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Posted By: Dana Roquet (email)
Date: 1/21/2011 at 20:10:30

Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa Volume 1
By B. F. Gue, Benjamin Franklin Shambaugh
Conaway & Shaw, Publishers 1899

TEDFORD, JUDGE WILLIAM HAMILL, who at this writing holds a judgeship in the Third judicial district of Iowa, was born in Blount county, east Tennessee, November 8, 1844. He is the son of John and Elizabeth Hamill Tedford, who were of English and Scotch and Scotch descent, respectively. Both great-grandfathers fought on the side of the patriots in the revolutionary war. It was during that struggle that John Tedford and Mary Paxton, the great-grandfather and great-grandmother of Judge Tedford, were married in Rockbridge county, Va. Mary Paxton belonged to that celebrated family of Virginia Paxton’s from which sprung Gen. Samuel Houston, of Texas, and other historic characters in the ministry and the profession of law. The grandfather of Judge Tedford was a cousin of General Houston, their mothers being Paxton’s. This grandparent served in the war of 1812, under General Jackson, with the rank of captain. After the close of hostilities he removed to east Tennessee, where the judge was born. The family came to Iowa in 1851, and located on a farm, where the education of the young man was secured, the same being such as was afforded by the common schools of that day. At the age of 16 he enlisted in Company F. Eleventh Iowa infantry, and served his county four years, taking part in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg and Atlanta. He participated in many skirmishes which cannot properly be called battles, although marked by stubborn fighting and considerable loss of life, and was with Sherman on his march to the sea.

When peace had been declared he returned to Iowa, and entered the State university, graduating from the law department thereof at the end of two years with a degree of LL. B. This was in 1869, and in September of the same year he settled at Corydon, Iowa, and commenced the practice of his profession. Within a few years he built up an extensive practice, and had a part in nearly all the important litigation in the county. The firm of Tedford & Miles, of which this subject was a member, in the case of the State of Iowa vs. Kabrich, 89th Iowa, page 277, first took the position in our supreme court that the character of one charged with an offense is not in issue, unless he introduces evidence relative thereto. This point was sustained by the supreme court, making this a leading case.

The judge has always been a republican and was one of the presidential electors for Iowa in 1884. He was elected one of the judges of the Third judicial district in 1890, and with Judge Towner, his associate, was unanimously renominted in 1894. The democratic party in the distric ratied the nomination, and their names were placed on both tickets, so that the election was in fact almost unanimous. They were both again re-elected in 1898. He is very active in the work of his party, and has been called upon to address the people in different parts of the state on many occasions of importance. As an interpreter of the law he has few equals, and his record in the Supreme Court is remarkable. In the six years that he has held a seat on the bench he has been affirmed in almost every case.

He is a member of the celebrated Crocker Brigade association, and delivered the biennial address at the reunion of that organization at Ottumwa, September 26, 1894, of which address it was said by the Ottumwa Courier: “It was a scholarly and masterful effort. It is unhesitatingly pronounced the finest address ever heard at a Crocker Brigade reunion.” The judge is not a member of any church, although reared a Presbyterian. He was married to Miss Emma Thomas, daughter of Capt. W. W. Thomas, of Corydon, June 22, 1875, to which union there has been born one child, a daughter. She is named Eva, born July 9, 1877. The mother and daughter affiliate with the Methodist denomination.

Judge Tedford has one of the handsomest homes in Corydon, and is in good financial circumstances. He is a director in the Wayne County State bank, and a figure in the business as well as legal circles of that section of the state.

note from contributor: daughter Eva married Charles B Miles, son of her father's law partetner Lewis Miles


Wayne Biographies maintained by Ann Selvig.
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