IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Misc. Historical Items

Misc. history index

Courts & Legal Profession, Allamakee county

Source of information & photos:

The Courts and Legal Profession of Iowa, Volumes I & II
Hon Chester C. Cole, Historian
Hon E.C. Ebersole, Editor
Illustrated, Chicago, ILL., H.C. Cooper, Jr., & Co.
Copyright, 1907, by Horace C. Cooper, JR
(Allamakee co. data, pages 445-448)

~data extracted by S. Ferrall for Allamakee co. IAGenWeb September 9, 2023


Allamakee county was organized by legislative act in 1849. The county-seat was first located at Columbus, where it remained until 1853, when it was re-located at Waukon. In 1861 it was removed by vote of the people to Lansing, the citizens of that town erecting a stone court house and donating it to the county. The countyseat remained at Lansing until September, 1867, when it was again re-located at Waukon, and where it still remains. The first election of county officials was in 1849, when officers were elected as follows: James W. Sumner and Joseph W. Holmes, county commissioners, Elias Topliff, treasurer and recorder, Stephen Holcomb, county clerk, John W. Remine, county attorney, and L. W. Hays, sheriff. Two years later, in 1851, Elias Topliff was elected county judge, being the first in that county to hold that office. The first court was held at Columbus, July, 1852, by Judge Thomas S. Wilson.

The first term in Waukon was set for Monday, June 6, 1853; but we find from the record that "The presiding judge in order to give time for the preparation of a suitable place at Waukon, the newly selected county seat, by written order, directed the court to be adjourned till tomorrow." June 7 there was no business and the court was again adjourned one day. Much delay in the business of the court was occasioned by the fact of jurors and witnesses having been summoned to appear at Columbus. In 1851 a county court was created. The act creating this court gave the county judge jurisdiction of probate affairs, and clothed him with all the powers previously exercised by the Board of County Commissioners. In short, it legislated the commissioners out of existence.

County judges were Elias Topliff, 1851 to 1857; Geo. M. Dean, 1857-59; John A. Townsend, 1859-61; O. S. Conkey, 1861-67; M. B. Hendrick, 1867 to 1868, when the office of county judge was discontinued and Judge Hendrick became ex-officio Auditor until the close of his term, December 31, 1869.

The Second Judicial District of the State of Iowa after Allamakee was added in 1847, comprised the counties of Buchanan, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Jackson, Jones, Muscatine, Scott and Winneshiek. Judge James Grant, commissioned November 15, 1847, to May 8, 1852, when Judge Thomas S. Wilson qualified, who remained judge of this district till after Allamakee was withdrawn to help form the Tenth Judicial District, created in 1855, comprised Allamakee, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Floyd, Howard, Mitchell, Winneshiek and Worth. Judge Samuel Murdock, of Clayton county, 1855 to 1858. With the exception of Cerro Gordo and Worth and the addition of Bremer and Butler, this territory became the Tenth Judicial District. In 1858 Elias H. Williams of Clayton county was elected judge, and served until Milo McGlathery of Fayette county was elected in 1866 and
served from 1867 to 1874 inclusive. Judge Reuben Noble served from 1875 to November, 1879, when he resigned and the governor appointed in his stead Ezekiel E. Cooley, who was elected at the general election in 1880. The Thirteenth Judicial District comprises the counties of Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek and the judges are L. E. Fellows, A. N. Hobson, H. B. Crosby and W. W. Comstock.


Charles T. Granger was born in New York State October 9, 1835. When he was but a child his parents moved west, locating at Waukegan, Ill. Here he received his education. He worked on his father's farm, read law and was admitted. In 1854 he came to Iowa, locating in Allamakee county, teaching school winters. In 1860 he began to practice law at Mitchell, Iowa. In 1862 he entered the army and was made captain of Company K, Twenty-seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and served three years. On his return from the war he located at Waukon, Iowa. In 1869 he was elected district attorney, serving four years. In 1873 he was elected judge of the circuit court, which office he held until 1887, when he was chosen district judge, serving until January, 1889. He was elevated to the supreme bench and was chief justice in 18941895 and associate judge until January, 1901. Judge Granger has voted the republican ticket since the organization of that party.

Liberty E. Fellows has been elected four times judge of the Thirteenth Judicial district. The last time was at the November election, 1906. The democrats in 1865 elected him to the house of representatives of the Eleventh general assembly. After serving his term in the house he was elected to the senate, serving in the Twelfth and Thirtenth general assemblies. Judge Fellows was appointed in 1889 judge of the Twelfth district to fill a vacancy. For ten or twelve years he was a member of the board of trustees of the Hospital for Insane at Mt. Pleasant and for a number of years regent of the State University. For two years he was Grand Master of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Iowa. He was a democrat up to 1883, but now belongs to the republican party. Judge Fellows was born in Vermont August 22nd, 1834, and removed to Iowa, locating on a farm near Lansing in 1857. He was admitted in 1862, and at once began the practise of his profession. His home is Lansing, Iowa.

The members of the Allamakee County Bar at this time are the following: W. W. Bulman, Henry Dayton, J. F. Dayton, H. L. Dayton, D. Deremore, Wm. S. Hart, Bert Hendrick, M. B. Hendrick, D. J. Murphy, A. M. May, J. E. O'Brien, H. H. Stilwell, C. S. Stilwell, C. M. Stowe, H. E. Taylor, F. S. Burling, P. C. Church, Wm. Shepperd, W. C. McNeil, J. P. Conway, Frank May.

Biographies of others with Allamakee co. connections, from other sections of Vols I or II:

(pg 227-228. Vol I)
Leander O. Hatch was a native of Ohio, where he received a moderate education, which was supplemented and improved by teaching school and one term in an academy. His knowledge of the law was acquired by private study with such aids as could be secured from attorneys within his practical reach. He was admitted to the bar in Ohio in 1849, and practiced law in Cuyahoga county until 1853. He moved to Iowa and located at Waukon, the then new county-seat of Allamakee county. He opened an office there and continued the practice until 1869, when he removed to McGregor, and there continued the practice in partnership with Ruben Noble, and afterwards with Judge Granger, later of the supreme court.

The business of the firm of Noble, Hatch and Frese was very extended and lucrative. In 1866, while living at Waukon, he was made district attorney of the Tenth judicial district, the duties of which he discharged faithfully and efficiently until he resigned, which was after the middle of his term. He was afterwards elected judge of the Thirteenth judicial district, and made confessedly one of the best judges that district ever had. Judge Hatch was a man of very great clearness and penetration of mind, and on the bench he seemed to comprehend with readiness and exhaustiveness the questions involved, and his instructions to the juries were always very luminous. He was a man of most decided ability, excellent character and abiding faithfulness. His impress upon the jurisprudence of his district and state was marked.

(Chapter XLII, pg 341-342, Vol I)
James H. Trewin was born in Illinois and there acquired his education, common school and academic, and graduated at Lenox College, Iowa. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1882, and settled in the practice of his profession in Allamakee county. His practice from the first was good and remunerative, and it grew in the number of cases and in the importance of each. He was elected to the house of the general assembly in 1893 from Allamakee county and took rank at once as a leading member. Two years later he was elected senator from the district composed of Allamakee and Fayette counties. He discharged the duties of senator with such decided ability and efficiency that he was by his constituents unanimously renominated and was elected to the senate again in 1899. Senator Trewin was well and properly denominated one of the leaders of the senate, and he was foremost in efficiency in securing important legislation affecting the entire state. He was chairman of the committee which supervised the publication of the Code of 1897. Since the close of his last senatorial term he has removed to Cedar Rapids and engaged in the practice of the law, and has the recognition there, as he did in his former location, as a leader of the bar. Mr. Trewin is a very active, industrious and most influential man.

(Jasper county, pg 720, Vol II)

E.C. Ogg

E. C. Ogg, Newton, Iowa, was born in Pennsylvania January 13, 1851. He spent his boyhood in Allamakee county, Iowa. He attended the common schools and graduated from Iowa State University in 1878. He read law in the office of S. C. Cook, Newton, Iowa, and was admitted before the supreme court in the spring of 1880. He formed a partnership with Cook & Ogg, which continued four years. He then formed a partnership with O. C. Meredith, which continued until 1900. Since that time he has been alone in the practice of law. He has been a member of the school board for fifteen years. Mr. Ogg is an able lawyer and influential citizen.

(Jasper county, pg 882, Vol II)
Orlando J. Clark was born at Rome, New York, March 11, 1843. His parents were John T. and Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Clark. At the age of ten years his parents removed to Waukon, Allamankee county, Iowa. In January, 1860, he removed to Decorah, Iowa, and remained until 1885, with the exception of about three years during the War of the Rebellion, after which he located in Sibley, Iowa, where he now resides. He studied law in his father's office in Decorah, and was admitted there at the June term of the district court in 1868. He at once entered into partnership at Decorah, with John T. Clark & Co. He was appointed district attorney of the old Tenth judicial district (north east Iowa) in January, 1873, and was then elected for two terms, but refused to take another term. He then retired from official life, but is now in active practice. Mr. Clark entered Company E, Thirty-eighth Iowa Infantry, August 4, 1862, and was promoted to corporal, sergeant and orderly-sergeant of said company. In January, 1865, his regiment was consolidated with the Thirty-fourth Iowa Infantry, and his company and Company "F," Thirty-fourth Iowa, became Company "K," Thirty-fourth Iowa, and he was promoted to second lieutenant thereof; and later, in September, 1865, they were mustered out. In politics Mr. Clark is a republican, and he has served as alderman, mayor and city solicitor of Decorah, Iowa.

(Webster county, pg 1094, Vol II)
Thomas D. Healy was born May 25, 1865, in Lansing, Iowa. He was educated in Notre Dame University, Indiana. He read law at the University of Michigan, and was admitted before the Iowa supreme court in October, 1886. He opened an office soon after being admitted at Fort Dodge, and has been in practice there ever since. He is of the firm of Healy & Healy. Mr. Healy has served as city attorney of Fort Dodge. He was elected state senator for the district composed of the counties of Calhoun and Webster, and served from 1896 to 1904. He is an active republican, and served on the committee on resolutions in the republican state convention of 1893.

(Webster county, pg 1095, Vol II)
Michael F. Healy is a native of Iowa, being born at Lansing April 1, 1863, and is a son of Michael and Catherine (Murphy) Healy. He attended the public and sisters' schools of Lansing, and Notre Dame University, Indiana, Harvard College law school and the law school of the University of Michigan. He was admitted to practice before the supreme court at Dubuque, Iowa, in October, 1885. He began to practice law at Fort Dodge in January, 1886. In August of the same year he formed a partnership with Thos. D. Healy, under the firm name of Healy & Healy, and they are engaged in general practice. In politics he is a democrat.


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