In December 1846, Alexander Herring (defendant) entered a contract to sell real property to John L. Kitchen (plaintiff). The contract described the land as "lying on the South West side of Black River, adjoining the lands of William Haffland and Martial. . . ." Pridgen (defendant) wrote and witnessed the contract between Herring and Kitchen. Kitchen took possession of the property in March 1847 and subsequently arranged with Pridgen and others to have timber on the property cut down. The primary value of the land was attributable to the timber. In January, however, Herring had executed a deed for the land to Pridgen, and Kitchen was removed from possession of the property. Kitchen brought suit for specific performance of the land-sale contract.