IAGenWeb Project

Audubon County

The Courts and Legal Profession of Iowa.
Volume I.

by Hon. Chester C. Cole, Historian.
Hon. E. C. Ebersale, Editor.
Published in Chicago, Ill.: H. C. Cooper, Jr., & Co., 1907, pages 461-464.


The county was organized under an order by the judge of Cass county following a petition by the citizens of Audubon county. The first election was on April 6, 1855, and was held in the cabin of John J. Jenkins, at Big Grove, forty-five votes being cast. The officers elected were T. J. Lewis, judge, John W. Beers, clerk, Miles Beers, treasurer and recorder, Benj. M. Hyatt, sheriff, David Atkins, county attorney, John W. Beers, surveyor, and Wm. H. H. Bowen, assessor. On May 22, 1855, Judge E. H. Sears appointed the following commissioners to locate the county-seat, to wit: T. N. Johnson of Adair county, T. Bryan of Guthrie county, and C. E. Woodard of Cass county. Two of them, Bryan and Woodard, qualified, and on June 20th reported their selection of the east half of the northwest quarter of section 22, township 38, range 35. The tract was surveyed, laid out into lots and called Dayton. A public sale of lots was advertised to take place on November 22, 1855, D. M. Harris being county judge. At this sale only one lot was sold, and that brought fifty cents, J. L. Frost being the purchaser. Judge Harris then adjourned the sale until June 3, 1856, at which time eight-five lots were sold at prices ranging from $1.50 to $9.00 each. This was the last county business ever transacted at Dayton, and the town site became and remained a blank so far as occupancy was concerned. In March, 1856, a petition was presented to the county judge asking that an election be called to vote on the question of removing the county-seat from Dayton to a place called Viola, now Exira. The petition was granted, and the election was held April 7th, but the removal proposition was defeated. The proposition was again submitted in April, 1861, and this time it carried. In October, 1872, the county-seat was removed to Audubon.


The attorneys of Audubon county are as follows: Judge W. R. Green, Chas. Bagley, H. F. Andrews, W. C. Elliott, V. E. Horton, T. M. Rasmussen, J. A. Nash, B. S. Phelps, W. R. Copeland, J. M. Graham, Casson & Ross, H. J. Mantz, John Griggs, T. F. Myers and F. H. Blume.


William Raymond Green, the subject of this sketch, judge of the Fifteenth judicial district, was born in Colchester, Connecticut, November 7, 1856. He was educated at the high school of Princeton, Illinois, after which he attended four years at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, where he graduated in the classical course in 1879. He read law in the office of McCoy & Pratt, Chicago, and was admitted at Ottawa, Illinois, in 1882. He began the practice of law at Dodge City, Iowa, where he remained two years and a half, thence removing to Council Bluffs. In the fall of 1886 he located in Audubon, Iowa, and formed a partnership with J. S. Nash and B. A. Phelps, under the firm name of Nash, Phelps and Green. His partners had carried on a law, real estate and loan business, and upon his entrance into the firm Mr. Green took full charge of the law department. In 1884 he was nominated and elected judge of the Fifteenth judicial district, and has remained on the bench ever since, having been re-elected four times. He presided at the first trial of the famous Doyle Burns million dollar suit, over stock of the Portland mine, and the almost equally celebrated criminal case of the trial of Denison. Judge Green is a member of the Knights of Pythias and of the republican party.

Charles Bagley was born in West Liberty, Iowa, May 29, 1854. He spent his boyhood in Muscatine county, Iowa, and removed from Wilton Junction to Atlantic, Cass county, Iowa, in 1873. He moved to Audubon in 1882, and has since resided there. He was educated in the district schools of Muscatine county, and at the private school of J. B. Harris, Wilton Junction, and after that in the State University, taking an irregular course for one year, and then completing the law course at same institution at Iowa City, Iowa. He was admitted at Iowa City in 1881. His law business is principally office work in connection with real estate and probate work. He has been mayor of Audubon two terms and is a republican in his political views.

John A. Nash was born in Des Moines, Iowa, May 9, 1854. He attended the public schools of his native city, and in 1874 was graduated from the Des Moines College, and two years later received his diploma from the law department of Simpson College, Des Moines, and was admitted before the supreme court at that city. For over twenty years Mr. Nash has been local attorney for the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry. Co. Mr. Nash settled in Audubon in 1878.

Transcribed by Cheryl Siebrass, October, 2017.