Tama County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Star Clipper Supplement
Traer, Iowa, March 11, 1887
History of North Tama
By Daniel Connell

Chapter XXIV
Gemaliel Jaqua

The subject of this sketch came from Indiana in 1856 and located on sections 28 and 33 in Buckingham- a quarter section in each. It is a fine piece of land. Twelve mile creek runs through it west to east and nearly on the section line, and there is a fine grove of timber on it. Mr. Jaqua is a well-educated man and has had experience as a school teacher, and for several years had charge of the Buckingham schools. He has also studied surveying, and was occasionally engaged at that. He was well read in nearly all matters of interest, and was a useful man. So his neighbors made use of his talents to serve them. As a school director his services were valuable. As justice of the peace he was safe, his advice being to allay strife. He was elected a member of the board of supervisors from the township--first in 1865; again in 1869, holding several terms, and when the law was changed was elected several times by the county. In the year 1875 he was elected to the Lower House of the State Legislature, and re-elected in 1877, serving in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth General Assemblies.

During his first term he was on the committees of schools, agriculture and appropriations, also to visit and report on the condition of the penitentiary at Ft. Madison. The principal measure of general interest in the Sixteenth was the repeal or modification of the railroad tariff law. The committee on railroads reported against its repeal, and the railroad owners would conceed nothing and asked for unqualified repeal. The result was a long and tedious session, and the law was left undisturbed. The mends of the law desired modifications to cure admitted defects, but the railway influence was sufficiently strong to prevent. The influence of Mr. Jaqua and his votes were in favor of the law. During this session Gov. Kirkwood was elected U.S. Senator. John H. Gear was Speaker of the House at this session, also of the previous one. The Seventeenth General Assembly met in 1878, John Y. Stone Speaker of the House, and as soon as it could be reached the discussion was renewed for the repeal of the railroad tariff law. O. Manning, subsequently Lieutenant Governor, was chairman of the railroad committee of the House, and favored the repeal of the law, which was championed by Fred O. Donnel, of Dubuque. After a long and warm struggle the law was repealed and the present commission system adopted.

Mr. Jaqua believed the tariff law, could it be cured of its admitted defects, would be better than the commissioner system, and so labored for its continuance. During this session he was on committees of schools, and chairman of that of public highways. At this session he introduced an act creating a State board of charities. At that time our State institutions were administered extravagantly, and complaints were general. This proposed board was to supervise all matters relating to these institutions, and was to be appointed by the General Assembly. It was amended in the House by giving these appointments to the Governor, and was defeated in the Senate because of this power being lodged in the Governor. Mr. Jaqua also introduced a modification of the road law but at too late a day for consideration. A law, in many respects like that of Mr. Jaqua, passed in 1884.

During this session Mr. Allison was reelected U.S. Senator. The re-enactment of capital punishment for murder in the first degree was passed at this session. Mr. Jaqua voted for it, although previously a strong opponent of capital punishment. Still murders are many and hangings few, and a law had better be repealed than not enforced. During this session Mr. Jaqua was made chairman of the committee on State Normal School.

Strenuous efforts were made to withhold aid in the way of appropriations to this institution, and it came very near destruction, and its perpetuity was in a large measure accredited to the efforts of Mr. Jaqua, who was deeply impressed with the importance of that institution to the youth of Iowa. Mr. Jaqua for six years past has been engaged in newspaper work on the STAR-CLIPPER at Traer. From 1856 to the present time he has been a prominent, worthy man of Northern Tama.

Chapter XXV

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