Muscatine County, Iowa


The Muscatine Journal, Muscatine, Iowa, Wednesday, 23 Oct 1912, pages 1 & 9
Submitted by Beverly Witmer, February 5, 2013

Judge Jerome Carskaddan
Man Believed To Be Dean Of Muscatine County Bar Drowned.

Cane Is Recovered
Walking Stick Identified By Members of Law Firm
Aged Lawyer Was Seen in Vicinity of River Bank Short Time Before.

Muscatine was shocked this afternoon when, following the drowning of a man on the river front near the Launch club house, it became almost positively known that Judge Jerome Carskaddan had come to his end in that tragic manner. A cane which was picked up by George Schierman, who witnessed the drowning, and was turned over to Deputy Marshal Balluff, was identified by friends of the esteemed jurist as being his property, and he was also noticed by several Muscatine people walking along the river front only a few minutes before the tragic happening.

Walking Along River.

Judge Carskaddan, the dean of the Muscatine county bar, appeared to be enjoying his usual health during the early part of the day. He returned to the office of Carskaddan & Pepper at about 1:30 o’clock, and after remaining there for about twenty minutes, left the office, declaring that he would return in a short time. W. G. Block encountered the elderly man as he proceeded along the river front near the new Automatic coal-handling plant, which is being erected near Front and Pine streets. Mr. Carskaddan declared that he was looking for a cabin-boat, and after the two engaged in conversation for several minutes, they separated. George Koehler, of 212 East Fifth street, states that he met Mr. Carskaddan as he proceeded along east on the levee between Chestnut street and Iowa avenue. Mr. Koehler declares that the judge did not appear to be communicative, and after a few words were spoken, he continued on his way.

Walked Onto Float.

Mr. Koehler, who is likely the last man with whom the highly respected jurist held communication. He was later seen by George Schierman of Houser street as he walked out onto a float in which the launch “Chef” was anchored a short distance below the club house of the Muscatine Launch Club. Mr. Schierman states that the man who later was seen struggling in the water wore a long black overcoat and a derby hat, both of which are articles of apparel which Mr. Carskaddan wore when seen by those who knew him as he walked along the river front.

He further declares that the man stood on the board for several minutes and then sat down, with the lower portion of his body in the water. “I at once became alarmed and ran to Henry Welch, who was working in a boat near by, and told him of the man’s actions.” Continued Mr. Schierman. “Before we could reach him, however, we saw him slide into the water and in another second he was struggling for a second disappeared from the surface. He later came to the surface at a point about thirty feet from shore, and that was the last I saw of him”.

Suffered From Vertigo.

Judge Carskaddan had suffered from vertigo latter years of his life and had been a victim of several spells and those with whom he has been associated in later years this afternoon expressed a belief that he had walked out onto the plank and becoming dizzy sat down on the plank and then fell into the water.

Community Shocked.

when it became reported that a drowning had occurred on the river front, a large crowd soon collected, and when it was ascertained that the unfortunate man was the highly-esteemed judge and citizen, the entire community was shocked. Many of the old acquaintances of the venerable man at first refused to believe the repost, and hurried to the scene of the tragedy, in the hope that the tidings which had been brought to them would be found to be untrue.

Body is Found.

The lifeless body of Judge Carskaddan was found shortly before 3:30 o’clock this afternoon at the foot of Iowa avenue by Frank Boke and Brad Detweiller, who together with several other men upon learning of the drowning, boarded skiffs to which were attached crowfeet bars and proceeded to drag the river bed.

When the body was brought to the shore positive identification was made.

Long, a Leading Attorney.

Honorable Jerome DeWitt Carskaddan gradually worked his way upward until long since he gained a place among the foremost lawyers of eastern Iowa – a position which he has ever maintained, for in his professional career he had been a constant and thorough student of the fundamental principles of the science of the law. Into other fields of labor he had also directed his energies and successful accomplishments have resulted because of his energies and successful accomplishments have resulted because of his close application, his executive force and initiative spirit.

The family name indicated the Scotch ancestry of the Caskaddans. the line is traced back direct to Roert Carskaddan, who was born in Scotland and on coming to the new world settled first at Nova Scotia. Subsequently he removed to Rhode Island and afterward became a resident of New York. In the revolutionary war among the patriot forces there was Robert Carskaddan and his three sons, William, Robert, Jr., and Thomas, who enlisted from Ulster county, New York. The paternal grandfather of Jerome D. Carskaddan was Robert Carskaddan, who was born near Newburgh, New York, and in early life engaged in the manufacture of spinning wheels, while later he turned his attention to farming. He married Cornelia Ziele, who was of Holland Dutch descent, and a daughter of John Ziele, who was a captain in the second regiment of the Ulster county militia and also a soldier in the French and Indian war. He was captured by Indians and taken to Canada but escaped and made his way home. His daughter, Cornelia, became the wife of Robert Carskaddan and both died at an advanced age. The grandfather of Judge Carskaddan passing away when 87 years of age, while his wife in her eighty-fifth year.

Their family numbered nine children, John, Elizabeth, Catherine, Ziele, Thomas, Harvey, Harriet, Diana and David. The last named died in childhood. Of this family Harvey Carskaddan was born in New York and there learned the tanner and currier’s trade after which he conducted a tannery near Durhamville, New York. He wedded Susan Barker likewise a native of the Empire state. They were the parents of four children, Jerome D., Clarence, Myron, who died at the age of twenty-two years and Ada, who died at the age of fourteen years.

Born In New York.

The birth of Jerome De Witt Carskaddan occurred near Senaca Falls, in Senaca county, New York, November 6, 1829. His parents appreciated the value of education and he gladly availed himself of the opportunities that were afforded him of supplementing his early intellectual training by study in Hamilton college in Clinton, New York, from which he was graduated in 1851. He was a class mate there and close friend of the late Charles Dudley Warner. Determining upon a professional career and choosing the practice of law as his life work, he began reading in the office and under the direction of Sloan & Shoecraft of Oneida, N. Y., remaining in their office until admitted to the bar at a general term of the supreme court of New York held early in 1853.

He at once sought the opportunity of the growing middlewest and coming to Iowa, established his home and opened an office in Muscatine. Taking up his abode here, he determined to drop the use of his middle name and up to the time of his sudden death today had been known as Jerome Carskaddan.

For fifty-seven years he had been an active factor in the life of this city, leaving the impress of his individuality upon its legal interests, its financial and other activities. In January, 1854, he joined T. M. Williams, a son of the Hon. Joseph Williams, in purchasing the Democrat-Inquirer, which he edited and published at Muscatine for two years.

He entered upon the practice of law in 1856 as a partner of the late E. H. Thayer, the business relation between them being maintained until Mr. Thayer was elected to the bench of the county court in 1857. In the same year Mr. Carskaddan was chosen prosecuting attorney of Muscatine county, which office he acceptably filled for two terms. H was ten chosen for judicial honors, being elected county judge in 1861 and filling the office until June 1864, when he resigned, although his service on the bench had given entire satisfaction, his judicial decisions “winning him golden opinions from all sorts of people.” In December, 1863, he entered into the partnership with the late Judge DeWitt C. Richman, and they were associated for about fifteen years this being regarded as one of the strongest law firms of Eastern Iowa until its dissolution through the election of Mr. Richman to the circuit bench.

Mr. Carskaddan was afterward alone in practice until September 1, 1896, when he was joined by William D. Burke in a partnership that remained without change until January, 1906, when I. S. Pepper, now congressman of this district, joined the firm under the style of Carskaddan, Burke and Pepper. That firm continued until the death of Mr. Burke in 1908, since which time the firm as been Carskaddan & Pepper. Mr. Carskaddan and his partners have represented the Chicago, Rock Island Pacific Railway company in Muscatine county since 1868.

He was president of the Muscatine Savings bank, for a number of years. He was also at one time president of the Van Nostrand Saddlery company in addition to having been connected with a number of other local enterprises which profited by his keen business discernment and powers of organization.

Judge Carskaddan was recognized as influential in republican circles. He drew up the platform of the first republican convention ever held in Muscatine county, which was probably the first county convention of the party ever held in the state. He became an advocate of republican principles at the time the party was organized, his first vote being cast for Fremont and Dayton in 1856. In all the intervening years he never wavered in his allegiance to the high principles for which the party has stood, yet he never countenanced for a moment the methods which seek to make a party organization a tool for individual service and profit.

Son Drowned in Slough.

On the 1st of May, 1854, Judge Carskaddan was united in marriage to Miss Marilla Brown, a daughter of Clark and Julia (Babcock) Brown of Morrisville, Madison county, N. Y. It was there that Mrs. Carskaddan was born and her parents were also natives of the Empire state, in which they spent their entire lives. They had a family of seven children – Edwin, Harvey, Leroy, Adelia, Marilla, Maria and Rosalia. By her marriage Mrs. Carskaddan became the mother of a son and daughter, Paul, who was born April 14, 1841, and whose promising youth was cut short by death when he was about fifteen years of age, on November 27, 1875 on which day he was drowned in Muscatine slough while skating in company with a schoolmate, William Robertson, and Gertrude, now the wife of William F. Bishop, president of the Hawkeye Pearl Button company of this city. Mr. and Mrs. Bishop have a son, Jerome Carskaddan Bishop, who is a graduate of Cornell university at Ithada, N. Y.

Unpretentious in bearing, cordial and genial in manner, Judge Carskaddan was nevertheless recognized as one of the eminent members of the Iowa bar, whose prominence, however, was not the less the result of an irreproachable private life than of professional ability.

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