pub American Biographical Publishing Company.

The United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume online

. (page 6 of 125)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

bartering grain, they paying cash to the farmers for
their wheat. In the spring of 1850, in company
with Mr. A. Le Claire, built the first foundry and
machine shops, and constructed the first steam-
engine, and made the first castings in the city. He
sold out in 1855. In 1854 the first gas company in
the state was organized, and he was elected presi-
dent, and has occupied that position twenty-two
years. In the fall of 1857 a branch of the State
Bank of Iowa was organized, and he was elected

president, and continued in that position ten years,
and when it was merged into the Davenport Na-
tional Bank he was elected president of that institu-
tion, remaining for eight years, until the spring of
1875, when he resigned, and retired from active
business. To the good management of Mr. Daven-
port the Davenport National owes much of its suc-
cess, which makes it one of the solid institutions of
the country. In 187 1 he was elected a director of
the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad, and
still continues in that position, and has held many
other appointments of honor and trust. Mr. Daven-
port has done much for the improvement of the city,
has built several fine blocks, and is liberal in his en-
couragement of enterprise. In every position which in
his eventful life he has been called to fill, Mr. Daven-
port has been successful in the highest sense. As
a business man, he has been upright, reliable and
honorable, and in all places and under all circum-
stances he is loyal to truth, honor and right, justly
valuing his own self-respect and the deserved esteem
of his fellow men, as infinitely better than wealth,
fame or position.


THE early settlers in Sioux City, Iowa, were
men of foresight as well as energy. The map
indicated that this was a very important point, and
that here must some day be a city, the size of which
would be determined in part by the number of en-
terprises centering here. Among these early settlers
was Judge Hubbard, a man of great force of char-
acter and that kind of industrious nature which, if
wisely applied, rarely fails. He located here- when
the village of Sioux City was but two years old, and
when it had, perhaps, five hundred actual white set-
tlers. He has lived to see the number exceed five
thousand. He has lived to see six railroads enter
the town, and was the chief promoter of these vari-
ous enterprises.

Asahel Wheeler Hubbard was born on the i8th
of January, 1819, at Haddam, Middlesex county,
Connecticut. His parents were Simeon and Esther
Wheeler Hubbard, both of Puritan stock. His fa-
ther was a farmer, and the son remained at home
until sixteen, working in the summers and attend-
ing school during the winters. The first summer

he drove a team, hauling stone to the Connecticut
river, following it with another winter terra of school
in his father's district. The next summer he worked
in a stone-quarry seven months at ten dollars jfer
month, devoting the money thus earned to attending
a select school in Middletown, Connecticut. The
summer following he cut stone at sixteen dollars per
month, and then, following the same business a few
months longer, he received thirty dollars per month
and boarded himself

At nineteen we see him wending his way to Indi-
ana as a book agent, locating before the end of the
year at Rushville, in that state, teaching school six
months, and then entering a law office.

He was admitted to the bar of the district court
of Rush county in January, 1841 ; practiced there
for sixteen years and then moved to Sioux City.
Here his talents soon made themselves apparent,
and his fitness for certain positions made it almost
impossible, whatever his own taste and inclination
might be, to remain in private life.

While in Indiana, as early as 1847, Mr. Hubbard



was elected to the state senate from Rush county,
and served three years, declining to be a candidate
for reelection. He had been in Iowa only one year
before he was elected judge of the fourth judicial
district, at that time embracing at least thirty coun-
ties in the northwestern portion of the state. He
served four years, and was then, in 1862, elected to
congress, continuing there for six years. Among
the committees on which he served were those on
foreign affairs, public expenditures, and Indian af-
fairs. Representing a frontier district, living in
proximity to the red men, and conversant with their
habits and the methods of dealing with them, the
placing of him on the last named committee was
eminently fitting, and on it he did especially good
service. He was very attentive to his duties while
in congress, and served his constituents and the
state with unqualified satisfaction. Whatever re-
sponsibilities he has ever assumed, either as a gov-
ernment official or private citizen, he has discharged

with the utmost faithfulness. He was a whig until
the party ceased to exist, and has since been a

Judge Hubbard attends the Presbyterian church,
but is not a communicant.

On the loth of October, 1849, he married Miss
Leah Pugh, of Rushville, Indiana, a near relative of
the late Senator Pugh, of Ohio. She had four chil-
dren, only one of them, a son, now jiving. He is
practicing law in Sioux City. His first wife died in
1854. In January, 1862, Judge Hubbard married
Miss Leah Swift, of Rushville, the result of the lat-
ter marriage being five children, all living but one.

Judge Hubbard aided in organizing the First Na-
tional Bank of Sioux City six years ago, and has
been its president since it went into operation. He
is still interested in railroads, and in every enter-
prise which will increase the prosperity of Sioux
City and develop the wealth of the upper Missouri



AMONG the successful men of Iowa may fairly
JTx. be placed the name of Hon. Dennis N. Cooley.
The essentials of success, courage, patience, perse-
verance, and the prudent use of good common
sense, rarely fail in their legitimate result, and suc-
cess brings honor in every honest occupation.

He was born at Lisbon, Grafton county. New
Hampshire, on the 7th of November, 1825, and is a
descendant from a long-lived family." His grandfa-
ther on the paternal side, Aaron Cooley, was a major
in the revolutionary war and served with much dis-
tinction. He died at the advanced age of ninety-one
years. His grandfather Taylor, on his mother's side,
was employed in the same war when fourteen years
old as wagon boy. He lived in Lisbon, New Hamp-
shire, to the age of ninety-seven years. He was one
of the few men who voted for Washington and Lin-
coln as presidents of the United States. He repre-
sented his native town in the legislature for more
than twenty years. The death of his father, Hon.
Benjamin Cooley, left his mother but a small estate
to support and educate a family of eight children,
he at that time being two years old. During boy-
hood he worked on the farm and attended the com-
mon schools during the winters. When fifteen years

of age he left home, filled with an ambition for a
career of honor and usefulness -and relying on his
own efforts for a support.

He entered the Newbury Seminary in Vermont,
and by teaching school during recess was enabled
to remain and fit himself for college. This he ac-
complished, but owing to his limited means he post-
poned entering, and taught select schools and in the
academy at Londonderry, Vermont, for some time.
He did not graduate, but from his literary tastes
and professional studies he received the degree of
A.M. Reared in boyhood on a farm, he became
inured to labor, and, possessed of a rugged constitu-
tion, he has enjoyed perfect health and been able to
accomplish his successful course. From early boy-
hood he had determined to become a lawyer, and
to this end all his energies were bent, though in the
meantime, from 1847 to 1849, he was partner in a
large mercantile house in Vermont, and being very
successful acquired the means to pay the expense of
his legal education. In 1850 he entered the office
of Hon. H. E. Stoughton, and .afterward was one
year with Hon. A. Stoddart, and for a year and a
half read with the well-known firm of Tracy, Con-
verse and Barrett, of Woodstock. While a student

-tEg ^ L-y- R Ji-uasnSOJ-y "J



with the latter firm he was elected one of the clerks
of the house of representatives of the Vermont legis-
lature. In 1854 he was admitted by the Hon. Jacob
Callamore to practice in the courts of Vermont. In
the autumn of the same year he removed to the
great west, and located at Dubuque, Iowa. Pre-
viously to this he had twice visited Iowa and pur-
chased several thousand acres of land, which was
the foundation of his now ample fortune.

Endowed by nature with a strong and acute in-
tellect, trained under legal teachers distinguished
for ability and enthusiasm, and inspired from his
early years with strong ambition, he devoted him-
self to his practice as soon as he had completed his
professional studies. He has pursued his chosen
coifrse with untiring zeal and with a success which
has already earned him no inferior rank among the
leading lawyers of the land. He practiced success-
ively in the firms of Samuels and Cooley ; Samuels,
Cooleyand Allison; and Cooley, Blatchley and
Adams, until 1864, when he was appointed by Pres-
ident Lincoln as commissioner to South Carolina.
Here he, with his associates, took possession and
sold to the Union soldiers and freedmen the islands
and so much of the country as was in our lines,
putting over half a million dollars into the treasury
of the United States. He acted at the same time as
special commissioner to settle titles and the right to
possession of the city of Charleston. In July, 1865,
he was appointed by President Johnson as commis-
sioner of Indian affairs, which office he held until
September, 1866, and for political reasons resigned
(he not accepting the changing " my policy " of
Johnson), it not taking effect until the following
November, when he was succeeded by the now
Senator Bogy, of Missouri. It must be said, to the
credit of Mr. Cooky's administration of Indian
affairs, that no word of adverse criticism was ever
published against it, and though others were severe-
ly criticised by the press, his management was re-
ceived with marked approval. In 1864 he was sec-
retary of the national republican committee for
Lincoln's second campaign, and took entire charge
of the " document department " of the campaign,
scattering over six millions of documents to the
army and country generally on the " war-a-failure "
issue. On his resignation of the office of commis-
sioner of Indian affairs he gave his undivided atten-
tion for four or five years to the practice of law in
Washington. While serving as commissioner of
South Carolina he gained the confidence of the

people of that state, and in the litigation of claims
which followed he had a large share, and did a very
remunerative practice before the court of claims
and the United States supreme courts, never, how-
ever, taking any case before the departments or
congress. In 1862 and 1866 he was a member of
the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal
church at Brooklyn and Baltimore, and at the for-
mer was one of the secretaries of the conference,
and distinguished himself in the active part he took
in the affairs of the Book Concern, and was chairman
on a committee (of eighty-one) on that subject.

He was elected president of the First National
Bank of Dubuque, and it is due to him perhaps
more than to any one else that it is one of the solid
institutions of the west. In 1873 he was nominated
by the republican party as state senator ; and though
the county has an average democratic majority of
from fifteen hundred to eighteen hundred, he was
elected by four hundred and ninety-nine majoritv,
and nineteen hundred and sixty ahead of Governor
Carpenter on the state ticket, in his county. This
was the only time since his residence of twenty-two
years in Dubuque he ever allowed his name to go
before the people for any office, and never mingles
in local politics. However, in 1874 he was prom-
inently spoken of for congress by his party, and re-
ceived the highest vote in the convention of any
candidate for seventy-five ballots, when Hon. Mr.
Granger was nominated and was defeated in the
election by Hon. L. L. Ainsworth, the democratic
candidate. Mr. Cooley has never been prominent
in politics, finding enough in his profession to exert
all of his energies and take up all his time. In 1873
he was appointed commissioner to the Vienna Ex-
position, and spent several months traveling' over
the continent, visiting points of interest. He has
been a strong advocate of education in the state,
and was president of the board of Cornell College,
Iowa, for several years, making it a munificent gift
of ten thousand dollars and endowing a chair in the
institution. He has given more for the encourage-
ment of education than any other man in the state.

Mr. Cooley has high and rare literary attainments,
and is one of the most generous of men. He is
called upon as often as any man in the state to de-
liver addresses, lectures, etc., for benevolent pur-
poses. Though the receipts at times are very large,
he never would accept any compensation for his
labors, and often added generously to the object of
the lecture.



He was married in September, 1850, to Miss Clara
Aldrich, a lady of high attainments.

Mr. Cooley takes great interest in the forward-
ing of agricultural pursuits, and has a large, well-
stocked farm a little distance from Dubuque. He
was elected president of the Northwestern Agricul-

tural and Mechanical Association, which office he
still holds. He has, by industry and perseverance,
built up a large business, has become wealthy, and
is distinguished throughout the country. He is in
the prime of life, is a pleasant and genial gentleman,
and has a host of friends.



JAMES GRANT was born on a plantation near
the village of Enfield, Halifax county, North
Carolina, on the 12th of December, 1812. His
father, James Grant, was the son of James Grant,
descended from the Highland clan of Grants, who
fought for the Pretender, at Culloden, and was trans-
ported for the good of King George II, with fifteen
hundred others of like rebellious proclivities, to the
colony of North Carolina. His mother, Elizabeth
Whitaker (Grant), was the daughter of Mat. C. Whit-
aker, Esq., of Halifax county. North Carolina, who
immigrated from Warwick county, Virginia, and was
a lineal descendant of the Rev. Alexander Whitaker,
who was one of the first Virginia colonists and who
baptized Pocahontas. The Whitaker family, now
very numerous in North Carolina, numbers among
its members the Hon. Mat. Whitaker Ransom,
United States senator from that state, and a cousin
pf our subject.

His father was a man of large body, six feet high,
bony and muscular. He was born to affluence, but
was left an orphan in his infancy. Like most south-
ern young men, he was not inured to labor, and
without parents to guide, and possessed of abun-
dance, he studied no profession, followed the busi-
ness of a planter and lost his estate in unfortunate
speculations before our subject was twelve years
old. The latter years of his life were devoted to the
public service, and at the time of his death he was
comptroller of the State of North Carolina.

Judge Grant was the second of a family of eight
children ; was raised on the patrimonial plantation ;
commenced going to school at the age of eight
years, having been previously taught the alphabet
by his mother. He was precocious; in ten months
he could spell every word in Walker's dictionary.
It was no trouble to him to learn, no matter what
the study. He would occupy no place in his class
but the first, and when his lessons were learned no

boy was more ready for play. He was never truant
from school or from any duty, but always wanted
his own way.

At thiiteen he was prepared for college, but in
deference to the advice of the venerable president
of the institution, who had taught his father, his
entrance was postponed for two years. In 1828 he
entered the sophomore class of Chapel-Hill Univer-
sity, having for class-mates, among others, J. D.
Hooper, Thomas Owen, Allen and Calvin Jones,
Jacob Thompson, secretary of the interior under
President Buchanan, and James M. Williamson,
now of Memphis, Tennessee. Grant was taken sick
in his senior year, but graduated with a class of thir-
teen others in 1831, while still lender eighteen years.
' After leaving college he taught school three years
at Raleigh, and emigrated to the west at the age of
twenty-one, being governed in this move partly by
his aversion to the institution of slavery.

He read law with William H. Haywood, of
Raleigh, North Carolina, who was at one time a
senator from that state. In 1834 he removed to
Chicago, Illinois, then a village of five hundred
inhabitants, where he commenced the practice of ,
his chosen profession. Shortly after his debiit at
the bar, a iist-fight about his first client brought him
into notice, and he soon acquired reputation as an
advocate. In the same year Governor Joseph Dun-
can appointed him prosecuting attorney for the sixth
district of Illinois, comprising all the northern part
of the state from Chicago to Galena, to Rock Island,
Peoria, Hennepin, La Salle and Iroquois. He trav-
eled this circuit on horseback, and rode about three
thousand miles a year. In June, 1836, he resigned
this office, finding that it interfered with his home
business. He remained in Chicago till 1838, when
it became apparent that the lake winds were detri-
mental to his health, and he removed to the then
territory of Wisconsin, selecting Davenport, in Scott



county, as his future home. In the same year con-
gress created the territory of Iowa. For some time
after his removal to the west side of the great river
he lived on a farm near Davenport, and felt disposed
to give up his practice. In 1841 he was elected a
member of the house of representatives of the fourth
territorial assembly of Iowa, to represent the dis-
trict composed of Scott and Clinton counties, his
colleague being Joseph M. Robertson. In 1844 the
people of Scott county "elected him to represent them
in the first constitutional convention, his colleagues
being Andrew W. Campbell and Ebenezer Cook ;
and in 1846 he was again sent by the people of
Scott county as their sole representative to the sec-
ond constitutional convention, and in both sessions
he drew up the bill of rights. Although a democrat
in politics, he was nominated by the territorial gov-
ernor Chambers, a whig, as prosecuting attorney in
his district, and was confirmed by the council.

After the adoption of the constitution framed in
1847, under which Iowa was admitted to the Union,
our subject was elected judge of the district com-
posed of the counties of Allamakee, Blackhawk,
Bremer, Butler, Buchanan, Cedar, Clayton, Dela-
ware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Jackson, Musca-
tine, Scott and Winnesheik, and held the office
during the term of five years, declining reelection.
In 185 1 Judge Grant gave life and vigor to the pro-
ject of the Chicago and Rock Island railroad; was
its first president and made a contract with Messrs.
Sheffield and Farnham to build it. In 1852 he was
again a member of the legislature from Scott county,
and was elected speaker of the house. Since that
time he has kept aloof from office. During the in-
tervening period he has been the head of one of the
largest and most successful law firms of the north-
west. From a statement recently made by Hon. John
F. Dillon, judge of the United States circuit court,
regarding Judge Grant's judicial and professional
career in Iowa, we make the following extracts :

Judge Grant's life has been given essentially to the law.
All outside of this has been merely accidental. His polit-
ical career and his public services, except those upon the
bench, are mere episodes in his life. Although he has kept
alive his classical attainments in a degree quite unusual
among men who have become eminent in the law, his main
energies and his chief studies have been in the line of his
profession. Early in life he discovered the advantages to
be derived from the possession of law books, which are the
most effective implements in a lawyer's vocation, and he is
the owner of perhaps the most complete and valuable pri-
vate law library in the west, if not in the United States.
It is supposed to exceed in value the sum of $30,000. . . .
To every lawyer and to every judge his library doors stand
always wide open. In illustration of his public sjlirit it is
but proper to refer here to a fact well known in Iowa.

When the legislature required a term of the supreme court
of the stale to be held semi annually in Davenport, it was
made a condition that it should be without cost to the state,
a species of economy, by the way, which has nothing to
recommend it; the better to accommodate the court and
the bar, Judge Grant fitted up a room for the use of the
court above his library and set it apart for them for several
vears, neither receiving nor expecting compensation. He
combines the essential qualities of a successful lawyer, first
among which I place integrity, without which no man can
be a great lawyer, nor for any considerable length of time
a successful one. He is incapable of conscientiously mis-
stating to a court a fact or the effect of a decision, or # con-
cealing an adverse decision. He has the zeal and courage
necessary to great success at the bar. In addition to this,
nature has gifted him with most felicitous powers of ex-
pression. In the use of strong, vigorous, pure English, it
is rare, indeed, to find one who equals him. I have heard
him make a law argument, of an hour's length, without hesi-
tating for a word, or without employing a superfluous word.
Every sentence was short, clearly cut and finely chiseled —
in its way a work of art that I have often admired.

He i.s a man of strong and tender emotions, and occasion-
ally when the subject is of such a nature as to elicit his
feelings, he is eloquent in the highest sense of the term.
This characteristic was especially manifest in his impromptu
eulogy on the lamented Stockton, pronounced at a meeting
of the bar of Scott county, and in his remarks on the death
of the late chief justice of the United States, in the circuit
court, at Des Moines, which will never be forgotten b3' any
who heard t*iem.

He has a practical sagacity, so marked as justly to entitle
it to the name of genius. It was this quality which enabled
him so early to discern that the tide of municipal railway-
aidbond litigation taken at the flood would lead on to for-
tune and to fame. He fought that battle for years. Every
inch of ground was hotly contested. The state courts were
against his views. The lower federal courts were likewise
against him, but in general he was sustained by the supreme
court of the United States; but he had to carry his points,
one by one, and the contest ext?nded through manv years.
Whatever may be thought of the legal merits of the con-
troversy in its varied phases, all agree that forjudge Grant
it was a splendid professional victory, one which has justly
given him great distinction, and a satisfaction which is not
diminished by the more substantial rewards with which it
has been attended.

Added to the accomplishments thus enumerated.
Judge Grant is a fine classical scholar, possessing a
memory which enables him to retain, not only his
early, but his later studies, and to utilize his learn-
ing with the best effect.

Few men have a better practical knowledge of
mechanics and agriculture, or acquaintance with the
wonderful achievements of modern science than he.
If his professional life had been cast in sorne of the
older states or larger cities his tastes would probably
have led him to make the laws of patents a special
study, and he would have become eminent to a
remarkable degree in that department.

The judge has been three times married. On the
8th of July, 1839, he married his first wife, Sarah E.
Hubbard, who was born within sound of the waves
of Plymouth Rock, of Puritan ancestry. She gave