History of Clayton County, Iowa
1882

Chapter VI

The Bar of Clayton County

The Early Bar * The Present Bar


The Bar of Clayton County
(pg 318-319)

In reviewing the history of the bar it must be borne in mind that as the prosperity and well-being of every community depends upon the wise interpretation, as well as upon the judicious framing of its laws, it must be necessarily follow that a record of the members of the bar must form no unimportant part of the county's history. Upon a few principles of natural justice is erupted the whole superstructure of civil law, tending to meet the wants and subserve the interest of all like. The business of lawyer is not to make the laws, but to apply them to the daily affairs of men. But the interest of men are diversified, and where so many interests and counter-interests are to be protected and adjusted, to the lawyer and judge are presented many interesting and complex problems.

Change is everywhere imminent. The laws of yesterday do not meet the wants and necessities of the people of to-day, for the old relations do not exist. New and satisfactory laws must be established. The discoveries in arts and sciences, the invention of new contrivance for labor, the enlargement of industrial pursuits, and the increase in development of commerce are without precedence, and the science of law must keep pace with them all; nay, it must even forecast the event, and so frame its laws as will most adequately subserve the wants and provide for the necessities of the new conditions. Hence the lawyer is a man of to-day. The exigencies he must meet are those of his own time. His capital is his ability and individuality. He cannot bequeath to his successors the characteristics that distinguish him, and at his going, as a general thing, the very evidences of his work disappear.

Anthony Thorton, president of the Illinois State Bar Association, in 1878, in an address before the Association, thus speaks of the lawyer: "In the American State the great and good lawyer must always be prominent, for he is one of the forces which move in control society. Public confidence has generally been reposed in the legal profession. It has ever been the defender of popular rights, the champion of freedom; regulated by law, and the firm support of good government. In times of danger it has stood like a rock and breasted the mad obsessions of the hour, and firmly resisted tumult and faction. No political preferment, no mere place, and add to the power or increase the honor which belong to the pure and educated lawyer. The fame of Mansfield and Marshall and Story can never die.'Time's iron feet can print no ruin-trace' upon their character. Their learning and luminous exposition of our jurisprudence will always light our pathway. It is our duty to preserve the prestige of the profession. The past, at least, is secure; the present and future summon us to action. With the progress of society and the increase of population, wealth and trade, very interests arise, and novel questions requiring more thought confront us. A disregard of the law has been developed, crime meets us unabashedly, and corruption stands unmasked in the high places of the land. It is no fancy picture that the law has, to some extent, lost its authority, it is only the shade of that which once was great. Hence, new duties are imposed, and a firmer courage required.

The exaltation of the profession is a duty enjoined upon us. It is the debt which only death can discharge. Lord Bacon has said,'Every man is a debtor to his profession; from the which, as men of course to seek to receive countenance and profit, so ought they of duty to endeavor themselves, by way of ammends, to be a help and ornament thereto.' The lawyers should price and love his profession. He should value its past renown, and cherish the memory of great men whose gigantic shadows walked by us still. He should love it for the intrinsic worth an inmate truth of the fundamental truths which adorn it."

In compiling a history of the bar, one is astonished at the small amount of material for a memoir of those who have been so intimately connected with, and exerted such influence upon, the county's welfare and progress. Aside from the few who have become great, who's names are emblazoned on history's page, but little is known of men who at one time were very prominent in the legal profession in the country.


The Early Bar
(pg 319-323)

Clayton County was organized in 1838, but for five years the bar was composed of only traveling attorneys, those who followed the circuit, and took the business that came in the way. Among those who had cases in the county prior to 1843 but who never claimed a residence here, were J. V. Berry, L. A. Thomas, Thomas Rogers, James Churchman, James Crawford, James Grant, S. C. Hastings, Timothy Davis, Stephen Hempstead, Alfred Bronson, Mr. Larned, Charles Dunn, Wyram Knowlton, P.A.R. Pearce, J. C. Caldwell, Thomas P. Burnett and Mr. Ingersoll.

Samuel Murdoch was the first to make Clayton County his home. As Mr. Murdoch is still in practice his sketch appears among the attorneys composing the present bar. He was followed by the following named, some of whom are yet in active practice: Reuben Noble, Eliphalet Price, Elias H. Williams, P. M. Potter, Gilbert Douglas, Norman Chesley, Schuyler R. Peet, A. J. Jourdan, Thomas Armstrong, Orlando F. Stevens, J. O. Crosby, A. H. Odell, Thomas Updegraff, John F. Stoneman, Dr. Baugh, C.F. Remick, Willis Drummond, Chas. Woodward, B. T. Hunt, Douglas Leffingwell, S. T. Woodward, Alpheus Scott, Sandford L. Peck, J. W. Moor, T. C. Ransom, Alonzo Brown, H. S. Granger, Colonel Richardson, L. O. Hatch, Robt. Quigley, Hiram Odell.

Gilbert Douglas was born in New York, at an early day accompanying his parents to Illinois, locating near Alton. In 1844 he came to Clayton County, read law with Judge Noble, and was admitted to the bar in 1847. Instead of devoting his attention to the law, he, soon after admission to the bar, began merchandising in Garnavillo, which business he followed for several years. In fact he never gave much attention to his profession, and when the railroad agitation commenced , he became an active railroad man. He now resides in Des Moines.


Schuyler R. Peet was born in Farmersville, Cattaraugus County, N.Y., August 23, 1820. He received in youth a common school education, and for three terms attended a seminary in his native county. At the age of eighteen he was elected captain of a military company of the militia of his State and was afterward major of his regiment. During this time he studied law. He was married April 25, 1842, to Angelina Boggs, who still survives him. They had six children, all of whom have reached their majority and are filling high places in society.

In April Mr. Peet moved to Iowa, and located near the line between Clayton and Delaware counties. Here he resided for thirty-two years, until his death. in 1859 he was elected to the General Assembly of Iowa, where he gave great satisfaction to the people whom he represented. He has held various local offices, and has been identified prominently with every important movement in his community for the thirty-two years of his residence in Iowa.

Mr. Peet was a member of the Baptist Church, and the first religious services and Lodomillo Township were held at his house. His hospitality was proverbial. Ask any of his old neighbors about him, and they say:" I stayed at Peet's the first night I came into the county, and we have been good friends ever since."

Politically, he was a consistent Democrat, but Republicans stumpers always made his house their home, and in the morning when they asked for their bill, it was paid by saying:" Come again." In the death of Schuyler R. Peet, Clayton and Delaware counties met with an irreparable loss.


Thomas Armstrong was a Vermonter by birth, and came to Clayton County in 1845, and formed a partnership with Elias H. Williams in the practice of law, which continued until the breaking out of the Mexican war, when he enlisted in a company formed in Clayton County and served until its close. After being discharged from its service he moved to New York, locating in Watertown, where he resumed the practice of law.


Orlando F. Stevens was from Vermont, and located in this county and 1845 subsequently he formed a partnership with Judge Noble, which continued until he was elected prosecuting attorney for the county, in the fall of 1850, which office he held until it was abolished by the Constitution of 1857. He was a good lawyer and a vigorous prosecutor. After the expiration of his term he went to Minnesota, where he died.


C.F. Remick was among the attorneys who came in the second decade of the county's existence. He located at McGregor, where he remains some years, and for a time was a partner of Judge Hunt. He was a fair lawyer, and is now a member of the Chicago bar.


Willis Drummond was from Missouri, and came to the county in the second decade. He formed a partnership with Noble and Odell, under the firm name of Noble, Odell & Drummond. The firm was a strong one.


Douglas Leffingwell was a native of Ohio, and was admitted to the bar October, 1857, in Cleveland. In 1858 he located at McGregor. During the war he served his country faithfully in the field. He has served the county in the General Assembly and at one time was editor of the McGregor News. He now resides in Dakota.


Henry S. Granger is a native of Geauga County, Ohio, and was born April 23, 1821. His father was a farmer in moderate circumstances, and therefore the educational privileges of Henry were limited. In order to enlarge them he split rails, and raise the means to enable him to spend one year and a select school in his native county. In the spring of 1850, he came to Garnavillo, Iowa, then the seat of justice. Before leaving Ohio he had paid some attention to law, and here resumed to study with Hon. Samuel Murdoch, and was admitted to the bar in October, 1851. In January, 1853, Mr. Granger started the Clayton County Herald, the history of which is given elsewhere in this book. In 1856 Mr. Granger moved to McGregor, and engaged in banking and real estate business. In 1860 he went to Colorado in search of the precious metals, and returned in a few months not overburdened with bouillon. In December of that year he located at Elkader, and here continue the practice of law, when not performing the duties of some office. From 1852 to 1855 Mr. Granger was school fund Commissioner for Clayton County, and in 1860, while in Colorado, was nominated for clerk of the District Court, and elected three days after his return, holding the office for twelve years. He made an efficient and popular officer.


Benjamin T. Hunt was born in central New York, November, 1817, and when a young man moved to Fairfield, Buren County, O., where he taught school for a short time, and then learned the trade of a shoemaker, which occupation he followed until he was twenty-eight years of age, in the mean-time reading law under the direction of Mr. Foote, an attorney of Fairfield. On his admission to the bar he retired from the shoemaker's bench, and for about two years traveled, giving lectures on psychology and mesmerism, subjects at that time largely engaging the attention of the people. As a lecturer he won some distinction and a little money. At the conclusion of his lecturing tours he commenced the practice of his profession at Fairfield, continuing there with varying success until 1857, when he came West to Prairie du Chien, where he became a member of the firm of Blair, Hunt & Bullock, which connection continued about one year, when he removed to McGregor, and became a partner of C.F. Remick. In 1860 he came to Elkader and formed a partnership with Samuel Murdoch. The partnership was dissolved in the fall of 1862, when Mr. Hunt took as a partner his late law student, R.E. Price, and under the firm name of Hunt & Price the partnership continued until he was elected judge of the circuit court in the fall of 1868. Judge Hunt was one of the best cross examiners that ever practiced at the bar of Clayton County, and often was employed on cases for an no other purpose than to cross examine some particularly hard witness. He never grew angry while trying a case, and never insulted a witness, but in an easy, quiet way, exhorted from him such admissions as he desired. He would not take a case unless convinced that he was on the side of right, and he would not forgive a client who would receive him in the matter. On one occasion he was employed in a case where his client on the stand was compelled to testify differently from what he had informed him was the truth, and therefore placed him in an awkward position. On the conclusion of the trial, he called his client to him and told him to immediately pay him $30 and then never set foot inside his office again. As an advocate he was regarded as one of the best, and as a judge, his decisions were generally accepted is correct, and he was popular with bar and people. Judge Hunt died in Elkader, June 18, 1873, leaving a wife, son and daughter.


The Present Bar
(pg 323-355)

"Praise may be written of the dead, but not all the living," from its frequent repetition, might be classed among the proverbs, and the historian is often at a loss of words to express himself when writing of those who have not "passed beyond the Valley in the shadow of death." Just praise and words of accommodation are often do, but for fear that envious ones will say that all his flattery, the words are left unsaid. In the following pages upon the present bar, terms of flattery are avoided, but just terms of praise or not withheld when the subject is deemed worthy. For all that appears the historian is held responsible.

The bar of Clayton County in the this year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty two, is composed of some who are the peer of any in the State, men whose learning and experience, entitled them to front rank. The following named compose its members: Samuel Murdoch, Reuben Noble, Elias H. Williams, J. O. Crosby, Thomas Updegraff, John T. Stoneman, S. T. Woodward, L. O. Hatch, William A. Preston, W.E. Odell, S. K. Adams, R. E. Price, Marvin Coke, W. C. Lewis, Robert Quigley, Martin Garber, J.E. Corlett and S. T. Richards.

In the following pages are given biographical sketches of most of the these. The sketches of those not in this chapter will be found in the other chapters of this work.


Samuel K. Adams has been a member of the Clayton County bar for more than ten years, having been admitted to practice in 1871. Mr. Adams was born in Brook County Va., Jan. 18, 1850. His father was Benjamin Adams, who was likewise a native of Brooke County. His mother's maiden name was White. She was an Illinoisian by birth. Benjamin Adams and Mary White were married in Brook County VA, in 1847. Five children were born unto them, of whom Samuel K. was the second. In 1856 he came with his parents to Clayton County and resided with them upon a farm, doing his share of the work as soon as he was able to attend to the duties pertaining to the life of a farmers boy, and his opportunity offered he attended the common public school of the neighborhood in which his parents resided. Being an apt scholar, at eighteen years of age he was sufficiently advanced to teach a country school. While engaged in teaching, he began to read law, and for two years in his leisure moments he pursued a course of study, at the end of which time he entered the office of Judge B. T. Hunt, at Elkader, continuing with him one year, being admitted to the bar of September, 1871. In 1874 he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the state. In 1872 Mr. Adams opened an office in Elkader and at once entered upon an active professional life. At this time he was appointed by John Everall Deputy County Superintendent of public schools, and served four years. He subsequently served in the same capacity under J. F. Thompson. In 1875 he was nominated on the Democratic ticket for the office of county superintendent, at which time the North Iowa Times said:" Mr. Adams is a promising young lawyer, who grew up in the county, and has given evidence of rare ability in public life. Mr. Adams is a member of the Clayton County bar, and since his admission, four or five years ago, he has advanced rapidly in his profession, and today stands high in the bar which is acknowledged to be second to none in the State." Mr. Adams declined running for the office, and has since devoted himself to his profession, though he has taken an active part in the discussion of political questions, and his services as a public speaker are called into requisition each campaign. In 1876 Mr. Adams was united in marriage with Miss A. L. House, daughter of Anna J. House, of Canton, Dak. She was born near portage, Wisconsin, June 6, 1860.


Asahel Chapin, one of the leading members of the Clayton County bar, was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on the 13th day of January, 1846, a son of Reverend Asahel and Cathryn M. (Sutherland) Chapin, who were married in Chautauqua County, New York, about 1839, and were the parents of four children, viz.: Judson S., who died in 1879; Asahel, Attorney at Law; Edward S., a graduate at West Point, and at present First Lieutenant of Battery B, 4th US Artillery, and William F., of Dubuque Iowa. Asahel Chapin, Sr., was a graduate at Amherst College, and soon after was ordained as a Baptist minister. He was subsequently elected president of Horton College, of Nova Scotia. In 1851 he left Massachusetts and emigrated with his family to Galena, Illinois, where he supplied the pulpit of the First Baptist Church for five years. In 1856 he went to Benton County, Iowa, where he engaged in farming, and in the meantime assisted in organizing the First Baptist Church of Vinton, supplying the pulpit until 1864, when he removed to Dubuque, where he was pastor of the second Baptist Church, until he resigned in 1868. He at present resides in Freeport, Illinois. Rev. Asahel Chapin is a large-souled philanthropist, a cheerful loving disciple of Jesus, a genial, trustworthy friend, a logical and earnest thinker, an eloquent and impressive preacher, and a broad hearted and every way noble man.

The subject of this memoir was educated at the Iowa State University, graduating in the winter of 1867-'8. Soon after he went to Dubuque where he read law in the office of Wilson and Dowd two years, and in 1871 was admitted to the bar. Remaining in Dubuque he associated himself with Platt Smith and H. B. Fouke until 1874, when he came to McGregor, and formed a partnership with John T. Stoneman, now of Cedar Rapids. In 1877 he married Maggie S., daughter of John T. Stoneman. By this union there are two children - Florence and Esther.


James E. Corlett was born in Farmersburg Township, March 14, 1858. His parents were J. D. and Catherine A. (Crawford) Corlett, the father a native of the Isle of Man, and the mother a native of New York. They came to Farmersburg Township in 1853. Our subject passed his early life on a farm, attending school winters. He studied law three years with Murdoch & Larkin, and then studied one year and the law department at Iowa city, where he graduated in the spring of 1880. In the following November he went into partnership with Hon. Martin Garber at Elkport, where they have their office. They have a lucrative practice, and a promising future.


Marvin Cook is the fourth son of Ambrose P. and Eliza J. (Hesser) Cook, and was born January 16, 1845, in Medina County Ohio. At the age of ten years he came with his parents to Clayton County, and was reared on a farm in Highland Township. Here he attended the common schools until sufficiently advanced to enter Upper Iowa University at Fayette, which he attended for some time. In 1865 he commenced the reading of law, under Hunt & Price, at Elkader, where he remained until admitted to the bar. On the 28th day of December 1869 Mr. Cook was united in marriage with Eliza E., daughter of James L. and Eliza B. (Murdock) Gilbert, early settlers of this county, where she was born. Two children have been born unto them - Irving and Herbert. In 1872 Mr. Cook was elected to the office of the clerk of the District Court of Clayton County, which office he held eight years, declining a further reelection. Mr. Cook has taken great interest in the various benevolent societies, and is a member of Elkader Lodge, No. 72, AF&AM, and of Harmony Chapter, No. 41, of the same order. Is also a member of Elkader Lodge, No. 304, I.O.O.F.; Elkader Lodge, No. 44, A.O.U.W., and the V.A.S. fraternity. Mr. Cook has now built up a lucrative practice in his profession, which he has practiced over 15 years, excepting the time he was clerk of the courts.


Hon. James O. Crosby. Among the members of the legal profession in Clayton County and Northern Iowa none stand higher in their profession than this leading a distinguished lawyer, and it would be neither doing justice to the high standing of the Clayton County bar, nor to our history, if we pass him by without giving him a high and honorable position.

In coming into the County it has been our purpose to write a faithful history of her men and their actions, without discrimination, and we trust that we do not depart from this resolution we say that the bar of the county is composed of men and of the very highest character, and that the people of the County have just cause to appreciate them, and feel satisfied with their conduct. Among these eminent men of Clayton County, the subject of this sketch has for an over a quarter of a century stood in the front rank, and by his voice, his pen and his actions constantly contributed to his own and their elevation as members of an honorable profession; and after time refusing office and emolument, he has stayed by his chair and his desk until he has acquired for himself and his family a competence on which he can rely in his declining years.

He is a self-made man in every sense of the word, and to make himself what he is he has worked and labored incessantly at his books and his task until he has acquired a vast fund of general and practical knowledge, and this, with the care and attention which he has given to the discipline of his mind, gives him an advantage in the investigation of legal subjects that but few other men in Northern Iowa possess.

There is no trade or calling in the country that he does not understand; there is no branch of practical knowledge that he is not familiar with, and there is no branch of science that he has not studied and investigated, and all these acquirements, coupled with a thorough and practical knowledge of the law, give them high and eminent position before the people of his State and county.

He was born in Warren County, New York, and received his education and at Seneca Falls and the Fredonia Academies, and soon after leaving these, he entered the law office of Mr. Bingham at Ellicottville, New York, and under his instructions was admitted to the bar of that State.

In 1854 he removed to Clayton County and settled at Garnavillo, where he still resides, and here he commenced his long and brilliant career as a lawyer, and will in all probability die in the harness.

No lawyer in the county has been more successful, none has had whiter or better reputation, and none has stood higher as a man of honor and integrity.

In company with the Hon. William Larrabee and Dr. John Linton, he made the tour of Europe, visited Paris, the world's fair, Rome and other places of interest on that continent, and returned home with a mind well filled with a knowledge of men and things beyond the Atlantic.

He is a close, clear and methodical speaker, and so arranges his subjects and his thoughts that a child can understand him; and it is this habit and disciplined up his mind that is given him the appellation of a "clearheaded lawyer."

He has always taken a deep and active interest in all the leading political questions of the day, is an ardent Republican, and during the great Rebellion was true and loyal to his country.

He was married in early life to Miss Caroline Gibbs, a lady of fine attainments and brilliant talent, and she has made him a kind, gentle and amiable wife; and to one who may look into that well-managed and lovely abode, it is a picture of domestic happiness and felicity that is pleasant to behold.


Martin Garber was born April 20 6, 1829, in Augusta County Virginia, and came with his parents to Logan County Ohio, when two years of age. He was the son of Martin and Magdalen (Mohler) Garber, both natives of Virginia. The family shortly afterward removed to Shelby County, where they lived until the father's death, in August, 1851. Their farm was then sold. October 1, 1851, Mrs. Garber, with five sons and two daughters, came to Iowa and settled in the Turkey Valley, which they reached on the last day of October. In 1856 Martin was married to Lucy A. Rife, Elkport. In 1863 he went with his wife and two children to California, where they remained until 1868. In that year they returned, and our subject opened a store at Edgewood. The following year he went into the county auditor's office as deputy, in which capacity he served until January 1, 1872, when he was elected Auditor. He was reelected every two years until he retired, January 1, 1880. He was then chosen State Senator from the Fortieth District, in that position he now holds. He was admitted to the bar in 1878, and in November, 1880, he formed a law partnership with James D. Corlett, of Farmersburg, and is now practicing law. He is also engaged in farming. He is a Republican, politically, and is connected with no church organization. He has a family of six children - Martha A., now the wife of Dr. Taft; Estella V., teaching at Elkport; Florence, at school; Milton C., attending Commercial College at Dubuque; Mary and Burton, at home. Mr. Garber has been identified with the county for thirty years, and is deservedly popular among his fellow citizens, who all wish him many years more of prosperity.


Leander O. Hatch, attorney of McGregor, was born in Mesopotamia, Trumbull County, Ohio, April 13, 1826. His parents were Anson and Mary (Moore) Hatch, natives of Massachusetts. He and wife were members of the M.E. Church, and had a family of six sons and two daughters; all lived to be men and women. Leander O. was the fourth son; he attended school, working on his father's farm until 16 years of age. He graduated from the Farmington Academy in 1842, and taught school in Ohio and New York states, studying law until 1849, when he was admitted to the Ohio bar at Chardon, Ohio. He then taught school some 18 months, then began practicing law in Cuyahoga County, New York, and in the fall of 1853 he came to Iowa, stopped at Delhi, Delaware County, a short time, then located a Waukon, Allamakee County, practicing law. He was elected county treasurer and recorder of Allamakee, and district attorney for the tenth Judicial District, comprising Allamakee, Clayton, Chickasaw, Fayette, Winneshiek and Howard counties; was District Attorney two years. While here Judge Granger studied law under Mr. Hatch, afterward becoming his partner. January 1, 1869, Mr. Hatch located in McGregor, Iowa, where he has practiced law ever since. He first formed a partnership with Judge Noble; they remained partners from 1869 to 1874. Mr. Hatch married Miss Albina Spalding November 18, 1856, at Waukon, Iowa. She was born in Dover, Maine, and was the daughter of Asher Spalding, of Maine. Mr. and Mrs. Hatch have had four sons and one daughter, viz.: Arthur, a graduate of the Wisconsin University; Frank, Miss Mary, Leander O. and Burt all reside with their parents. Mr. L. O. Hatch is one of the leading members of the Clayton County bar. In politics he is a Republican, having been a strong supporter of this party ever since its organization. Prior to his coming to Iowa he lectured for 18 months in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York states against American slavery. Mr. Hatch is one of the enterprising representative men Clayton County, where he has been identified since 1869. He is of English descent.


J. Larkin was born October 25, 1840, and Joe Davies County, Illinois, of Irish parentage. In 1842 his parents moved to Grant County, Wisconsin, to a place about 4 miles west of where the town of Hazel Green is now situated, and there purchased from the Government a large tract of fine farming land. His father became a well-to-do farmer. Most of the early life of J. Larkin was spent in school. He attended school at Sinsinawa Mound College (since changed into a convent) during 1854, 1855 and 1856. Came, temporarily, to Clayton County in 1857 and taught school there in 1857 and 1858. Returned to Sinsinawa Mound College in 1859, and finished his studies there on July 3, 1860, receiving the degree of bachelor of arts. He attended the Law Department of the University of the city of New York in 1862 and during 1863 until the annual commencement, which took place on May 6, when he graduated an LL.B. On May 21, 1863, he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the State of New York as an attorney and counselor at law; June 20 5, 1863, he received from his alma mater the degree of A.M. In 1865 he married the daughter of the late Patrick Uriell, Esq., one of the oldest of the pioneers of Clayton County. He followed farming until 1874, when he entered the law business. In 1876 he and Samuel Murdoch formed the law partnership firm of Murdoch & Larkin, at Elkader, which firms still continues. Mr. Larkin is an able lawyer.


W.C. Lewis, of Elkader, was born in Kane County, Illinois, May 25, 1854 he is the son of William and Agnes (Sloan) Lewis, natives of Scotland, who emmigrated to America in 1847; and located at Elgin, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis came across the ocean on the same vessel that brought the renowned Allan Pinkerton, the detective. W. C. Lewis left his home when but 13 years of age and went into the pineries, where he remained for a time, and subsequently ran on the Mississippi River, on the Diamond Joe line of boats, serving in various positions. In 1877 Mr. Lewis attended the law school of the State University, from which place he graduated, after which he entered into partnership with R.E. Price in the practice of law at Elkader. In 1876 Mr. Lewis was united in marriage with Effie J., daughter of David Bachtell, of Boardman Township. She was born in Clayton County, June, 1859. One child has been born onto them. In 1879 he was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace to fill a vacancy, and re-elected in 1880 for the full term of four years. In politics Mr. Lewis is a Democrat, and takes quite an active part in the political councils of his party in in the dissemination of Democratic views.


Samuel Murdoch. Neither the history of Iowa and other history of Clayton County could be written with propriety without an extensive sketch of the life and times of this distinguished person. His father and mother were children of Scotch parents, and were both raised in the country of Armaugh, Ireland, and emmigrated to America in the or 1812, and settled near Pittsburgh in the state of Pennsylvania, were the subject of this sketch was born on the 13th of March, 1817. In the year 1827 his father with his family moved to the city of Cleveland, Ohio, and finally settled on little farm near that city, in the town of Rockport. Here he grew up to manhood, receiving such education as the common schools of that day afforded, and after arriving at full age, he taught school in several places in the state of Ohio. It was during his younger years that he became acquainted with the family of Hon. Reuben Wood, who was at that time one of the Supreme Judges of that State, and who afterward became her Governor. With this family he lived for several years, and it was from this Judge and Governor that he not only received many of his early lessons in general history, law, and politics, but material aid and assistance, and it is to this noble and generous family that he still feels himself indebted for the position he now occupies, and of whom he always speaks of the tenderness of a child for its parents.

In the fall of 1841 he left Ohio, and soon found himself alone in the city of Chicago, and after remaining here a few days, he started out to across the country to Rock River, sometimes on foot, sometimes on wagons drawn by oxen. On reaching that river he followed it down to Rock Island, and after a day or two crossed over to the town of Davenport. Here he remained for a few days recruiting his wearied limbs, and then shouldering a heavy pack he again started on foot across the country, on an Indian trail for Iowa City, which place he reached after two days of the most wearisome labor.

The site for the capital of Iowa was at that time fixed, and here he determined to remain, and soon after his arrival he entered the Law office of Bates & Harrison, with whom he remained but a few months, when this firm dissolved, and he then entered the Law office of the late Hon. Gillman Folsome, and it was while in this office that he was admitted to the bar of Johnson County. Before making a final settlement he determined to examine and explore the country, and for this purpose he came to Dubuque, where he had letters of introduction to some of the principal men. Here he found the Hon. Thomas N. Wilson on the bench, and the bar composed of J. V. Berry, James Crawford, Hon. Stephen Hempstead, James Churchman, L. A. Thomas, Hon. Timothy Davis, and the Hon. Thomas Rogers, nearly all of whom are and are now gone to the spirit land.

It was while he was in Dubuque that he heard for the first time of the beautiful undulating prairies of Clayton County, and starting out in company with the late John Thomas, of Prairie Du Chien, with Dr. Frederick Andros as a guide, he arrived at Jacksonville, since called Garnavillo, on the ninth day of August, 1843. The grandeur and beauty of the surrounding scenery, together with the fertility of the soil, attracted his attention, and he determined to make this his future home; with this intention he soon staked and marked out a "claim" one and one-half miles south on section twenty-nine, and from time to time in entered the land at the Dubuque land office. This farm he, for 35 years, adorned and embellished with his own hands, and in its days of beauty it was considered the model farm of the State. He surrounded his gardens and his yards with the fir, the spruce and the pine, and from their numbers and luxuriant growth the farm was called the "Evergreens". Enclosed by these beautiful trees was to be seen growing extensive orchards of fruits, selected by him from all parts of America, together with grapes of every kind in description, while flowers and shrubs bloomed by the side of every walk, and from the time he began his work on this farm until the present time his been considered the best tree and grape grower in the state of Iowa, and his voice, pen and labor is still engaged in disseminating useful information on the subject of both agriculture and horticulture.

He was the first lawyer who permanently settled north of Dubuque, and during his long residence on this farm he still kept up his law practice. With the exception of two terms he has been president and had business in every term of the courts of his county for thirty-nine years, and during all this long, he has it to say, that no man has ever lost a case or a dollar by his carelessness or want of legal ability.

In the year 1845 he was elected a member of the Territorial Legislature from the counties of Dubuque, Delaware and Clayton. He remained in this body until Iowa passed into a State, and it was while in this body that he was mainly instrumental in securing for the state her present northern boundary. In 1848 he was elected School Fund Commissioner, an office which he held for four years, during which time he sold most of the school lands of his county, consisting of both the sixteen sections in the Counties portion of the 500,000 acres donated for school purposes, and as he was allowed a large discretion in the sale of these valuable lands, he took good care to see that they were purchased by actual settlers. During these sales he would often have in his house at a time several thousand dollars, which money he covered up in his potato bin in his cellar.

In 1855 he was elected the first District Judge of the Tenth Judicial District, which at the time included 10 counties, and in several of these counties he held the first courts; and through this large district twice each year he traveled, generally on horseback, swimming rivers and wading sloughs, generally accompanied by a number of lawyers, and to this day these journeys form the theme of many a pleasing story in the bar of Northern Iowa.

In early life he was a Democrat, but upon the repeal of the Missouri Compromise he assisted in forming the Republican Party, and has ever since voted and acted with that party; and when the Rebellion broke out his voice and his pen were ever active in the cause of the Union, and many of his speeches of that day are models of patriotism, elocution and oratory.

In the fall of 1863 he visited some of the Golf States, and he came the war correspondent of several Iowa papers. In the year 1864 he again returned to the Southern States, and again resumed his correspondence with Northern papers, and it was this correspondence that first brought him into notice as a writer; and from that day to the present his articles on every subject he's touches are sought after and read with deepest interest. Returning from the South in the fall of 1864, he was retained as attorney for Hon. James Andrews, of Columbia, Tennessee, who had appealed to the president of United States from the sentence of a Military Court condemning him to imprisonment for the killing of a soldier belonging to a Michigan Regiment, and to present and argue the case before the president he repaired to Washington in the fall of that year. Mr. Lincoln gave him a hearing, reversed the sentence and set his client at liberty.

In 1869 he was elected a member of the Thirteenth General Assembly, and in this assembly he distinguished himself as a lawyer and a speaker by his great speech and opposition to the repeal of the death penalty for the crime of murder, in which he said its appeal would not only be an advertisement, inviting all the villains of America to come to Iowa, were without fear of their necks they could rob and murder with impunity, but that it only transferred the inflection of the death penalty in cases of murder from an organized in legal court to one of mobs, and his observations and words have since been many times proved too true.

In the summer of 1869 he unearthed the "Hagerty Massacre," one of the most cruel and terrible murders of modern times, in which he brought to light no less than five dead bodies, after they had been entombed and hid away for over eight months, and then he pursued and prosecuted the murderer until he lodged him in the penitentiary for life. For this great service he was not only rewarded by the thanks of a grateful public, but the county paid him a large sum, and he received in addition $500 from the State.

In 1878, in connection with his friend, W. A. Benton, he planned the capture of the notorious bank robber, Jim Uncer, and had him brought from his hiding place in Chicago to Clayton County, where he was tried and sent to the penitentiary for his crimes.

Judge Murdoch has been a successful lawyer, and during his long residence and practice in the county he has always been engaged on one side or the other of the most important cases, and today he is regarded by his fellows as one of the best jury lawyers in the State.

Portraits of Samuel & Louisa (Patch) Murdock - pages 299 & 300

In 1845 he married Miss Louisa Patch, who has made him a good and faithful wife, and two daughters out of six children are their only survivors, the eldest of which is a graduate of the Boston University and has led several professorships in different colleges in the West, and the youngest is at present the German teacher in the Elkader graded school.

In 1876 he was selected by the Governor to fill Iowa's Department of Anthropology at the Centennial, and although the notice was a short one, yet he took the field, and in a few months he had collected and shipped to Philadelphia some of the most curious and wonderful specimens are prehistoric man that had ever been on earth on this continent, and although his collection was small, yet it received from the historian of the Centennial the only compliment paid to Iowa for her part in the great show.

In 1878 he wrote and published a series of articles on "Prehistoric Man," and these interfering somewhat with creeds, brought down upon him a score of orthodox writers, who sought to drive him from his purpose and demolishes arguments; yet the press of the country generally took sides with him, bestowed upon him high compliments, and encouraged him in every way to proceed. To these attacks he paid no attention, and quietly proceeded with his work, and today he has the proud satisfaction of seeing and knowing that the general reading public is with him, and believes he was right. These articles not only show him to be an elegant English writer, but they displayed deep and profound thought, as well as historical and scientific research, and for these and other services in the cause of science, learned societies have conferred upon him distinguished honors.

In 1859 he wrote and published his "Sketches of the public man of Iowa before she became a State," (among who were her four first governors), and these sketches not only gave him a wide range of acquaintance, but they placed him in a high rank among the distinguished writers of that day.

As a miscellaneous writer in history, astronomy, geology, archaeology, biography, obituary and on horticulture, he has probably done more of it than any other man in the State of Iowa, and in all of these he displays the same easy and elegant style of composition which commands for them the attention of the reading public, and his pen is still as active as ever, for scarcely a week passes without an article of some kind from yet, in some of the leading journals of the State. It has been said of him by one writer, that in "astronomy he could toss the great globes around us, as the juggler does his brass balls, with the most frightful ease," and he is doubtless the first man to assert and publish to the world, whether true or not, that clouds of electricity of vapor and ice and open water all coal mingled together in the terrible commotion of the solar spot, while in geology he has gone down among the lowest of the Silurian rocks and under their primitive fossils to enrich his cabinet. He has probably done more than any other man in the West to bring to light the remains of the mound-builder and other prehistoric races that once inhabited the Mississippi Valley, and his speeches and articles on this subject are of the deepest interest, and command the greatest attention.

He is an ardent friend of the Irish cause, in his speeches before the different "Land Leagues" of the country not only display a familiarity with Irish history and all the leading questions of her agitations, but they also display an elegance of composition and an eloquence of expression that would do honor to the finest orators in America; and side by side with those of Phillips and other distinguished orators, they have been copied into Irish journals and scattered broadcast to every Irish fireside throughout that unhappy land.

He is the annual orator for the Pioneers and old settlers of his county, and his last speech is always said by them to be his masterpiece; and, indeed, it would be hard to make any of these old pioneers believe that any other person in the county could serve them free speech beside himself, and in this they may be right, for he knows their ways, their customs and their feelings better, perhaps, than any other man in the county; and he has always something pleasing to say of the living, and a sympathetic expression of sorrow for the dead. These qualities give to his speeches before them an interest that no one else could supply, and as one by one, these old guards are about to drop away, they know that he will either speak across their biers or give them a good obituary in the journals of the county.

He is also the author of many beautiful poems, some of which are entitled "Garnavillo," "The Indian Queen," "The Glow Worm," "Pilgrim's Return," "The Maid of the Wapsie," "The Woodpeckers Nest," etc., all of which have been published in the different journals of the State.

His social qualities are up a high order, his conversations rich and interesting, his attic dotes are generally brilliant, and he cherishes an ardent love for the memories that cluster around the days of his boyhood. From his birth nature has always been kind to him by giving him a liberal mind, a healthy and perfect form, and a generous heart, and whatever fate the tides him he allows no gloom or shadows to fall upon his mind, and today his looks and his actions are those of a man in the vigor and prime of life.

We have given him considerable space in our history, not alone because he deserves it, but because that history could not very well have been written without his name, his actions and his writings appearing conspicuously upon its pages; and as the first lawyer of his county, the first judge of the Tenth Judicial District, the prominent place he has ever occupied before the people of his county in all her political and social affairs, and as a miscellaneous, historical, biographical and scientific writer, his name will be connected with her history into the latest posterity.


Reuben Noble was one of the first lawyers in Clayton County, and still practices in McGregor. The following sketch of his life was prepared by Judge Murdoch for the Clayton County Journal, in 1875, when Mr. Noble had just been elected judge at the Tenth Judicial District: The people of Clayton County have ever been kind to the bar of their county, and the large majority given by them to Mr. Noble at the recent election is not only another evidence of this fact, but of their high appreciation of the man who received it; and, as you suggest, a sketch of his history would no doubt be interesting to them. It has been said, with much truth, that during the rise, progress, vigor and prosperity of all nations and governments, it was the self-made men who ruled the hour, and that their prosperity and vigor continued only in till the people began to confer place and power off on birth and caste, and which in every instance was the first introduction of the elements of decay. Whether this is true or not, of other nations, the history of our own country thus far furnishes a glowing example of its truth. Stretching, as it does, across a broad continent, who shores are washed by two of the great oceans of the globe, inviting commerce, adventure and discovery in foreign lands; interspersed by chains of lofty mountains, whose rocks and caverns invite the energy and labor of the chemist, geologist and miner to explore their deep recesses in quest of fame and wealth; widespread and fertile plains stretching from mountain to mountain and watered by deep and majestic rivers from their sites, inviting the agriculture is to excel in the cultivation of the soil, and the merchant to transport the productions to foreign lands; parceled out into separate and distinct States, where laws, wealth and prosperity entitle them to the dignity of empires, and overall a general government with this domestic and foreign affairs all furnishing to the youth of America so many roads and avenues of distinction, honor and wealth to excite their ambition and encourage their efforts, there is no wonder that America is the land and nursery of self-made man, and that they give vigor and impulse to a great body of their nation. But numerous, wide and boundless as these avenues are, there are but few men who have reached the highest positions who can look back over their past lives and say that their paths have been smoothed, and that during their lives they have slept upon beds of down. The road to greatness, in all applications of life, is often through adversity, toil, poverty and want, and he who attains it wins a battle in life, the remembrance of which may well serve to comfort and solace his declining years.

The history of Mr. Noble is, therefore, but a repetition of thousands of the best men in America today, were at the front doing service in the cause of humanity. It starts in his own mind a desire to educate himself, and a resolution form to surmount every obstacle in order to accomplish his purpose. I know but little of his history prior to 1843, except such fragments as I have gleaned from him during rambling conversations in early days. I understand he was born on the 21st of April, 1821, in Adams County, Mississippi, and that in 1833 he emigrated with his father to Jersey County, Illinois. Here he labored on his father's farm until the fall of 1839, when he formed a resolution to educate himself, and with the permission of his father, he left home to attend a mutual labor school, under the charge of Dr. Nelson, in Adams County. Here he remained about three years, going to school and reading law, and during all this time he paid his board by working mornings, evenings and Saturdays. He has often said to the writer of this, that he was obliged to practice the most rigid economy, and that during all this time the sum total of his finances did not exceed $50, $30 of which he earned working on a farm in the balance was loaned to him by a brother. He read law with Edward H. Buckley, Esq., of that county, of whom Mr. Noble always speaks with the reverence due to a father.

In May, 1842, he came to Fairplay, Grant County, Wisconsin, then an important mining town, and here he commenced the practice of law. He remained at this place into the month of October, 1843, when he removed to Clayton County, and took up his residence in the town now called Garnavillo; this town was then called Jacksonville, and was the county seat.

The summer previous to his arrival, a temporary courthouse had been erected and fitted for the District Court and County business. Honorable T. S. Wilson, of Dubuque, then a young man in the prime of his life, was the District Judge, of whom the old settlers and the old bar of the county, often speak with the greatest respect and reverence. Dr. F. Andros, now at Decorah, who will ever be remembered by the people of the county with respect and kindness, was the Clerk; and Ambrose Kennedy, a native of North Carolina, and a good kind man, now in his grave, was the Sheriff.

On the first Monday in October, 1843, Judge Wilson held his first court in the new courthouse at Garnavillo, at which term Mr. Noble appeared, for the first time, and then rolled his name on the records as an attorney and counselor at law, for Clayton County.

At this time Clayton County was bounded on the south by Dubuque and Delaware, east by the Mississippi, North by British America, and west by the Rocky Mountains. On the north and west of what is now the county, was a strip of county about 40 miles wide, and extending to the Missouri, called the "Neutral Ground," and on which were settled the Winnebago Indians.

Through the whole of this vast territory there were several forts garrisoned by the United States troops, and in the vicinity of which were Indian Missions, for the purpose of educating and civilizing the various tribes around them; while the American Fur Company had their trading posts scattered at every available point, to traffic in pelts and furs. All along the Mississippi, the Turkey and Yellow Rivers, and the belts of timber that skirted those rivers and their tributaries, were little groups of settlements, and from all of these at the October elections, after Mr. Noble's arrival, the county was able to poll 150 votes. Among all these settlements and people quite a large traffic had sprung up in dealing in claims, mining, boat wood, farming, supplying corn, beef, oats and wheat for the forts and missions, and in dealing in whiskey, blankets and ponies with the Indians.

Here money was plenty, in proportion to the population, and as might be expected, all these various branches of business would furnish the courts with both civil and criminal business, and enable a lawyer with ordinary economy to live and clothe himself.

The United States paid all the expenses of the Courts and Legislature; the Territorial and County taxes were light; school houses were built of logs; churches were held in groves; game of all kinds was abundant; an air of wild freedom surrounded all, and when in after years, with the burden of civilization upon us, it is no wonder that the old settlers sigh for the "days when we were pioneers, some thirty years ago."

Dubuque at this time had an able bar, consisting of Davis, Crawford, Churchman, Berry, Thomas, Hempstead and Rogers, all of whom are either in retirement or at their graves. Previous to Mr. Noble's arrival this bar followed the judge from court to court, and some of them had quite a large practice in our county. After his arrival, he, Honorable E. Price and the writer of this for several years constituted the bar of this county; until the arrival of Honorable E. H. Williams, O.H. Stevens, E. Odell, J. O. Crosby, J. T. Stoneman, Judge Baugh, Honorable B. T. Hunt and A. J. Jourdan, all of whom, with the exception of Honorable E. Price and Honorable B. T. Hunt, are still in the County pursuing their profession, and these, together with a host of younger attorneys of mark, talent and ability, constitute the present bar of the county, in which endpoint of talent and learning will compare with any other In the State.

From the first day of Mr. Noble commenced practice in the county he has faithfully and laboriously stuck to his profession, and as the settlements enlarged, and new counties were formed, he extended his practice to them until it was probably the largest of any attorney in the State.

For more than 30 years he has traveled from county to county, across trackless prairies, encountering the most intense cold and the driving storm, only to perform on his arrival at the courts whole days and nights of the most intense labor, without rest or sleep, and in all of his cases ever true and faithful to his clients. His knowledge of men and things ought to be great, with an experience as a lawyer that few men of his age of life can boast of.

In a country like ours, with the General Government, State Legislature, County school and Township organizations, and all passing laws, rules and regulations for their government, to be read, digest it and explained by the legal profession, it is but natural that the members of this profession, more than any other, should from time to time be drawn into the whirlpool of politics. They are generally the first to discuss the principles of proposed laws and legal enactments, the first to apply them to the affairs of the country, as well as to proclaim the danger from the house-top.

Like many others of his profession, Mr. Noble took an early and decided stand in the State and national politics, and although off in earnest in his opinion, was never in his life a strong partisan. Prior to 1850 he was elected Prosecuting Attorney for the county, which office he held but one term and refused a re-election. In 1854 he was elected as a Free-Soil candidate to the legislature, and, upon its organization, was elected Speaker of the House, And re-elected Speaker at the extra session of 1855. His impartial conduct while Speaker of the House won him many friends throughout the State, and from that time until the present he has stood in the front ranks of the principal and able men of the State.

In 1856 he was chosen with General Warren as one of the Republican electors of the State at large, but declined the nomination on the ground that he did not feel able to bear the expense and burden of the State canvass, to the neglect of his private affairs. During the same year he was strongly urged by the Republicans of this congressional district to accept their nomination for Congress, and had he consented could have received the nomination and would have been triumphantly elected. But he declined the nomination, and through his influence to the support of the late Honorable Timothy Davis, who was elected, and fill the office with honor and profit to his constituents.

During the Rebellion Mr. Noble always manifested a strong and decided feeling for the preservation of the whole Union, and contributed liberally both in time and money to raise means for the support of the Army. Feeling, toward the last of the war, that it had been unnecessarily prolonged for the purpose of speculation and gain, and being at all times opposed to the shedding of human blood, he thought the matter could still be compromised, the Union saved, and the young men of the country preserved from premature graves. Both before and after the war, these principles and sentiments would be called commendable and he who promulgated them would be looked upon as a Christian and philanthropist as well as a benefactor to the human race; but during the war the spirit of the nation could hear no such doctrine, and for a time Mr. Noble suffered disfavor in the minds of the people for his philanthropy.

In 1866 he was nominated by the Democrats of this congressional district as their candidate, the Honorable W. B. Allison as his competitor. He took the stump with Mr. Allison, and conducted an able and lively campaign, but was defeated in the contest.

In 1868 he was again nominated by the Democrats of the state for Supreme Judge, but he regarded the nomination only as a compliment or matter of form, and never paid the slightest attention to the canvass.

The terrible revulsion and financial crash which came upon the country and 1858 found him with a large amount of unproductive real estate upon his hands, and largely in debt for the purchase money. This large debt was enough to discourage any living man and drive into despair, ruin and bankruptcy, but he only redoubled his energy, enlarged his practice, work more hours, and by these efforts he has saved his honor, paid every dollar of his large debt at this, and has today a nice property that he can call his own.

He now comes to the bench with the vote of every member of the bar of his county, without regard to politics, and by a vote in his county and district unheard of in political elections. He has, therefore, no friends to reward and no enemies to punish. He brings with him a world of experience in the law, and a lifelong knowledge of man; and these, coupled with his high sense of honor and his discriminating powers of right and justice, will make him an impartial judge and a faithful public servant.


W. E. Odell, attorney at law, McGregor, was born in Jasper County, Indiana, on the 19th day of September, 1849, and was a son of Elijah and Rebecca S. (Updegraff) Odell, who were the parents of three children - W.E., attorney at law, of McGregor; Mary F., wife of M.E. Duff, an attorney, and Hiram H., a practicing attorney at Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a graduate of the Wisconsin University at Madison, Wisconsin, in the class of 1875. The subject of this memoir was a graduate at the MadisonUniversity in 1872, and at the age of twenty-three was admitted to the bar, and in 1874 formed a partnership with his father, which continued until the latter's death, on February 26, 1875.

On December 15, 1875, he married Miss Maria E. Byrne, a daughter of John A. Byrne. She was a graduate at the Wisconsin University, in the class of 1872. By this union there are two children, viz.: Susie and Mabel. In politics Mr. Odell is a Republican, and has held several local offices of trust, serving in the City Council for three years, and is the present mayor and a director of the First National Bank of McGregor.


William A. Preston was born in Monroe County, Illinois, August 7, 1839. His father, James Preston was a native of East Tennessee, while his mother, Elizabeth Preston, nee McNabb, was an Illinoisian by birth. William A. was the second of a family of nine children, and was reared on a farm. In 1854 he came with his parents to Clayton County, where he has since continued to reside. The early education of William A. was received in the common schools of his native county. On coming to Iowa, in 1855, he entered the Mt. Vernon, now Cornell College, at Mt. Vernon, Iowa where he remained a few terms, then changed to the Upper Iowa University at Fayette, where he remained three years. During a portion of his college term he engaged in teaching, and not leaving college he continued to teach, spending about five years in that profession, including the time spent during his college career. He next engaged with the Chicago firm for the sale of school furniture, and while on the road, was elected Superintendent of Public Schools of Clayton County, the fact of his election being unknown to him for several weeks. He held the office one term, and while engaged in the discharge of his duties he read law with S. T. Woodward. On the expiration of his term of office he was urged by friends to again permit the use of his name for that position, but declined, desiring to give at least one year of his time to the study of law, without being engaged in other business.


Portrait of William A. Preston, page 605

Mr. Preston was united in marriage with Julia L. Carlton, an adopted daughter and heir of Victor Carter, October 12, 1870. She was born in Elkader, Clayton County. While a mere child, Mrs. Preston lost both her parents. She was educated in the Upper Iowa University, and afterward graduated at Rockford, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Preston have a family of three children - Mary E., Donna and Clara. Mr. Preston was admitted to the bar, January 21, 1871, and the following year, to the United States Courts, and in 1880, to the Supreme Court. On his admission to the bar, he formed a co-partnership with Mr. Woodward, which continued until 1877, since which time he has practiced alone, having built up a large and lucrative practice.


Realto E. Price was born August 1, 1840, Jefferson Township, Clayton County, and was the oldest son of Judge Eliphalet Price, one of Clayton's earliest pioneers. He passed his early life in the common schools, and spent the college year of 1857-'8 at Upper Iowa University at Fayette. In May, 1860, he entered the law office of Murdoch & Hunt, where he remained two years. The next nine months he was in the office of Odell & Updegraff, at McGregor, and in January, 1863, he was admitted to the bar. He commenced practice in Elkader the same year, in partnership with Judge B. T. Hunt; they remained in partnership six years when Hunt, being elected Circuit Judge, retired from the firm; Marvin Cook, who had practiced law about one year previous to this time, was then taken into partnership. The firm of Price & Cook existed from November 1, 1869 to January 1, 1873, when Mr. Cook was elected County Clerk. Since then Mr. Price has practiced alone. He was married in 1866 to Sarah F. Stewart, of Clayton County. They have two children - Valmah Tupelo, and Stewart R. Mr. Price is politically a Republican. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity. He has never been a candidate for any office, although his friends have repeatedly urged him to accept some nomination.


Robert Quigley was born in Clayton County, Iowa, December 31, 1845. His parents were Joseph B. and Nancy B. (Griffith) Quigley, who came to Clayton County in 1836, and still reside on a farm in Highland Township. Our subject passed his early life on his father's farm, attending school winters until he was 16 years of age. He then spent two years in Upper Iowa University. He then enlisted in Company D, Forty-sixth Iowa Infantry, and served the 100 days for which that regiment was called. After being discharged from this regiment he was mustered into Company K, Fifteenth Iowa Infantry, serving one year. He was discharged at the close of the war and returning to Clayton County remained at home one year. He then came to McGregor, entering the Law office of Elijah Odell. Here he remained six months. The next four and a half years were passed in the office of John T. Stoneman. He was admitted to the bar in February 1869. In March, 1869, he was elected City Attorney, a position which he held six years. He left Mr. Stoneman's office in the year 1871, since which time he has been practicing law independently. Politically Mr. Quigley is a Republican. He was married November 24, 1875, to Blanche Jacobs, a native of Fayette County. They have had two children - Iola Bird and Georgia.


Alvah Clark Rogers was born September 15, 1817, at Whiting, in Addison County, Vermont. His father, David Rogers, was born August 5, 1778 at Roxbury, Connecticut. His mother, Mary Rogers nee Clark, was born at Middletown Vermont, January 12, 1789. When he was five years of age his father moved with his family and effects to Westport, Essex County, New York, where he purchased a farm on the western shore of Lake Champlain, and where the subject of this sketch was raised as a farmer boy and received his education, by early in life attending the district school winters, and later the Essex County Academy, and at the age of 18 entered a mercantile establishment as a clerk. In May 1838 in the 21st year of his age, he started for the West and arrived at Mineral Point, Wisconsin, on the 30th of June, where he worked on a farm until the next spring when he went to Green Bay, Wisconsin Territory, where he worked in the stores of D. M. Whitney and Thomas L. Franks for 16 months, and in August, 1840, he arrived in Prairie du Chien with a letter of introduction from Governor Henry Dodge, of Wisconsin Territory, to Reverend David Lowry, Indian agent for the Winnebagos. The following winter he was employed by the register of deeds to write in his office, and at the Register's decease in the spring he was appointed by the Board of Supervisors register of deeds for Crawford County, and in 1841 was commissioned as Justice of the Peace by Governor Henry Dodge; the said office being appointed under the territorial laws at that time his commission was renewed by Governor James D. Doty, who was appointed under President Tyler. He was afterward elected clerk of the Board of Supervisors and was appointed commissioner on insolvent states. While at Green Bay he became acquainted with Miss Maria Adelaide Plum, daughter of Butler G. and Deidomia Plum, and on the 29th day of August 1842 they were united in marriage at Green Lake, in Marquette County, Wisconsin Territory, and as the issue of said marriage, there are three children living, viz.: Frank B. Rogers, born April 27, 1848; A.B.M. Rogers, born January 1, 1853, and A.F. Rogers, born 1859, all at Garnavillo, Iowa. He resided at Prairie du Chien until November, 1847, and while there studied law at the office of D. G. Fenton, but never applied for admission to the bar. In November, 1847, he moved to McGregor, there being only one frame dwelling house there at the time, in which he and Mr. Alexander McGregor and their families resided at the same time. In April, 1848, he removed to Garnavillo, then the county seat of this county, and engaged in the business of selling merchandise in co-partnership with Mr. S. A. Clarke, of Prairie du Chien. In 1853 he removed from Garnavillo to Clayton and himself and partner engaged in general forwarding and commission and merchandise. They also built one-third of the Clayton City FlourIng Mills, a structure that cost $32,000, which was finished in 1850. They expended over $50,000 in improving the village of Clayton. In 1858 he sold out to his partner, and at the request of Mr. B. F. Fox, who was then the recorder and treasurer of this county, opened the first set of double entry accountability pertaining to both the revenue and school fund ever opened in this county, which has probably saved this county large sums and much confusion. He was employed as a deputy treasurer and deputy clerk of the court until January, 1862, when he entered upon the duties of the office of County Judge, to which he was elected three terms, leaving the office in 1868. Since which time he has frequently been called upon to look after some crooked accounting of public secrets.

The subject of this sketch is descended from ancient and honorable ancestry, being about the ninth generation from the eminent martyr who surrendered up his life under the bloody reign of Queen Mary on the 4th of February, 1555, rather than dishonor the faith he professed, and whose descendents love to honor him, gathering the fragrance of sacred memories floating down through the centuries, becoming a hallowed influence upon their lives and awakening in the echoes of buried years, by frequently gathering in their ancient home in Connecticut and take a cooling draught from

The old oaken bucket,
The iron bound bucket,
The moss covered bucket
That hangs in the well.

S. T. Richards, Edgewood, was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1842. He was the eldest of a family of three boys, who came to this county and settled in Lodomillo Township with their widowed mother in 1852. He first attended school, and then, thrown on his own resources, taught in the public schools during the winter and worked on a farm in summertime. In February, 1864 he enlisted in Company D, Twenty-first Iowa Infantry, and remained in the service until the close of the war. He held different township offices for a number of years previous to 1876, when he attended the law department of the State University at Iowa City, taking with him his family, a wife and three daughters. Here misfortune overtook him, and before his studies were completed he was obliged to return with his family to Edgewood. He then served as magistrate for over two years more. He continued his studies at intervals, and in March, 1881, he was admitted to the bar. Since that time he has been eminently successful, and is generally acknowledged to be a practitioner of great promise.

He was married September 2, 1862, to Miss C. W. Baker, a daughter of Amasa Baker and Irena Hazzard, natives of Vermont. Mr. and Mrs. Richards have three children, Ella F., Mertie M. and Warren E. Mr. Richards is a Republican and cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity.


John Thomson Stoneman is a native of Chautauqua County New York, and was born in the town of Ellery, on the 24th of February, 1831, his parents being George and Catherine (Cheney) Stoneman. The Stoneman's are of English descent, and were among the early settlers of Chenango County, New York. The Cheney's were an early Road Island family. George Stoneman moved with his family to Busti when the son was in his infancy, and there on a farm, 4 miles from Jamestown, John lived until he was 16 years of age. He was the fourth child in a family of eight children, four sons and four daughters, of whom General George Stoneman, the Gallic cavalry officer in the late civil war, was the eldest.

John T. prepared for college at the Jamestown Academy, devoting his summers of this period to labors on a farm. At twenty he went to Covington, Kentucky, and taught school one year. He then entered Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and graduated in 1856. While in Kentucky, Mr. Stoneman commenced reading law with Judge R. B. Carpenter, and during his college course he spent his vacations at the Albany New York, law school. He was there admitted to the bar in January, 1855. In graduating from college, he came West and located in McGregor in October, 1856. There he was in steady practice of his profession from that time till the spring of 1882, when he removed from McGregor. As a lawyer, Mr. Stoneman has devoted his talents and energies to his profession with unwearied industry. Dignified before the court, and respectful to the jury, he commands respect and wins confidence of his hearers. He is an easy, fluent speaker, a man of strong sympathy and deep convictions, and disdains to stoop to any of the shallow artifices of his profession. Powerful and courageous in argument, resolute in the defense of what he believes to be right, he has won among his associates a high and honorable place. He practices in all the courts, State and Federal.

Mr. Stoneman was the first recorder of the town of McGregor, being elected in 1857, he was mayor of the city in 1863, and was elected to the State Senate in 1875. He was originally a Whig, and for the last twenty-four years has acted with the Democrats, being one of the leading members of his party in Northern Iowa. He has been a candidate for different offices, but being in the minority side in politics, has usually been defeated. He was the Democratic nominee for Congress once; two years later the Democratic and Liberal candidate, and twice received the votes of the Democratic members of the legislature for the U. S. Senate.

In March, 1858, Mr. Stoneman was united in marriage with Caroline Southland, and they have one child - Carrie.

Hon. Elias H. Williams. Our obligations to the people of Clayton County and Northern Iowa, as well as our duty as a historian, would not be complete without an elaborate and somewhat extensive sketch of this learned and distinguished man.

He was born in the state of Connecticut, on the 23rd day of July, 1819, and is both, on the side of his father and mother, descended from a long line of noble and respectable ancestors, who were among the most ardent patriots of the American Revolution, and who suffered greatly from the raids of the notorious Arnold and other British commanders on the soil of Connecticut.

His father died when he was quite young, leaving his mother to take care of and educate her children, and being a lady of talent and great mental power, she determined to give her sons a first-class education, and as soon as the subject of this sketch was of the proper age she sent him to Yale College, where she maintained him until he graduated with highest honors, and soon after receiving his diploma he spent one year in New Hampshire as a teacher of languages; he then made a journey to South Carolina, where he was also for some time engaged in teaching and reading law; and it was while residing here and seeing the degrading effects of human slavery, that he invited the feeling of hatred and disgust towards that institution, that shone forth in after years in the most fervent and eloquent speeches for its overthrow.

He soon found that with his ideas of justice and human liberty South Carolina was no place for him, and hearing of the new Territory whose shores were a washed by two of the greatest rivers of the globe, he now turned his footsteps towards Iowa, and in 1846 he arrived in Clayton County, and settled at Garnavillo.

At this time the county had but few inhabitants; but as he looked and wandered over her broad and fertile prairies, he saw that these must in a short time invite the emigrants, and be settled by a thriving and industrious population, and here he determined to make his future home. In addition to his other attainments, he had acquired a fine law education, and he soon began the practice, and in a short time established a good practice in a high reputation as a scholar at the lawyer.

The practice of law soon proved too slow, too confining, and to irksome for his disposition, and being possessed of an iron constitution, a strong physical frame, with a strong desire for manual exercise, he left his profession, entered a large tract of land near Garnavillo, and with the labor of his own hands soon converted it into a beautiful and productive farm.

On this farm he was an incessant laborer, and however cold or stormy might be the day or the hour, he could be seen at his work, until he had made himself a competence, and provided a good home for his widowed mother and his brother and sisters; and though elevations and honors showered upon him in after years, yet it is doubtful whether they brought to him joy, pride, or satisfaction that he enjoyed, when one day he looked over at that beautiful farm, the work of his own hands, saw it completed, and his mother and brothers and sisters enjoying themselves in ease and luxury and beyond the reach of want.

Never did a mother idolize a son more than that mother did him, and never did a son work harder or later to gratify her every wish and comfort; and when all the surroundings of that once happy home and family were grouped together, it presented a picture of domestic felicity worthy of the attention of the philosopher, and perhaps the highest, the greatest, and the most gratifying the human mind is capable of conceiving.

In 1851 he was elected the first County Judge under the new system of county government, and this not only included all the county affairs, but the probate of estates in addition; and when he assumed the duties of the office all these branches of county affairs were in a bad and deplorable condition, but he began his work with that determined will which has ever characterized him, and in a short time he paid off old and outstanding debts, levied a just system of taxes, laid out new roads and built bridges, and at the end of four years he handed over to his successor the whole county government in a redeemed and prosperous condition, and again return to his farm, honored and respected by the people for his able management of their public affairs.

In 1849 he was married in his native state to Hannah Larabee, a sister to the Honorable William Larabee, of Fayette County, and a descendent of an old family of that State, who took an active part in the side of America and all the great struggles of the great revolution, and this amiable, accomplished and talented woman has been his adviser, his comforter and his helper in all his trials and hardships for more than a third of a century. Two sons and two daughters, now grown up to age and maturity, have been born to them, and these children they have raised and educated in all the accomplishments that the country and money could afford.

In 1858 he was elected District Judge of the Tenth Judicial District of Iowa, and reelected again in 1862, and during these eight years he presided over the courts of the district with credit and honor; and it was here that he gained that wide reputation through the State which he still retains, a being a profound jurist, an able lawyer and a finished scholar.

In 1870 he was appointed by the Governor of Iowa, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State, and in this position he served but a short time, when he retired from law and politics, to turn his attention to the building of railroads; but while on the supreme bench his written opinions and judicial decisions were models of learning, brevity and research.

Soon after leaving the Supreme Bench he conceived and originated a planned for the construction of a railroad from Dubuque, along the west bank of the Mississippi River to St. Paul, with the main branch up and along the Valley of the Turkey, via a Mankato, to the Northern Pacific Railroad; upon announcing his scheme to the public, it was looked upon as visionary and impossible, but he threw the full force of his determined will and character into the scheme, and in a short time he had the satisfaction of being the first man to break ground on the enterprise which afterwards became the Chicago, Dubuque & Minnesota Railroad, and it is to his energy, will and perseverance that Northern Iowa and Minnesota are indebted for that magnificent line of road that follows the Father of Waters from Clinton to St. Paul.

To avoid heavy grades, as well as to shorten the route from Chicago and Dubuque to the great Northwest, his plan was to follow the Valley of the Turkey as a through and mainline, but in this he was overruled, and Dubuque lost heavy by the change, and the road still climbs the heavy grades, and pursues the longest and most unprofitable routes to the same points.

He stayed by this enterprise until he saw it completed under his own eyes to Guttenberg, when he left it, and organized the "Iowa Eastern" Narrow Gauge Company, whose purpose was to build a road from McGregor, in a south westerly direction, through Iowa's coal-fields to the Missouri.

His energy and perseverance soon raised the desired funds, and he again broke ground upon the new enterprise, and rapidly pushed it forward from Beulah for a distance of 16 miles, when all of a sudden a financial panic fell upon the country, his backers failed, and he was left to struggle as he could with a large floating debt hanging over his enterprise, and its creditors pursuing him at every turn. He had sold his beautiful farm in Garnavillo, and had invested the proceeds in a large tract of land in Grand Meadow Township, and this he had soon brought to a high state of cultivation, and adorned and embellished it in a magnificent manner, and this fine home and farm he put in jeopardy to save his fair name and fame as a man of honor and integrity, and tell at last he found himself upon the very verge of ruin and poverty.

He was the author, the originator and the president of the enterprise, and when the crash came with all its trouble of facts, its creditors met him without compassion at every turn, and demanded their full share from the ruins of a blasted enterprise; and to add to his crushed and tender feelings, many of his former friends deserted him, and left him to struggle alone under a pressure that was enough to break and shatter the strongest mind ever possessed by a human being. In all these struggles he never lost sight of his honor and integrity, and he made every effort, offered every assurance within his power and command, to appease and stay in the demands, but all to no purpose; suit after suit was brought, judgments were multiplied, executions were issued, and his own private property seized to satisfy the demands against the company.

There was a time during this terrible pressure upon him when a few of his old friends might have come to support, and by even their countenance an assurance, and without the aid of money, could a given such confidence to his enterprise, as would have pushed it along on its route, every mile of which would have restored confidence, allayed the demands of creditors, paid them in the end, and completed the enterprise; but these were not forthcoming, and with all this load upon his shoulders, he kept his 16 miles of road in good condition, and through storm and sunshine his trains made their regular trips along the route with their freight and passengers until the present season when he sold the road with all its franchises and encumbrances to the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company, and retired once more to his farm.

In conjunction with his brother he began the construction of another road from Lancaster Wisconsin, running in the north easterly direction up and along the valley of the Kickapoo, and after completing a portion of the road, he sold out his interest, and from the sales of both roads he has probably saved his large and extensive farm, which still leaves him a competence, and a peaceful retreat in his declining years.

When the Missouri Compromise was repealed, and the South had threatened to plant her slave colonies on free soil, he was among the very first man of America to protest against the encroachment, and among the first to call together a body of men for the purpose of forming an organization against the demands of the slaveholders power, and from that day to the present he has stood by that organization.

As a profound lawyer, and able an upright judge, as a finished scholar and a public man, his name and his public works will ever be connected with the history of the state and his county and a high and in an honorable manner; and as he has still many years of usefulness before him, we will leave him in the hands of those whom he has served so long and well, to do him more ample justice in the future.


S. T. Woodward is a native of Vermont, born in Grand Isle County, January 23, 1828. His father, James Woodward, was a native of Londonderry, New Hampshire, and was a Scotch Irish descent, while his mother, Hannah (Town) Woodward, was a native of Vermont. The subject of this sketch passed his early life on a farm, obtaining his education in the common public school, with a few months attendance at select school when seventeen years of age. In 1848, in company with his parents, he came West and located in Farmersburg Township in this county. Previous to coming to Iowa he taught school for a short time in New York, where the family had emigrated from Vermont, and the first winter of his arrival here, that of 1848-9, he taught a select school at Garnavillo. The spring and summer of 1849 he spent on his father's farm, and in the fall of that year went to New York City, where he remained a few months, returning to Iowa in the spring of 1850. In 1854 he made a trip to Clinton County, New York, where he was united in marriage with Esther A. Smith, an estimable lady of that county, who has been truly a helpmeet to him in the many years they have since traveled life's journey together. They have two children living - Charles H., who was born August 18, 1855, an attorney admitted to the bar in 1877, now residing in Knoxville, Iowa, in charge of his father's coal interests at that place; Frances Emma, born June 18, 1868, residing with her parents. On their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Woodward located in National, where they resided until 1858, when he received the appointment of Deputy Clerk of the District Court, and they removed to Guttenberg, then the county seat of Clayton County. He served as Deputy Clerk two years, and while attending to the duties of the office, as opportunity afforded, he read law, and was admitted to the bar March, 1860, and at once commenced the practice of his chosen profession. On the removal of the county seat to Elkader, in 1860, he moved to that place, where he has since continued to reside, engaged in the practice of his profession. Mr. Woodward has ever been an active man, his professional business for many years being very remunerative. In every manner of public interest he has been especially engaged, and in the building of the Chicago Dubuque & Minnesota railroad he devoted some two or three years of his life, using his influence to have the road located by way of Elkader. He was the Director of the road for two years. In the organization of the First National Bank at Elkader he was the prime mover, and was one of the board of directors several years. In 1881 he purchased a coal mine within the city limits of Knoxville, Iowa, which is proving very remunerative, and where he spends a portion of his time. A portrait of Mr. Woodward appears in this work.


Portrait of S.T. Woodward, page 571

 


-transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall for Clayton co. IAGenWeb
-transcription note: The transcriber has taken some liberty in the transcription of this chapter in order to better organize it for research purposes. The portraits of the Murdock's, Mr. Preston and of Mr. Woodward have been placed with this chapter, although they appear on different pages of the book.
-source: History of Clayton County, Iowa, 1882, Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1882. Reproduced by the sponsorship of the Monona Historical Society, Monona, Iowa, reproduction Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphics, Inc., 1975;
page 318-355

 

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