Muscatine County Iowa

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album, Muscatine County, Iowa, 1889, page 600

Bench and Bar.

MUSCATINE COUNTY has been noted for its legal talent from the organization of the Territory of Iowa until the present time. Among the members of the bar and of the judiciary have appeared some of the brightest legal lights in the State. Those who have honored the county on the Supreme Bench of the State are Hon. Joseph Williams and Hon. S. Clinton Hastings. The former was appointed in June, 1847, by the Governor, and served until Jan. 26, 1848. He was elected by the General Assembly, Dec. 7, 1848, and commissioned Dec. 26, 1848, for six years from Jan. 15, 1849. S. Clinton Hastings was appointed by the Governor Jan. 26, 1848, and his term expired Jan. 15, 1849. Both men served acceptably.

On the organization of the State and under its first constitution Muscatine County became a part of the second Judicial District, which composed of the counties of Buchanan, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Jackson, Jones, Muscatine and Scott. James Grant, of Scott County, was the first judge of this district, being elected April 5, 1847. He was succeeded by Thomas S. Wilson, of Dubuque County.

In February, 1853, the General Assembly re-districted the State, and Muscatine became a part of the Eighth Judicial District, together with Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Jones, and Scott. The judges that served in this district were William E. Leffingwell, John B. Booth, and William Tuthill.

Under the constitution of 1857, and the re-formation of the districts, Muscatine, Clinton, Jackson, and Scott formed the Seventh District. John F. Dillon, of Scott County, was the first to fill the office of judge in this district. He was succeeded by J. Scott Richman, of Muscatine, who was appointed Oct. 27, 1863, on the resignation of Judge Dillon. He was elected by the people, Nov. 8, 1864 ; re-elected Oct. 9, 1866, and again Oct. 11, 1870. After serving but a few months of his last term Judge Richman resigned, and William F. Brannan, also of Muscatine, was appointed to fill the vacancy. At the November election, in 1872, he was elected by the people, and re-elected in 1874, serving until 1878, when he was succeeded by Judge Hayes, of Clinton County.

In the winter of 1885-86 the General Assembly passed an act changing the boundaries of many of the districts. Muscatine became part of the Seventh Judicial District, together with the counties of Scott, Clinton and Jackson. At the October election, in 1886, A. J. Leffingwell, of Clinton, John H. Rogers, of Scott, and W. F. Brannan of Muscatine, were elected judges. Their terms commenced Jan. 1, 1887. Judge Rogers dying, Charles Waterman, of Scott, was appointed to fill the vacancy, and was subsequently elected to fill out the unexpired term.

In 1869 Circuit Courts were established, having jurisdiction with the District Courts in many cases, and having charge of all probate business. The office was abolished in 1886. Hon. D. C. Richman, of Muscatine, served as Circuit Judge for some years.

The present bar of Muscatine County will not suffer by comparison with that of any period in the past. The following named comprise the resident attorneys of the county in the spring of 1889 : Broomhall & Kemble, Brown & Hanley, J. Carskaddan, Cloud and Doran, E. U. Cook, L. C. Crossman, T. T. Doyle, P. M. Detwiler, T. R. Fitzgerald, C. F. Garlock, Dan Harker, Jayne & Hoffman, C. A. W. Kent, H. J. Lauder, D. M. Lambert, H. C. Madden, J. H. Munroe, J. R. Nisley, Penzer Bros., E. F. Richman, Richman & Burk, Richman & Son, N. Rosenberger, J. J. Russell, L. W. Swem, Titus & Jackson, J. D. Walker, and E. M. Warner.

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