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Hon. James Grant


Posted By: Allamakee co. Coordinator (email)
Date: 3/3/2004 at 01:54:21

James Grant was born on a plantation near the village of Enfield, Halifax county, North Carolina, Dec. 12, 1812. He was the second of eight children, and of his early years there is little of special interest to narrate.
At thirteen he was prepared for college, and taken to the university of his native state, at Chapel Hill, to join the freshman class; but he was so small that the venerable president, who had taught his father, advised the latter to retain him at home for two years, and then have him join an advanced class. This advice was followed, and James entered the sophomore class of 1828, and graduated, with a class of thirteen others, in 1831. It will be seen that Grant graduated while he was under eighteen.

After graduating, he taught school three years at Raleigh, and emigrated to the west when he was twenty-one. He reached Illinois in December, 1833, obtained a license to practice law in January, 1834, and settled in Chicago, then a village of five hundred inhabitants, in April 1834. He remained in Chicago until June, 1838, when he discovered that the lake winds impaired his health, and he removed to the territory of Wisconsin, selecting Davenport, in Scott county, for his future home, on the 18th of June, 1838. In 1841, he was elected a member of the house of representatives of the fourth Iowa territorial legislative assembly, from the district composed of Scott and Clinton counties, his colleague being Jos. M. Robertson. In 1844, the people of Scott county elected him to represent them in the first constitutional convention, and in 1846, he was sent to the second constitutional convention; and in both sessions he drew up the section embracing the bill of rights. After the adoption of the constitution in 1847, under which Iowa was admitted into the union as a
state. Grant was elected, April 5, 1847, a judge for the district composed of the counties of Allamakee, Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, Buchanan, Cedar, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Jackson, Muscatine, Scott and Winneshiek, and held the office during the term of five years, declining a reelection.
The title of judge has clung to him, however, ever since his elevation to the bench. In 1852 he was again a member of the house of representatives in the Iowa legislature from Scott county, and was elected speaker. Since that time he has kept aloof from office. From 1853 until now, he has been engaged in the largest and most lucrative practice of any attorney in the northwest. On the 23d of June, congress created the territory of Iowa.

On the 8th of July, 1839 he married his first wife, Sarah E. Hubbard, who gave birth to a daughter who died in 1841; and the mother followed her to the grave in 1842. In January, 1844, he was married to Ada C. Hubbard, who died in June, 1846, leaving a daughter who survived her mother a year. On June 10, 1848, he was married to his present wife, Elizabeth Brown Leonard, with whom he has spent twenty-five years of
wedded life. The celebration of their silver wedding took place at Davenport, and was celebrated on a grand scale, and participated in by a vast multitude of friends. Without children of their own, Judge Grant has always had his house filled with them, of relations on both sides, and upon them he lavishes his large income, prouder of them than many fathers with the best of children. Few women can be found like Mrs.
Grant, willing to devote their whole lives, as she does hers, to the care of others women's children.

Judge Grant has met with great success in his profession. In 1834, he was appointed by Gov. Duncan,
prosecuting attorney for the sixth district of Illinois. In June, 1836, he resigned this office, finding it interfered with his home business.

- source: An Illustrated History of the State of Iowa; by Prof. Charles R. Tuttle 1876, pg. 670
- transcribed by S. Ferrall


Allamakee Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
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