Recollections and Sketches of Notable Lawyers and Public Men of Early
Unless noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.
Damon N. Sprague, I knew personally. He was a most agreeable gentleman. He was very companionable and very pleasing. He was, in fact, a general favorite among his acquaintances. He was also a lawyer of high repute in that part of the State. He died in 1902. He had been a widely practicing lawyer in southeastern Iowa for forty-five years. He represented Des Moines and Louisa County in the Seventh General Assembly. In 1870 he was elected District Attorney of the Burlington District and ably served in that capacity for four years. He removed from Wapello to Burlington, but at what date, I am unable to say. He was born at Cooperstown, New York, in 1832, and died at Richland Springs in that State. His remains were brought to Wapello for interment.
Springer and Edward H. Thomas - Autobiography and Recollections of the
Springer was one of the most important factors, both in laying the
foundations and building the framework of Iowa. He and Edward H. Thomas
were the first lawyers in Louisa County, where they located at Wapello
in 1838. In 1840 he was elected to the Territorial Council of the
Legislative Assembly; in 1846, to the Senate of the First General
Assembly in the State organization; in 1854, Prosecuting Attorney; in
1855, District Judge; in 1856, a delegate to the first Republican
National Convention; in 1857, to the Constitutional Convention of which
he was made the President; in 1858, re-elected District judge and served
in that position for eleven years. To go back, in 1851, he was appointed
Register of the United States Land Office at Fairfield, and after the
termination of his Judgeship, in 1869, Collector of Internal Revenue. He
was, I think, one of the most striking historical characters in Iowa
is another case in which, happily, the subject is seen telling much of
his own story, rather than the biographer. The following
autobiographical sketch was furnished me by Judge Springer for the
simple purpose of giving memoranda from which to prepare a sketch. But
it is so compact, clean, and I may add, so historically interesting in
itself that I have concluded to present it nearly in its entirety:
I am a native of the State of Maine, born in 1811. My father, Nathaniel
Springer, was of Swedish descent and of patriotic stock. His father,
Captain Nathaniel Springer, of Bath, Maine, was captain of an artillery
company in the Revolution and was killed while in the service. My father
was a shipwright by occupation, and for some years in the early part of
this century was engaged in a prosperous business, constructing
sea-going vessels at the seaport town of Bath.
Circumstances separated me when a lad of eleven years from my relatives.
When leaving home I went to live with father's family in Strafford
County, New Hampshire. They had no children, so I became a sort of
adopted son, and was treated by them with affectionate kindness during
the ten years that I made my home with them. During these years the
facilities I had for education were limited chiefly to the winter
district school, where were taught the regulation branches of
"reading, writing and ciphering," with a class in geography
and grammar. In the intervals of school and of work I received some
instruction occasionally from friends. In my eighteenth year I attended
a fall term of the Rochester Academy, at the close of which I received
from the preceptor a certificate of qualification for teaching school.
That winter I taught a country school at $10 a month, boarding around
among the families of the pupils. Among the scholars were some girls and
boys older, and the boys larger, than I. The nest year I attended
another term of the Academy, and taught another country school the
winter following. Afterwards, in the succeeding two years, I taught
village schools, pursuing my studies by myself, in the interval reciting
to learned friends, one of whom was a physician, Doctor Jeremiah Dow;
another was Preceptor Ingersoll, late of Rochester Academy, and then
student-at-law in the law office of Daniel Goodenow, of Alfred, Maine.
In the year 1833, I had returned to Maine, and the nest year commenced
to read law in the office of William Goodenow in Portland. During the
course of may law studies I served at odd times as assistant editor on
The Portland Courier, whose editor and proprietor was Seba Smith, author
of the celebrated "Jack Downing" Letters. I was admitted to
the bar at Portland in the year 1838. I then had a desire to adopt in
advance the advice of Mr. Greeley, "Go west, young man, and grow up
with the country."
For some years a warm friendship had subsisted between Edward H. Thomas
and myself. In age I was his senior by nearly two years. He was a
graduate of Bowdoin College; he read law at Portland in the law office
of Stephen Longfellow, father of H. W. Longfellow, America's gifted
poet. My friend Thomas had been admitted to the bar a year or two in
advance of me. He, too, had a touch of the western fever. We had
arranged to go together to try our fortunes in the far West, whose
western limit appeared then to be the State of Illinois. We started
together on our pilgrimage from Portland in October, 1838, traveling by
steamboat to Boston; thence by rail and steamboat to New York; thence by
rail to Harrisburg; thence by canal boat to Pittsburg - except our
transit over the Allegheny Mountains, which was by rail, a stationary
engine taking us up on one side and letting us down on the other - from
Pittsburg by steamer to St. Louis; thence by stage to Jacksonville;
thence by open wagon to Burlington, Iowa. We were some seven weeks on
our journey, including a day or two stops at several towns and the sand-
bar delays on the Ohio river. Our steamer was three weeks making the
trip from Pittsburg to Saint Louis. We spent a pleasant week at the
college in Jacksonville with some student friends. We met while there a
brother of Henry Clay, residing at Jacksonville, who quite naturally
felt proud of his brother "Harry," as the foremost statesman
of the South, if not of the country. We were equipped with letters of
introduction, among others to Daniel Webster, of Boston, Ogden Hoffman
and James Brooks, of New York, Judge Bellamy Storer and Gen. W. H.
Harrison, of Cincinnati, and George D. Prentice, the gifted journalist
of Louisville. Mr. Webster had not long before visited Illinois, where
he had acquired some interest in connection with a friend resident in
that State. Mr. Webster was kind enough to give us a letter to him. Our
objective point when we started from Portland was Illinois. Iowa had
hardly been heard of so far east at that early day. At Cincinnati by the
advice of judge Storer we changed our distination from Illinois to Iowa.
We reached Burlington on Sunday, the 21st day of December, 1838. The
territory of Iowa had been organized in July of that year, having
previously been a part of the jurisdiction of Michigan, and afterward of
Wisconsin. These changes of jurisdiction are curiously illustrated by an
anecdote told of James W. Woods. He is reported to have said that he had
one child born in Michigan, another in Wisconsin and another in Iowa,
and yet all three were born in the same house in Burlington! At
Burlington we were guests of a hotel kept by Mrs. Parrott, whose
beautiful black-eyed daughter afterwards became the wife of Shepherd
Leffler. The first Legislature of the Territory of Iowa was then in
session in the building known as the Old Zion Church. Our advent was
followed on the night of our arrival by an extemporaneous reception held
in a new unfinished frame building, where were gathered a jolly crowd of
members of the bar and others; where music, song and wit abounded, and
where my friend Thomas's musical and social talents were welcomed as an
acquisition. We stopped in Burlington about one week, making the
acquaintance of many prominent men, members of the bar and of the
legislative and executive departments of the Territorial Government, and
others from the different counties. From the County of Louisa, we met
James M. Clark, member of the Legislative Council, William L. Toole,
member of the House, Daniel Brewer, one of the Clerks, and Samuel M.
Kirkpatrick, an intelligent "high private." We were several
times in Judge Charles Mason's court, and in each branch of the
legislative department, and of course paid our respects to the executive
department, at the head of which was Governor Robert Lucas.
The first legislative assembly of Iowa was a fine looking body of men.
They would compare favorably with any legislative assembly Iowa has
since had. Gen. Jesse Brown, of the County of Lee, tall - six feet six -
dignified, graceful and courteous, was President of the Council. Colonel
William H. Wallace, of Henry County, was Speaker of the House;
impressive in person, manner and voice, he was a model presiding
officer. When I first entered the House, James W. Grimes, one of the
members from Des Moines County, had the floor addressing the House on
some question of interest. Though probably the youngest member, he was
listened to with marked attention, giving promise then of the eminence
as a lawyer and statesman which awaited him later.
In December, 1838, Burlington had a population of some 400 or 500
(Chicago at that time had about 5,000 - St. Louis 12,000); only two
brick buildings were then to be seen in the town, one a small one-story
building built by David Rorer for his law office, the other a two-story
structure on Front Street occupied by Bridgman & Partridge, the
principal merchants at that time.
As a result of the information we gathered in a week's sojourn in
Burlington, we concluded to locate in Louisa County; so in the afternoon
of Saturday, the 27th day of December, we left Burlington for Wapello,
kindly escorted by Mr. Kirkpatrick, who was on horseback, while Hr.
Thomas and I for private reasons took it afoot. That evening we made
Burkhardts Point, about twelve miles from Burlington, where we slept
soundly in one of the rooms of a double log cabin, so well ventilated
that we could se the stars, as we lay in the bed, through the unplasterd
or unmudded spaces between the logs. In the afternoon of the next day,
Sunday, we reached Wapello and met a settlers' welcome. But few families
were then there, and some three or four unfinished frame houses. Wapello
at that time consisted of three towns, on paper at least, named Upper,
Middle, and Lower Wapello. The location of the county seat in march,
1839, and the subsequent entry of the S. E. quarter of Section 27 by the
county as the site of the county seat, had the effect of consolidating
the three embryo towns into one. There were several other towns laid out
in the county with more or less hopeful future prospects. The county had
a population of about 1,200.
Our early courts in the county were held in log cabins. The sessions of
the grand jury were held at first in an adjacent ravine. Mr. Thomas and
I were the first resident lawyers in the county. At our first term of
court, held in 1839, we were engaged in some forty cases. Of lawyers
from other counties attending our early court, I recall the names of
Alfred Rich, Hugh T. Reid and Philip Viele, of Lee, David Rorer, M. D.
Browning, W. W. Chapman, James W. Woods, James W. Grimes, and Henry
Starr, of Des Moines, Stephen Whicher, Ralph P. Lowe, William G.
Woodward and Jacob Butler, of Muscatine - all able lawyers and prominent
men. One would have to go far indeed to find an abler bar.
Louisa County was then in the Second Judicial District, Presided over by
Judge Joseph Williams, of Muscatine. He and my friend, Edward H. Thomas,
were the life and center of attraction of the social circles of evenings
when on court circuits, both being adepts in vocal and instrumental
music. The Judge was at home on almost any instrument, banjo, drum,
fife, as well as on instruments of a higher grade. Mr. Thomas'
specialty, though he was good on other instruments, was the flute, on
which he had few equals anywhere. The Judge's gift as a comedian would
keep a crowd in a roar - as a ventriloquist he would sometimes
"astonish the natives." He was withal a consistent member of
the Methodist Church, and a warm friend of temperance. His kindness and
respect shown to the younger members of the bar of his court were
notable and appreciated.
Perhaps I may allude to a catastrophe that befell a party of bachelors
at Wapello in 1839 at their first and last experience at bach- keeping.
In the spring of that year the party, consisting of John W. Brookbank, a
talented young doctor from the Hoosier State, Edward H. Thomas and I, in
order to improve, if might be, our board accommodations, undertook a
bach-keeping experiment. Our house was a log cabin of the regular
pattern, with a large fireplace in one end opening into a chimney of
like dimensions constructed of sticks and clay or mud, the sticks laid
crosswise, a bar of iron for a crane, with hooks for suspending our pots
and kettles. Our pantry and larder being furnished as well as might be,
we launched our bachelor craft, and sailed along quite independent and
happy in our success, until a melancholy day in November, "the
saddest of the year," overtook us with a violent rain storm; the
wind blew and the rain poured all night. In the morning the storm still
continuing, we had got our breakfast on to cook, when all of a sudden
down came our chimney, pots, kettles, breakfast and all into one common
ruin; and thus ended our bachelor experience.
In the Legislative Council District composed of the counties of Louisa
and Washington and the country west, at a mass meeting of Whigs held at
Wapello in the summer of 1840, I was nominated as a candidate without
opposition and at the election chosen. The seat of government having
been transferred to Iowa City, the Fourth Legislative Assembly convened
there, December 2, 1841. At the general election of 1842, I was
re-elected from the same district a member of the Fifth and Sixth
Legislative Assemblies, in both of which I served. The Sixth adjourned
February 16, 1844. Governor John Chambers, of Kentucky, had been
appointed by Genearl Harrison in 1841. Our social and official relations
during his term of service were pleasant and agreeable to me. I was
shown by him much personal consideration. As an instance, I may state
that during a session of the Legilative Council in February, 1844, I had
recommended my friend Thomas for appointment to the office of District
Attorney for the middle judicial district of the Territory. William g.
Woodward, of Muscatine, was an applicant for the appointment, strongly
endorsed and highly thought of by the Governor and by all who knew him.
Another office to be filled by the appointment was that of commissioner
to superintend the erection of the new Capitol. The name of my
father-in-law, Judge Colman, among others, had been spoken of for the
place. I had not recommended him. At a morning session of the Council
one day, without a previous word to me, Governor Chambers came into the
council chamber, and coming to my seat laid on my desk a paper
containing the appointment of both, as a compliment to me, which I of
course greatly appreciated.
The first state election was held October 26, 1846, at which I was
elected a member of the Senate of the First General Assembly of the
State, for a term of two or four years as the drawing in the
classification of members as the beginning of the session should
determine. I drew the term for your years. The first session convened at
Iowa City, November 30, 1846, adjourned February 25, 1847, convened
again in extra session January 3, 1848, and adjourned the 25th of the
same month. The Second General Assembly convened December 4, 1848, and
adjourned January 15, 1849. No other extra session was held in the
remainder of my term of service.
In the summer of 1849, and again in that of 1850, I was appointed
special agent of the Post Office Department, charged with the duty of
visiting the post offices of Wisconsin, collecting the government money
in those offices and transferring it to St. Louis, which occupied me
several weeks in each of those years.
In May, 1851, I was appointed by President Fillmore Register of the
United States Land Office at Fairfield, Iowa, and served until May,
1853, after which in November following I removed with my family back to
Wapello, remaining in Wapello a year or two. I thence removed to
Columbus City township for the twofold purpose of improving my health
(which had become somewhat impaired by confinement to official duty) by
more outdoor exercise, and of indulging a partiality I had for farming
by opening farms on some lands I owned near the town of Columbus City.
In 1854 I was elected to the office of Prosecuting Attorney for the
county, and on the death of Wright Williams become ex-officio County
Judge, to which office I was elected in 1855. In 1856 I was appointed
one of the delegates of Iowa to the first National Convention of the
Republican party held at Philadelphia, in June of that year. That
Convention was a notable gathering of earnest, patriotic men. The
keynote of the Convention was struck by Henry S. Lane in a specimen of
western eloquence with which on taking the chair he electrified and
thrilled it. General Fitz Henry Warren was a member, and of course
chairman of our delegation. I was one of the vice presidents. An event
connected with the Convention of, as I think, great significance to the
country, though but little perhaps thought of and less spoken of since,
occurred in its proceedings. The nomination of Freement was a foregone
conclusion. But who was to be the candidate for Vice President? The
Illinois delegation, headed by Washburne, of Galena, proposed and
earnestly advocated the name of Abraham Lincoln. How fortunate for the
country that the friends of Mr. Lincoln failed to nominate him for
second place on a ticket destined to defeat, the effect of which might
not have been afterwards overcome.
Curiously enough an episode at the hotel where we stopped occurred
personal to Henry Wilson and me. When we were introduced and he had
learned my name, "Are you," he asked, "the Francis
Springer who once taught a school in the town of Farmington, New
Hampshire, which I attended as a pupil about the year 1831?"
"Yes," I said, "and I have some recollection of a pupil
by your name."
In the autumn of the same year, at a general rally of the Republicans of
the county near Columbus City, I was proposed as a candidate to
represent the county in the Constitutional Convention to be held at Iowa
City in January, 1857, and was elected at the November election, 1856.
The convention, composed of thirty-six members, convened at Iowa City
January 25th, and adjourned March 5, 1857. The caucus of Republican
members for nominating officers was held the night preceding the day of
meeting of the Convention. Circumstances made me late in reaching the
city, as I think, not until after the caucus had been held. I do not
know that I knew of its action until the next morning, when I was
informed of my nomination for President of the Convention. It was a
position unsought and unsolicited by me. My impression is that the vote
of the caucus was a unit in favor of my nomination, no other member
having been proposed. the election of the nominees for the several
official positions occurred on the second day, the Republican members
voting for me, the Democratic for judge J. C. Hall.
In 1858, I was elected to the office of Judge of the District Court of
the First Judicial District for a term of four years, and took my seat
on the bench at Burlington at the January term, 1859. To this office I
was re-elected in 1862, and again in 1866, and served in it until
November, 1869, when I resigned to take the office of collector of
internal revenue for the first collection district of Iowa, made vacant
by the resignation of General Belknap to become Secretary of War in
President Grant's Cabinet. In this office I served until the autumn of
1876, when I was most willingly relegated to the rank of "high
In December, 1842, I was married to Miss Nancy R. Colman, daughter of
Hon. John M. Colman, of Iowa City, a native of Kentucky, her mother a
native of Ireland. She was born at Terre Haute, Indiana, January 8,
1825, and died of pneumonia at Cimarron, New Mexico, November 12, 1874,
while on a visit to her son Frank. By our union eight children were
born, six sons and two daughters. Two of the sons first born died in
infancy, and a little daughter at the age of two years. The fourth son,
Warren C. Springer, was drowned in the Iowa river, March 28, 1872, at
the age of nineteen. Of the remaining children, Frank and Charles are
lawyers residing in New Mexico; Arthur is a lawyer at Fort Worth, Texas;
and the daughter, Nellie, is the wife of Hilton M. Letts, and resides at
the family homestead near Columbus Junction, Iowa. ["]
the receipt of the foregoing autobiographical matter, desiring to obtain
from judge Springer some data for the present work, I wrote to him for
that purpose and from him received the following response:
Columbus Junction, Iowa, July 2, 1885.
Hon. Edward H Stiles, Ottumwa, Iowa.
My dear Sir: Thanks for a copy of the circular with your note on the
back of it. I beg to send you herewith for "what they are
worth" some notes for a response to a sentiment concerning the
early bar of this county, from which you possibly may glean an item for
your book. I send you also a copy of the State Register, Des Moines. On
the first page are some pleasant (to my friends) words said of me on the
occasion of the reunion, at that city, of the surviving members of the
Constitutional Convention of 1857, in January, 1882. On the third page
is a brief biographical sketch of several members including me. At your
convenience, when through with the use of them, I would like to have
them returned, the paper and the notes.
With true regard and wishing you the abundant success which I doubt not
you will deserve and have, I am,
Very truly yours,
P. S. The address of Edward H. Thomas is 145 Danforth Street, Portland,
Maine. He has had the misfortune to be blind for some years past. He has
a good memory, and if applied to, I dare say, could give you some
perhaps interesting reminiscences of early times. I expect to visit him
in a few weeks, but too late for your purpose. A copy of your circular
with a brief note would do as well. ["]
following is a condensation of the manuscript referred to in his letter:
The resident members of the pioneer bar of this county were not many,
and so, I take it, the words "pioneer members of the bar of Louisa
County" may be allowed to include members of the bar not residents
of the county but who were in the habit of practicing in our courts.
The courts of Iowa had been established when I came to the country in
1838. Besides justices of the peace and probate courts, our judiciary
was limited to three Judges, each assigned to a district composed of
about one-third of the Territory, and the three composing the Supreme
Court. As the country was sparsely populated in those days, members of
the bar traveled the circuit more then than now, going round with the
Judges and practicing in the different counties.
Of those practicing in the courts of this county and not residing in it,
the names of Hastings, Woodward, Whicher, Lowe and Burler, of Muscatine;
Grimes, the two Starrs, Rorer, Browning, Chapman and Woods, of
Burlington, occur to me; and less frequently attending our courts, were
Carleton and Bates, of Iowa City; Learned, Mills and Hall, of
Burlington; and Viele, Reid and Rich, of Fort Madison. These were all
men of note and some of them of much distinction. ["]
follow brief notices of the men just referred to, but inasmuch as
sketches of most of them will be found elsewhere in this volume, the
notices referred to are omitted:)
Of the pioneer resident members of the bar of this county, Edward H.
Thomas and I may be said to have been the first settlers. Mr. Thomas and
I came here in December, 1838, as stated. After a residence and practice
of some twelve years here, Mr. Thomas was attracted to Burlington, where
he engaged in the business of banking, as a member of the banking house
of Green, Thomas & Co. Though he had no great taste for the law, he
yet succeeded well in his practice here. Generous, genial, full of
kindness and charity towards everybody, I may say that few of his
contemporaries knew him but to love him, or will now hear his name
mentioned without a desire to praise it. He had considerable taste for
lterature, and was no mean poet, upon occasion.
The next accession to the resident bar, I believe, were our well- known
fellow citizens, John Bird and B. F. Wright - not so well known here now
- Noffsinger, Amos Harris, and later our distinguished friend, D. N.
Sprague. Harris did not stay long, but he has since become eminent as a
lawyer and prominent citizen in the County of Appanoose. He was a member
from that county of the Constitutional Convention of 1857. As a whole
the pioneer bar of our county was a pleasant one, possessing much of the
true esprit de corps, harmonious, high-minded, honorable in its
relations with each other and with the court, true to its obligations to
clients, and yet loyal and true also to the principles of justice and
right, "ever ready to defend the poor or oppressed, and always
awake to the public interest." In the courts of this county, I do
not remember an instance of personal quarrel or altercation among
members of the bar. ["]
Judge Springer had not received a classical or collegiate education, it
is quite apparent from references in some of his writings, that he had
decided literary inclinations and that he had read extensively.
John Bird, mentioned by Judge Springer, "Old Timber," James W.
I think he came from Ohio. He was a fair lawyer who made up for
brilliancy by hard study and close application. His education had been
only ordinary, but people reposed great confidence in his honesty and
his opinions were much sought after. He was at one time a partner of
Francis Springer. He represented his district in the legislature and
beat his opponent Fitz Henry Warren as the floating representative from
Louisa and Des Moines counties.
Judge Springer's son, Frank, became a distinguished lawyer at Las Vegas,
New Mexico. He was the legal representative of the Maxwell Land Grant
Company, and afterward for many years of the Atchison, Topeka &
Santa Fe Railroad Company, in New Mexico. His son, Charles, also became
lawyer of note there, and his son, Arthur, at Fort Worth, Texas.
H. Stiles, being the author of this work, deems it preferable to make no
mention of himself, further than has been incidentally done in the
progress of this work, for the purpose of showing his familiarity with
the subjects, concerning which he writes.
may, however, be pardoned for reproducing the footnote, which the
Curator of the Historical Department of Iowa, was kind enough to attach
as such to Stiles' sketch of judge john f. Dillon, appearing in volume
nine of the Annals of Iowa, April, 1909, number.*
* Edward H. Stiles commenced the practice of his profession at the city of Ottumwa, where he resided for a period of nearly thirty years and was during that time a leading member of the Iowa bar. In 1859 he was chosen City Counselor. In 1861, County attorney. He was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives for the session of 1864, and t the State Senate in the autumn of 1865. He served in the regular session of 1866, but in the autumn of that year he resigned the Senatorship, to accept the position of Reporter of the Supreme Court of the state. He served in this position until 1875. His Reports fill sixteen octavo volumes. He also prepared and published in four volumes a Digest of the Decisions of the Supreme Court of Iowa from the earliest territorial period. He was the Republican candidate for Congress in General Weaver's district, the Sixth Iowa, then a Democratic stronghold, in 1883, and come within a few votes of election. He was the attorney of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, and of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company, for twenty years in the Ottumwa district. In 1886 he removed to Kansas City, Missouri, where he has since practiced his profession, and is a leading member of that bar. He was the Republican candidate for Circuit Judge in 1892, and since November of that year has been Master in Chancery of the United States Circuit Court for the Western Division of the Western District of Missouri. In 1881 at the request of the Judges of the Supreme Court, he commenced to gather material for biographical sketches of lawyers and leading public men of early Iowa. He is now engaged in utilizing the materials thus compiled, the result f which we are authorized to say he expects in the near future before the public in book form.
JOHN T. STONEMAN was born in Chautauqua County , New York , in 1831. He received an academical preparatory education, then entered Williams College , from which he graduated. His legal education was acquired by reading law with a distinguished lawyer of Covington , Kentucky , and at the Albany Law School . He located at McGregor, in 1856, where he practiced with great success until his removal to Cedar Rapids in 1882. He was a finished scholar and one of the most distinguished lawyers of the State. He was of English and New England extraction, and a brother of George Stoneman, a highly distinguished General of the Civil War.
He had a remarkably fine presence, a command of choice language, and to his profound learning as a lawyer, were joined the gifts of a polished orator. In 1876 I happened to be in the State Senate while he was addressing that body. My acquaintance with him was so slight that I did not at first recognize him, but my attention was drawn to him by his noble bearing and the elegance of his address.
In politics, he was originally a Whig, and after that, allied himself with the Democratic party. He was the first Recorder of the City of McGregor , being elected in 1857, and in 1863 was elected its Mayor. In the presidential campaign of 1868 he was on the Democratic ticket as one of the candidates for presidential elector. In 1870 he was the Democratic candidate for Congress in the Third District, against W. J. Donnan. In the same year he received the full Democratic vote of the Thirteenth General Assembly, for the United States Senate, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James W. Grimes. In 1872 he was again the Democratic candidate for Congress, against Mr. Donnan, and greatly reduced the previous Republican majority. In 1875 he was elected to the State Senate and served in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth General Assemblies. His superior abilities made him competent to fill any office within the gift of the people, and he would doubtless, have been more highly honored had not his party, through nearly all the years, been in a hopeless minority.
Judge Charles T. Granger, in speaking of him, thus writes me:
"John T. Stoneman was one of the prominent early lawyers of Clayton County and a good one. He excelled as an advocate and his legal acquirements were excellent."
His career in Cedar Rapids fully sustained his previous standing and reputation as a lawyer. In his latter years he was Judge of the Supreme Court of that City for some time.