J R Whitaker
Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 4/12/2010 at 12:58:07
J R Whitaker, a prominent representative of the Boone county bar, holding at all itmes to high ideals in his profession, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 3, 1852, his parents being Charles and Catherine (Ripka) Whitaker, who were also natives of the Keystone state. The father was born in the year 1820 and following the outbreak of the Civil war offered his services to the government, becoming colonel of the Twenty-eighth Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers, with which he served throughout the period of hostilites. When he left Philadelphia to establish his home in the middle west, he settled in Waukesha county, Wisconsin, and there resided until 1866, when he brought his family to Iowa, settling first in Boonesboro, Subsequently he removed to Boone, where he engaged in the hardward business, and in 1868 he removed to a farm in Hamilton county, which remained his palce of residence until 1881. He then established his home in Ames, Iowa where he continued to reside until called to his final rest in December, 1892. He was twice married, his first wife being Catherine Ripka, by whom he had eight children: Catherine, J R, J M, Sarah, Amelia and Agnes, all of whom are yet living, and Lavinia and Ellen, deceased. The wife and mother passed away in 1862, and Mr Whitaker afterward married Margaret Hill, whose death occured in Hamilton county, Iowa in December 1894. There were several children by that marriage.
Judge Whitake rwas a youth of fourteen years when the family came to Iowa, where for 48 years he has now made his home. His youth was largely passed upon his father's farm, and he supplemented his public school education by study in the Iowa State College, from which he graduated in 1874. In 1871, he was admitted to the bar, for he had determined upon the practice of law as a life work and had thoroughly quliafied himself of the profession by preliminary reading. In 1878 he opened a law office in Boone in partnership with John A Hull Sr., the association continuing for 5 years, during which time Judge Whitaker made substantial progress in a profession where advancement is proverbially slow. At the end of that time, or in 1883, he was elected city attorney and the following year was again called to public office, being elected mayor of Boone, He discharged the duties of that position with promptness and capability for two years and in 1885 as elected to the office of county attorney, in which he continued through reelection for three terms. Judicial honors were conferred upon him in 1898, when he was elected district judge. He took his seat upon the bench, and his decisons, strictly fair and impartial, brought to him high commendation from his professional associates and the general public. At the close of his first term he was again his party's nominee and was reelected. On his retirement for the bench he resumed the private practice of law, and his clientage is now large and distinctively representative. His name is associated with the most important litigated interests that have been tried it eh courtw of the distric for more that thiry-five years, and his pronounced abiltiy has won for him his judicial honors and his gratifying success as a lawyer.
On July 5, 1884, Mr Whitaker was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Tallman, a native of New York and they have become the parents of three children: Benjamin T who is now a physician of Boone, Genevieve, who died in 1887, and James R at home. The family attend the Presyterian church, and Mr Whitaker holds membership with the Knights of Pythias, his politcal allegiance is always given to the republicn party, and in office he has given indusputable proof of his public spirited devotion to the general good.
1914 Boone County History Book
Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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