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Benton County, Iowa ~ Biography and Family Information

BUREN R. SHERMAN

Source:  The Annals of Iowa, Vol. VI - III Series.
  A Historical Quarterly.
Edited by Charles Aldrich, A. M.
Published by The Historical Department of Iowa.
Des Moines. 1903-5.
Page 635. The Editorial Department. Notable Deaths.
Buren R. Sherman was born in the town of Phelps, Ontario county, New York, May 28, 1836; he died at Vinton, Iowa, November 11, 1904. His ancestry was English. He was educated at Elmira, New York. He came to Iowa with his parents in 1855, the family settling on a farm in Tama county. While yet on the farm he studied law and was admitted to the bar and entered upon the practice of his profession in Vinton. At the outbreak of the civil war he enlisted as a private in Company G, Thirteenth Iowa Infantry, under Col. M. M. Crocker. He was soon appointed Second Lieutenant in which capacity he took part in the battle of Shiloh, where he was so severely wounded as to compel his resignation some months afterward, though he was promoted to the Captaincy of his company while yet in the hospital. Returning to Iowa he was almost constantly in public life until the end of his second term as Governor of the State. He was for several years clerk of the district court of Benton county. After this service he was elected State Auditor, serving three terms-1875 to 1881. While yet in the office of State auditor he was elected to the governorship, in which he served two terms-1882 to 1886. The public life of Governor Sherman was an active one. He was a man of pronounced views upon the various questions in agitation during his career-one who had warm, devoted friends and bitter enemies. So far as the administration of his public duties was concerned his services were everywhere highly creditable, with but a single exception, in regard to which there were differences of opinion. This was his quarrel with State Auditor Brown. He called Brown to account for an alleged irregularity in reporting to the State Treasurer the insurance fees which he had collected in his department. Brown failed to satisfy the Governor, whereupon the latter suspended him from his office, which he ordered him to vacate. This action was disregarded by Brown, who locked himself in his private office. The Governor then called out the militia and ejected Auditor Brown from the office, which he declared vacant, and appointed Jonathan W. Cattell, a former State Senator, who had also served three terms as State Auditor, to the position of Auditor. While this state of things continued William Larrabee came into the office of Governor. He ordered Cattell to surrender the office of Auditor, restoring Brown to the place. Cattell obeyed the order, but protested against it. An investigation was instituted at once in the State Senate, a committee of which soon after reported unfavorably upon the course of Auditor Brown. At this juncture the latter demanded an investigation, whereupon articles of impeachment were preferred in the House, upon which he was tried before the Senate. Governor Lanabee appointed Hon. Charles Beardsley, of Des Moines county, State Auditor 'pro tem', pending the impeachment proceedings. Several of the ablest lawyers in the State appeared on each side and the case attracted wide and interested attention; but the impeachment failed, and upon the advice of the Attorney General, Governor Larrabee promptly reinstated Brown in the Auditorship. Later on Brown came to the legislature with a petition asking that the State reimburse him for the costs of the trial. This application was pressed at several sessions, and finally at that of 1896, a bill was passed allowing him $4,OOO for a complete settlement of the claim. And so the great case came to an end. Aside from this affair, the administration of Gov. Sherman passed off with great credit, and good will attended him in his retirement. At its close he returned to his old home in Vinton, though it was his custom to spend a portion of his time in Des Moines. His after life was a quiet one. He was one of the most prominent men in the State in Free Masonry, having attained its highest honors. He was always the truest and most generous of friends wherever his friendship was bestowed. He was the first executive officer who signed an official paper relating to the founding of the Historical Department, though he was not the first to commend it to the fostering care of the legislature.


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