Iowa Historical Record - 1885-1902 - E


Iowa Historical Record 
v1-18; 1885-1902


Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Richard Barton.

Mrs. Katiquah Eberle

Mrs. Katiquah Eberle Died in Cassville, Wisconsin, March 8, 1899, this woman of remarkable history. She was a full-blooded Sac Indian. After the defeat of Blackhawk in the battle of Bad Ax, she, a child of about seven years of age, was left by an aunt and an older sister on the battlefield. they had led and carried the child till they were compelled by exhaustion to leave her to her fate.

After wandering several days alone, she was met by a wounded Indian who continued with her till at the end of twelve days, bun. Jordan, son of the first settler of East Dubuque, took them to his father's home. the girl was treated as one of the family. A boat was sent to gather up the Indians. Mr. and Mrs. Jordan took their protege to the boat. Seeing on the boat the aunt and sister who had deserted her, she refused to go with them. By permission of the captain she remained with the Jordans. Blackhawk afterwards sought to take her away, but was unsuccessful. Some Indians attempted to take possession of her, but she escaped from them by hiding under the bed. She was in constant fear of being kidnapped, but was not again molested. In October, 1854, she married Probus Eberle, a German farmer near East Dubuque. Her second daughter, Nellie, married George, son of Bun. Jordan, who found the child and brought her to his father's house. After the death of Mr. Eberle, the widow made her home with Mr. and Mrs. Jordan, of Wiota, Cass County, Iowa, until 1890, when she went to live with another daughter, Mrs. Fred Fishneck, in Cassville, Wisconsin, where she died.

James B. Edmonds
by Peter A. Dey

The death of James B. Edmonds, while not unexpected, has excited much feeling among the older residents of this portion of the state.  Most of his contemporaries that were familiar with his efforts at the bar of Johnson and surrounding counties and his practice in the Supreme and Federal courts are gone, still there are many that remember him and to these a tribute to his memory will be received with pleasure.

Mr. Edmonds was a resident of Iowa City for about twenty years, coming with his partner Charles T. Ransom early in January, 1856.

At that time Wm. Penn Clarke and Gilman Folsom were leaders at the Johnson county bar.  Rush Clark and George D. Woodin (later of Keokuk county) were rapidly becoming prominent.

The firm of Edmonds & Ransom within a brief time was employed in many important cases and later held a position that was undisputed.  Mr. Edmonds generally tried the cases in court.  Mr. Ransom devoted himself to their preparation and the business interests of the partnership.  they were both able men and singularly well adapted to each other in the relation they so long sustained.

With the possible exception of John N. Rogers, of Davenport, there was during the period he practiced in Iowa City perhaps no lawyer in the State more  thoroughly grounded in  the underlying principles of jurisprudence.  Among his contemporaries this we believe will not be questioned.

The following is copied from the Washington Post:

"James B. Edmonds, formerly a member of the board of commissioners for the District of Columbia, died at his residence, 1625 K street, northwest, at 7 o'clock, December 29, 1900.  Mr. Edmonds was in his sixty-ninth year and had been in poor health for some time.  He leaves a widow but no children.  The funeral and interment will take place in Washington.

"Mr. Edmonds was born May 20, 1832, in Saratoga county, N. Y.  He began the study of the law early, and was barely of age when he was admitted to the bar in Owego, N. Y.  The same year, 1853, he entered into partnership with his former preceptor, Hon. John L. Taylor, who was then a representative of the Owego district in Congress.  This connection lasted for a few years, and was followed by a partnership between Mr. Edmonds and Gen. B. F. Tracey, later Secretary of the Navy.  After a few more years spent in Owego Mr. Edmonds went to Iowa City, Iowa, then the capital of the state and a promising business town, where he opened a law office, in partnership with Charles T. Ransom, a former comrade at the bar in Elmira, and the firm soon attained great prominence not only in Iowa, but throughout the entire west.

"Mr. Edmonds and his partner practiced law with great success for twenty years in Iowa City, though their business extended to all parts of the country, and at the time of Mr. Edmonds' retirement form active practice, on account of poor health, his firm was the most prominent in the west.  Both partners amassed comfortable fortunes.

"In 1875 Mr. Edmonds gave up a portion of his practice and sought health in travel.  He finally came to Washington, where his health improved and here he decided to make his home.  He did not open an office in this city, nor actively practice his profession, but was frequently called into consultation.  In these years he went abroad several times, and also built a handsome residence for himself on K street, where he resided at the time of his death.

"Mr. Edmonds' first wife was a sister of his law partner, Mr. Ransom.  She died several years before he removed to Washington.  His widow, to whom he was married in 1866, was Miss Lydia Myers, a daughter of a prominent citizen of Iowa City.

"President Arthur nominated Mr. Edmonds to be a commissioner of the district, march 3, 1883.  He served till the expiration of his term, April 1, 1886, when he was succeeded by Mr. Wheatley.  Mr. Edmonds was one of the most efficient and popular officials of those who have presided over the affairs of the district, and his refusal to accept a renomination for office was greatly regretted.  His associate commissioners were Gen. West, and later Mr. Webb.  Maj. Lydecker was the engineer member of the board."


Upon motion of Commissioner Macfarland the board of district commissioners today issued the following order:

"That the commissioners of the District of Columbia learn with deep regret of the decease the evening of the 29th instant in this city of James Barker Edmonds, who was a commissioner of the said from March 3, 1883, to April 1, 1886; that as a mark of respect to his memory the flags of all district buildings be placed at half-mast until after his obsequies, and that all officers and employes of the district government intending to be present at the funeral, which will take place at 2 o'clock P. M., Wednesday, the 2d proximo, be excused from duty for that purpose."

Speaking of Mr. Edmonds, Mr. Macfarland said:

"Mr. Edmonds was a man of unusual ability and attainments.  He was so modest that his powers were not generally appreciated.  He fully met the high standard maintained by successive presidents in appointments to the district commissionership, and performed its exacting duties so successfully that there was general regret at his unwillingness to accept a reappointment.  In public office, as in private life, he showed fidelity, conscientiousness and industry.  Ill health of late years prevented his constant participation in the activities of the district, but he took a keen and unselfish interest in its affairs.  The last time I saw him was when he called to speak of a matter of public interest."

Mr. Edmonds was an early advocate of the free school system adopted in Iowa, claiming that property interests gained more than it cost in the protection afforded by increased intelligence, and he carried the same reasoning to higher education believing the State owed to its young people an opportunity to acquire learning in every branch of human knowledge.  He emphasized this in the offer he subsequently made the State.  He was greatly disappointed when he saw year by year the lands granted by congress to the State for the purpose of founding a university sold for an average of five dollars per acre when they should have been held until they would sell for from twenty-five to fifty dollars, and the university instead of realizing from this grant from one to two million dollars found the lands closed out at two hundred thousand dollars, the result of the legislature overruling the plans and purposes of Chancellor Dean, who was then the head of the institution, and who was giving to its management the intelligent thought and experience of a life-time spent in public instruction and the upbuilding of institutions of learning.  Later Mr. Edmonds, with an appreciation of the future, while property at Iowa City was comparatively cheap, proposed and with his friends undertook to raise money to purchase all the eland between the university park and the Iowa river; this the authorities declined to accept.  All now see how short-sighted this was, these grounds now would be invaluable but are out of reach.

It is unfortunate that in the political arrangements of the State that vital interests are entrusted to men of limited capacity.  Had Mr. Edmonds with his clear foresight been placed in a position to have influenced the action of the authorities the congressional land grant would have realized a large amount, the university ground would have extended to the Iowa river and a bequest of one hundred thousand dollars added to the funds, probably more, through his influence with his friends.

In 1894 Mr. Edmonds' health failing he made some arrangements for the distribution of his property.  As his professional reputation was made and the basis of his fortune acquired in Iowa he naturally turned to the State when selecting a place for his money where it would do the most good after his death.  Having been at one time an instructor in the Law Department he decided to give to the State University $100,000, the regents to select from Iowa mortgages drawing seven and eight per cent interest, such as they preferred, he to be guaranteed six per cent interest on this amount during the life-time of his wife and himself.

To make this binding required an act of the legislature and to the astonishment of everyone who was familiar with the circumstances the offer was declined unless he would accept such interest on the money as the university should get.  Mr. Edmonds was deeply hurt at the spirit in which his generous offer was received and it was withdrawn.

Although nearly twenty-five years had passed since he left Iowa, he retained an interest in Iowa people and the hospitalities of his home were freely tendered them when at the national capital.  Few men adhered more closely to early friends and few remembered them with more kindly feeling.