Floyd County, Iowa
The Bar of the Past
Attorneys at law who have been residents of Floyd County, and practiced their profession at the courts of the same, but who are now either deceased or moved away, are embraced in the following sketches:
Judge of Floyd County for several years in early times, moved from this county many years ago, and in 1880 died in Illinois. He was a fair lawyer, an honorable man, and for a long time was a partner with Judge Fairfield. He was also County Surveyor many years.
Was a member of the early bar of Floyd County, a resident of St. Charles City, and his name therefore appears in some of the early passages of this volume.
Came to Charles City from Southern Illinois, and was admitted to the bar at Decorah, Iowa. He located in Charles City in 1877, and practiced law and loaned money until 1881, when he removed to Janesville, Wis., to take charge of the estate of his wife’s father. He was an officer in the late war.
Became a partner in the firm of Reiniger, Card & Reiniger in 1858, and retired from it about three years afterward. In 1868 he was elected District Attorney on the Republican ticket, by 1,211 votes to 403 for W. A. Stow, his Democratic opponent. Mr. Card some years ago removed to Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, where he is now Postmaster.
Of Nora Springs, killed himself with opium, under rather peculiar circumstances. March 24, 1871, he went to Mason City, by special invitation, to deliver a lecture on “Beauty.” Some waggish fellows at that place, knowing that Mr. Hunt was weakened in his mental powers, received him into the village with a sort of mock ovation. During the delivery of his lecture he was observed to be considerably excited and frequently to take and eat something from a little box he had in his vest pocket. After the lecture he went to bed at his hotel, where he was found dead the next morning. The little box was found to contain opium. He probably had taken too much of the deadly drug.
Deceased, was one of the first lawyers of Charles City. He was a graduate of the Ohio bar; studied law at Tiffin, Ohio, then engaged in the practice of law in Charles City; was the most prominent and successful attorney in this part of the State. He was a partner with R. G. Reiniger, his brother, afterward with D. W. Carr, now of Mason City. During the hard times of 1857 he lost heavily, from which he never recovered, but continued the practice of law until 1865, when he removed to Franklin County, Mo., where he died. He was a German, and could not fully manage the English pronunciation; yet a man of fine legal ability and a sort of father to Floyd County bar, many of whom hold him in grateful remembrance for his kindness. He was a whole-souled gentleman, and an enemy to no one. He died Oct. 5, 1869, in Union, Jefferson Co., Mo., leaving a wife and five children.
Was a native of New York, and was born in Clinton County,
May 5, 1809. He was the son of John Mathews, a farmer and mechanic,
who came from England, and settled near the line of New York, in Canada.
Mr. Mathews spent his youth and early manhood at the East; married Caroline
A. Horr in 1834, and in that year settled in Kane County, Ill., building
the first frame house on the site of Aurora. He opened a farm and continued
in agricultural pursuits until 1846, when, having read law at Aurora,
he was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice at Little Rock, Kendall
County, continuing in his profession there for eight or nine years.
His practice was extensive and profitable. During four years of his
residence in Kendall County, he served as County Judge, an office for
which his sound judgement and administrative talent admirably qualified
him. In 1853 he was elected to the Legislature, and was associated in
that body with such men as John M. Palmer, S. M. Cullom and John A.
Logan. Mr. Mathews introduced the first bill for the protection of wild
game. About this time he became interested in Government lands west
of the Mississippi, particularly in Iowa and Nebraska, where he prospected
considerably, making entries and finally selecting his home at Rockford,
on the beautiful Shell Rock, where he settled on the 1st of January
1857. Here for twenty years he toiled hard to build up a town, leading
off in every enterprise which tended in that direction, up to the time
of his death, which occurred on the 31st of May, 1877. Judge W. B. Fairfield,
of Charles City, a long and intimate friend, pronounced his funeral
oration, and thus spoke of Mr. Mathews as a lawyer: “As a lawyer,
Mr. Mathews was well read, thoroughly versed in its principles, clear
in his perceptions as to fact and law, and the relation of one to the
other, lucid in statement, logical in reasoning. Although in his latter
years he rarely conducted the trial of a cause in court, he frequently
brought cases to the bar whose trial was intrusted to younger members
of the profession. In all these cases, however, there was this that
was noticeable – they were prepared. Not only was the law clearly
defined and the authorities digested, but the preparation of the testimony
insignificant in sequence was masterly. The introduction of witnesses
and testimony was so arrayed that as fact after fact and incident after
incident, was developed they constituted, in simple order of array,
an argument at once clear and logical. No man at the bar in this district
understood better the value and the weight of testimony.” The
last eight or nine years of his life he was a banker, and was successful
in this, as in every other enterprise in which he engaged. He left a
large property in the village of Rockford, a farm of eleven hundred
acres two miles south of town, another farm sixteen miles away, in the
edge of Franklin County, and other property scattered here and there.
Mr. Mathews was elected one of the supervisors of Floyd County, when
the law establishing such an office went into operation, and while in
that office was instrumental in freeing the county of very heavy obligations
in the form of railroad bonds. He took pride in the accomplishment of
this work, and the taxpayers felt that they owed him a heavy debt of
Attorney, was born an educated in Watertown, Jefferson County, N. Y.; was admitted to the New York bar, and afterward practiced law in Wisconsin; located in Charles City in 1868. He practiced law here one year, then went to Winnebago County, until in 1874, he returned to Charles City and practiced law until he removed to Chicago in 1879. In 1879 he became a strong temperance worker, and was elected president of the Tribe of Jonathan. He made a successful and useful canvass of Floyd County, in 1879; is at present engaged in the grocery business in Chicago.
An attorney of high standing, was born April 21, 1847,
at Unadilla, N. Y. After graduating at the home high school, he entered
Hamilton College, Clinton, N. Y., when eighteen years of age. A year
afterward he took charge of the Rome Academy, as principal. Not long
after this he left that position to study law with Hon. D. P. Loomis
of Unadilla. He was admitted to the bar in 1869, and in the next year,
having married Eliza, daughter of the late Josiah E. Owens, he came
West and settled in Charles City, which was his residence until his
death. His career was an open book, to be read by all men; and a purer
more unselfish, honorable record is rarely spread before men. He held
office as City Attorney, member of the City School Board and Alderman.
As a lawyer he stood high, as a public officer he was faithful, and
as a citizen he was worthy of the highest place in the affections of
the community. Being a man of principle, he was a thorough going reformer,
or, if you please, leader in philanthropic enterprises.
Was born in Clinton County, Penn., Sept. 3, 1831. His
parents were Robert and Eleanor (Bowers) Patterson, both reared on the
frontier and accustomed to the hardships and perils of border life.
The Pattersons are originally from the north of Ireland, and are of
Scotch-Irish decent. They settled in Pennsylvania at an early day. The
Bowers were also early settlers there, from Germany. From his parents
John inherited a strong and hea-- --dy, together with indomitable energy.
When he was two years old, his parents removed to Seneca County, Ohio,
where John, the third of a family of sixteen children, grew to the age
of eighteen, with a grave experience of sold work upon his father’s
farm. During this time he attended school winters, and picked up the
rudiments of an education. From this time until he was twenty-two, he
attended the spring and autumn terms of the Republic Academy, teaching
during the winter months, and working on the farm in summer. In the
autumn of 1854, with ten dollars in his pocket as his whole available
capital, he commenced reading law in the office of Pennington &
Lee, of Tiffin, Ohio. He was admitted to the bar in September 1856,
and in June 1857 came to Charles City and engaged in the practice of
his profession. Every old settler here knows the struggles of a young
attorney, poor in pocket, but rich in ability and capacity for work,
and how splendidly he succeeded; gradually accumulating a handsome property,
and at the same time gaining a reputation as one of the foremost legal
men of the State. In 1861 he formed a law partnership with S. B. Starr.
In 1873 A. M. Harrison was admitted to the firm. In 1863, Mr. Patterson
was elected State Senator; was re-elected in 1867, serving eight years.
He was chairman of the committee on township and county organizations
for three sessions, was on the judiciary committee three sessions, and
chairman of the railroad committee the last session. He was sent to
the Legislature especially to aid in securing a land grant for a railroad
on the forty-third parallel of latitude. He labored unceasingly to effect
that object; and to him, more than to any other man, is due the securing
of that grant. An abler, or more industrious man never represented Floyd
County in the Legislature, and he gained for himself while there a State
reputation. After retiring from the Legislature he took an active part
in politics, and was recognized as a power in the Fourth Congressional
District. He was a staunch, uncompromising Republican, and his voice
was always on the side of right. At home, he was ever alive to the interests
of his city and county, and was always one of the foremost in devising
means for their advancement. He took an active part in the formation
of the Charles City Water-Power Company, working against all discouragement,
sparing neither time nor money, until the success of the scheme to improve
the Charles City water-power was fully assured. He was a large shareholder
in the company, and held the office of its secretary till his death.
Mr. Patterson was first married in 1856, to Miss Hester E. A. Quiggle,
of Pennsylvania. She bore him eight children, six of whom survived her.
She died in 1872. In 1874 he was united in marriage to Mrs. Sarah Smith
McCann, daughter of Judge Elvin Kendrick Smith, of Northern New York,
and niece of Governor Silas H. Jenison of Vermont. This wife survives
him, and is guardian of the minor children. Mr. Patterson’s death
occurred Oct. 29, 1878, from a railroad accident on the Iowa division
of the C. M. St. P. Railway. He was instantly killed. Thus closed his
early career. In the prime of life and full vigor of manhood he passed
away. Selecting from the articles in the newspapers of the day, we quote