Dallas County IAGenWeb



The Courts and Legal Profession of


Volumes I. and II.
Hon. Chester C. Cole, Historian
Hon. E. C. Ebersole, Editor
Chicago, Ill.
H.C. Cooper, Jr., & Co.


Dallas County History and Biographies.



Dallas county was organized by act of the legislature approved February 16, 1847. The same act, to enable the organization to become effective, appointed Eli Smith son as sheriff and under date Of March 1, 1847, Mr. Smith son issued his proclamation calling an election for the first Monday in the following April for the purpose of electing three county commissioners, one clerk, for the same, one clerk of the district court, one treasurer and recorder, one sheriff, one county surveyor, one judge of probate, one prosecuting attorney, one coroner, one sealer of weights and measures, one school fund commissioner, one justice of the peace and one constable. The first district court of the county was held on the 6th day of September, 1847, at the house of W. W. Miller. Judge James P. Carelton, of Iowa City, was the presiding judge, S. K. Scoville was clerk, and Eli Smithson sheriff. It took nearly the entire voting population of the county to furnish the necessary officers of the court and a jury of twelve men. The grand jury held its first session in the shade of a tree. It sold to the county for the use of a court-house. Adel is the county-seat of Dallas county. The attorneys are as follows: White & Clark, R. S. Barr, T. R. North, Miller & Russell, E. W. Dingwell, Giddings & Winegar, M. E. Vanlaninghain, Shortley & Kelly, Cardell & Fahey, H. A. Hoyt, White, Clark & Clark, H. W. Layton, Allen T. Percy, and W. T. Sharp.

It appears that to be a good performer on the violin was one of the practical accomplishments and characteristic of a good, or at least a popular, judge in those days, since Hon. James P. Carelton, like Hon. Joseph Williams of Muscatine, judge of the second judicial district of Iowa territory, and various other such prominent officials, were all fine fiddlers and great jokers. We would be glad to give here a full sketch of Judge Carelton, but are unable to obtain the necessary statistics. He had a good, big heart, overflowing with humor, benevolence and magnanimity. He was withal a very fine performer on the violin, as was also Jefferson, and the great astronomer, Herschel. He used to while away many happy fleeting moments in the bosom of his friends with his favorite instrument in hand, while on his rounds of official duty. He figured somewhat prominently in political and public affairs during the last years of the territorial and the first years of the state government. He was Johnson county's representative in the house at the Sixth legislative assembly of Iowa territory, Which convened at Iowa City December 4, 1843. He was elected speaker of the house December 5, 1843, where he displayed excellent abilities as an expert parliamentarian and a ready and impartial presiding officer. He was elected the first judge of the Fourth judicial district April 5, 1847. At the expiration of his term of office he was re-elected April 5, 1852, and resigned in 1853.

Edmund E. Nichols was born in Gouverneur, St. Lawrence county, New York state, June 4, 1860. He was educated at Potsdam, New York, and Iowa City, Iowa. He read law in Iowa City, and with William S. Forrest, Chicago, and was admitted to the bar at Iowa City in June, 1883. In October, 1884, lie located at Adel, Iowa, and was in partnership with T. R. North. In 1888 he removed to Perry, where he has since resided and where he formed a partnership with Mr. Cardell, as Cardell & Nichols. For five years they did a general law business. He was one year senior member of the firm of Nichols & Koperlik. He was then alone until January 1, 1903, when he went upon the district bench. In politics Judge Nichols is a republican. He was county attorney of Dallas county from 1890 to 1894; elected judge of the Fifth judicial district in 1903, and re-elected November 6, 1906. June 17, 1885, he married Dorothy I. Stevens.

George W. Clarke was born in Shelby county, Indiana, October 24, 1852. He spent his boyhood on a farm near Drakeville, Davis county, Iowa. He was educated at Oskaloosa College, Oskaloosa, Iowa, and read law at the State University of Iowa, where he was admitted in June, 1878. He came to Adel immediately after graduation at the law school and opened an office. Was alone in practice three years, when the firm of White & Clarke was formed, which has continued to this time 1906. Mr. Clarke is a member of the order of Knights of Pythias. He was elected on the republican ticket a member of the house of representatives of Iowa, and served in the Twenty-eighth, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth and Thirty-first general assemblies, and was speaker of the Thirtieth and Thirty-first. He was married at Adel June 25, 1878, to Arietta Greene, and has made Adel his home since that time.

Ernest W. Dingwell was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, July 7, 1872. His parents were Elisha and Louisa G. (McKay) Dingwell. His parents moved to Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1876, where he attended the public and high schools, graduating with the class of 1893. He studied law in Judge Parker's office at Marshalltown, and was admitted in 1899. He began at once the practice of law in the firm of Parker & Dingwell, which he continued for a year and a half, when he removed to Adel, and formed a partnership with Mr. Cardell, under the firm name of Cardell & Dingwell, which continued for eighteen months. Since that time he has been alone and had a general practice. He was a member of the Forty-ninth Iowa volunteer infantry, and served in the Spanish-American war until mustered out at Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Dingwell is a republican, has always been active in politics but never held any office.

Robert S. Barr was born September 1, 1837, in Franklin county, Ohio. He removed to Stark county, Illinois, in 1851, and came to Iowa in 1869, and to Adel in 1874. He was admitted to the Illinois bar in May, 1864, and to the Iowa bar in the fall of 1869. He has been continually in the practice since he arrived in Iowa. He was in the law business with Judge Perkins from 1874 to 1879, and then he was in partnership with T. R. North from 1879 to 1885. Since that time he has been alone.

T. R. North was born in Union county, Ohio, June 23, 1838. At the age of thirteen he came to Iowa with his parents, settling in Clayton county, and in 1864 he located at Adel, and has resided here since that time. He was admitted that year. He retired from the practice in 1896 on account of his health. He was mayor of Adel 1904- 1905.

Jeremiah Perkins was born January 7, 1816. He began practice at Adel in 1855. He was appointed prosecuting attorney in 1855, and elected in 1856 to the same office. He served as county judge for nine years, was county recorder four years, county auditor three years. He died April 6, 1876.

James B. White was born June 14, 1849. He began to practice at Add in June, 1874, two years after he was admitted. He was in partnership with D. W. Woodin from 1878 to 1882. He is now senior member of the firm of White & Clark.

Sources: Archive.org and Google Books. Transcribed & contributed by Conni McDaniel Hall, Oct 20, 2017

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