated, uneasy; said he was "busy and could not stop then." He left and promised to call next morning at 10 o'clock. He did not call til 3 p. m. I gave him the letter of Judge Holt. He said he would go to Canada for Mrs. Douglass and Miss Knapp; that they were at Lachine and that Wright was in Montreal; that he would find Wright and send him to Saint Louis for Patten, &c. He figured out the expenses of getting them to Washington at about $400. I told him I would telegraph to the Judiciary Committee for the money, and he was to call on me at 9 o'clock that evening. Previous to this I had ascertained unmistakably that the names of the eight witnesses were all fictitious, and that their names and residences were as follows:

Sanford Conover--his true name is Dunham; lawyer by profession; formerly lived at Croton, then in New York and Brooklyn; a very shrewd, bad, and dangerous man. William Campbell--his true name is Joseph A. Hoare; a gas-fixer by trade; born in the State of New York and never south of Washington. Joseph Snevel--his true name is William H. Roberts, formerly ticket agent on Harlem Railroad, then kept tavern at Yonkers, &c.; was never South. Farnum B. Wright--true name John Waters; is lame in the knee, works in a brickyard near Cold Spring, on Long Island, &c. John H. Patten--true name, Peter Stevens; lives at Nyack, near Piermont, on the North River; is now a justice of the peace there. Sarah Douglass and Miss Knapp--the true name of one is Dunham, who is the wife of Conover; the name of the other is Mrs. Charles Smythe, is the sister or sister-in-law of Conover and lives at Cold Spring, Long Island; her husband is a clerk on Balckwell's Island. McGill--his name is Neally; he is a licensed peddler in New York and sometimes drives a one-horse cart.

Conover agreed to call at or before 9 o'clock Tuesday evening. He sent a card saying he had called and would call again Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock. Campbell, as agreed, left with me Thursday morning for Washington and I directed that if any one called for me to say that I had gone to Boston for a few days. I returned to Washington with Campbell, and Conover was telegraphed by the Judiciary Committee to come on here. He sent Snevel to the Astor House and was told I had gone to Boston and he then left for Washington, expecting, I suppose, to be sent to Canada and get money. He called at committee room of the Judiciary Committee and there met Campbell unexpectedly. After this, as is known, the assistant sergeant-at-arms went with Conover to New York to subpoena certain witnesses. On reaching the Astor House Conover left the sergeant-at-arms and he has not seen him since. Then, May 15, instant by direction of Judge Holt, I went to New York with Campbell and sergeant-at-arms to find and subpoena Snevel, McGill, Wright, and Patten.

We found Snevel in the keeping of Conover, who was living in a tenement house up town. We found Wright (Waters) at Cold Spring; Patten (Esquire Stevens) at Nyack, and McGill (Neally) in New York, and they were all subpoenaed. Through the influence and efforts of Campbell (Hoare), mainly, Snevel was induced to call on me and make a full disclosure and agreed to go to Washington and before the Judiciary Committee. He did so, with Campbell, and made his verified statement. I state, in addition, that while Campbell was making his disclosure I asked him if it were true, as he asserted, that the depositions of himself, Snevel, and others, made before General Holt, were entirely false, how it happened that they gave such consistent, minute, and plausible statements? He replied: "The statements made by Snevel and myself were written out by Conover and we studied and rehearsed them at the National Hotel, in Washington, several days before making our depositions." He said he had original, as prepared for himself by Conover, in his possession and would give it to me.

He did so and I herewith inclose it, marked as Exhibit A.* It is in Conover's handwriting. Campbell also informed me that Conover "planned that he (Campbell) should go to the Canadian border, at Rouse's Point or Saint Albans, on pretense that he could find an important witness named Lamar;" and Campbell was sent by General Holt by reason of their false representations. Campbell said he knew no such man as Lamar and that his mission to Saint Albans, Boston, and back to Washington was a fraudulent pretense devised by Conover to obtain money, &c. Campbell left Washington on this deceptive mission, leaving Conover in Washington; and when he reached New York he received a letter of instructions from Conover, which is herewith in closed, marked Exhibit B.* My investigation and the disclosures made prove (undoubtingly in my mind) that the depositions made by Campbell, Snevel, Wright, Patten, Mrs Douglass, and others are false; that they are cunningly devised, diabolical fabrications of Conover, verified by his suborned and perjured accomplices.

Note. There are more reports on Sanford Conover, so if your researching this man and would like the reports, drop me a line and I will send them to you, my address can be found in my profile.


Anonymous said...

wondering why samuel hemphill (87th indiana) served with this infantry when he was from perry county indiana and the 87th formed in south bend. perry county is the south west part of indiana and south bend is in the northern part of indiana. many many miles apart. just wondering.

Dennis Segelquist said...

I can't give you a real answer, but when he enlisted he gave his residence as Rensselaer, Indiana.