Mills County, Iowa

1881 Mills County History
Judicial Districts and Judges

Mills County has been subjected to the usual number of changes relative to its judicial position. Under the constitution of 1846 the district to which it was attached had no existence until February, 1851, when the sixth district was created. As originally composed, the district included the counties of Adair, Adams, Audubon, Buena Vista, Buncombe (now Lyon), Carroll, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Harrison, Ida, Page, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, Pottawattamie, Ringgold, Sac, Shelby, Sioux, Taylor. Union and Waukon, (now Woodbury).

On September 2, 1857, Mills county was taken from the seventh and added to the sixth district by a special provision of the constitution. The seventh district was created February 9, 1853, and of this Mills county was considered a part, though it was unconnected formally with any district until September 2, 1857, when it was attached, as above noted, to the sixth. At the time of the adoption of the new constitution in 1857, the sixth district was composed of the counties of Adair, Adams, Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, Page and Taylor.

This arrangement was modified under the new constitution, and Mills, together with Crawford, Carroll, Greene, Shelby, Audubon, Pottawattamie, Cass and Fremont counties formed the thirteenth judicial district. The change was made in accordance with article five, section ten, of the new constitution, which re-organized the judicial districts so that they numbered but eleven, but provided for a change in the boundaries thereof “every four years thereafter, if necessary, and at no other time.”

Under the constitution of 1846, the district judges were James Sloan; elected April 7, 1851, resigned March 9, 1852; A. A. Bradford, appointed by the governor May 4, 1852, qualified May 24, elected by the people April 4, 1853, and who subsequently resigned; E. H. Sears, appointed January 9, 1855, qualified February 1, elected by the people April 2. By the constitution of 1858 Mills became a part of the third district. Hon. E.H. Sears was the first judge of the new district, having been elected at the October election, 1858. He was succeeded by James G. Day, elected October 14, 1862, and re-elected October 9, 1866.

In March 1870, he resigned, to be followed by Hon. J. W. McDill, who was appointed to fill the vacancy, until the following October, when he was elected by the people. He resigned in 1872, having received the nomination of the republican party for congressional honors. Judge J. R. Reid, of Council Bluffs, was appointed to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Judge McDill, and has since been the incumbent. These gentlemen have all served their constituency with singular ability and success. They have added honor to the official records of the county, and maintained the high standing of its judicial relations.

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