Recollections and Sketches of Notable Lawyers...Iowa - 1915 - L

1915 Index

Recollections and Sketches of Notable Lawyers and Public Men of Early Iowa
by Edward H. Stiles. Des Moines: Homestead Publishing Co., 1915.


Unless noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.

George Lafferty, I knew intimately in the early period of his life, and until my removal from Iowa, but am without much data concerning him after that period. The period of my most intimate acquaintance with him was while he was District Attorney of his District, and while Judge Horace Winslow was on the bench. I was employed by the defense in some capital cases, while George was the Prosecuting Attorney. Among these was that of the State against Maloy, for the murder of John Shea, at Ottumwa. The case was taken on change of venue to Jefferson County, which was then in Judge Winslow's District. I remember that the weather was the hottest I have ever experienced - so hot that the judge and all of the counsel engaged in the case, removed their coats. Mr. Lafferty made a vigorous prosecution and succeeded in obtaining a verdict of manslaughter against Maloy, and he was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment in the penitentiary. At the end of two years I succeeded in obtaining a pardon for him. I met George frequently. He was a good fellow, highly convivial, a delightful companion. He was a great favorite of Judge Winslow, and when out of court, they were frequently together. George was not only a big-hearted, generous man, but a good lawyer, as well. As before stated, he and Judge Johnson were partners for many years, and built up a splendid practice. George was not as studious as his partner, but he was a better mixer and a general favorite with the people. That he was twice elected District Attorney, shows the high appreciation in which he was held. He was not only a delightful fellow, but a highly honorable man.

He was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, in 1838, where he received his education and lived until the breaking out of the Rebellion. At the very outset he enlisted in Company G, of the Tenth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteer Corps, and at the expiration of that term of service, enlisted for three years more. He was a splendid soldier and participated in the second battle of Bull Run, of Fredericksburg, and in all the battles of the Wilderness. At the close of the war he came to Oskaloosa, read law with John R. Needham, was admitted to the bar in 1865, and became associated as a partner with Mr. Needham, and so continued until the latter's death, in 1868. Soon after this he entered into partnership with Judge J. Kelley Johnson, as before stated. In the fall of 1874 he was elected District Attorney and re-elected to the same office on the expiration of that term. He was a man of many splendid traits that attracted to him many faithful friends, among whom was your humble servant. He died in Los Angeles, California, in 1915.