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JAMES P. CONNER


CONNER, James P., congressman from the Tenth district, late judge of the Sixteenth judicial district of Iowa, is the leading attorney in the city of Denison. His father, William Conner, was born in 1817 and died in 1854. He was a native of North Carolina, and was a physician by profession. His mother was a native of Pennsylvania and was born in 1818. Judge Conner was born January 27, 1851, in Delaware county, Indiana. When he was but three years old his father died, and his mother afterwards married again and moved to Black Hawk County, Iowa, where the family settled on a farm. Here young James grew to manhood, working in the fields during summer and attending district school in the winter. In 1867, at the age of sixteen, he entered Upper Iowa University at Fayette, feeling a desire for a broader education than the common school afforded and inspired by the fact that his father's last request had been that his children should be well educated. He attended this institution for four years, earning his own way by teaching and doing whatever else he was fitted for during vacations. In 1872 he entered the law department of the State University at Iowa City, graduating in June, 1873, ^^^ ^^ ^^e latter part of the same year commenced the practice of law at Denison, his present location, and enjoyed a lucrative patronage from the start. In 1880 he was elected district attorney of the Thirteenth judicial district of Iowa, comprising the counties of Greene, Carroll, Crawford, Audubon, Shelby, Cass, Pottawattamie, Mills and Fremont, and assumed the duties of the office January 1881. He was a very popular candidate, running over two hundred votes ahead of his party's ticket. He held this office four years, and on January i, 1884, went upon the bench of the circuit court in the same district, having been elected the preceding fall by a safe majority, though his party in the district was beaten by more than five hundred votes. He remained circuit judge until 1886, when the legislature abolished the office and divided the judicial districts again, so that Crawford, the county in which he resided, became a part of the Sixteenth judicial district of Iowa, embracing Greene, Crawford, Carroll, Sac, Ida and Calhoun counties. He was elected judge of this new district in 1886, receiving the vote of both parties, as there were no nominations made against him. He served the full term of four years, but declined renomination. In 1891 he renewed his practice of law at Denison, having served in office for ten years. He enjoys a successful and lucrative practice and is prominent in all the affairs of the community business, political, religious and social. He is one of the largest stockholders and a director in the Crawford County State Bank of Denison.

Judge Conner has always been an unswerving republican, casting his first presidential vote for General Grant in 1872. In every campaign he has been one of the leading si^akers to advocate the doctrines of the party, and is always an active worker for its welfare. He was a delegate to the national republican convention in 1892, and was a firm supporter of Benjamin Harrison for renomination. When Congressman J. P. Dol liver was appointed United States senator by Grovernor Shaw in September, 1900, Judge Conner became a candidate for the republican nomination to succeed Mr. Dolliver in congress, and in the convention held in Ft. Dodge September 25 and 26, he was nominated. It was a long and strenuous contest, in which nearly every county in the district presented an able candidate. But the friends of Judge Conner were found in nearly every county, having him as their second choice, after giving their local candidates every possible chance. Therefore it was impossible to unite "the field against Conner," which was attempted because he was the leading candidate. He was supported by Crawford, Greene, Humboldt, Kossuth, Webster, Calhoun and Pocahontas counties on the final ballot. He made a vigorous canvass of the district during the campaign and was elected by a tremendous majority, receiving 36,584 votes against 20,648 for Robert F. Dale, his democratic opponent, the largest majority ever g^ven by the district for any candidate for the office. In religion Judge Conner is a member of the Methodist church.

The judge was married October 12, 1875, to Miss Allie M. Cowdery, daughter of Henry E. Cowdery, of Mazomanie, Wisconsin. They have a delightful and comfortable home, and know well how to get the most happiness out of life.


From Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa Volume II, Leaders in Business, Politics and the Professions, Together with the Beginnings of a Western Commonwealth, by Benjamin Shambaugh. Des Moines: Conway & Shaw Publishers, 1899, pp. 464-465.

 
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