First Court Term

Source: Iowa State Reporter, Waterloo: May 26, 1875, Page 8


The first Court ever held in Blackhawk [sic] county was a term of the District Court commencing at Cedar Falls, then the county seat, on June 27, 1854. There were present HON. T. S. WILSON JUDGE, JOHN VIRDEN, SHERIFF, and LUTHER L. PEASE, CLERK. The court proceedings were transacted in the school house then standing on the block now occupied by the Baptist Church, but the county officers were in the building now occupied by Picton & Landgraf.

The first petit jury consisted of Jesse SHIMER, James HAMPTON, Thomas R. POINTS, Joseph BOWN, Zimri STREETER, J. D.DEWEY, Wm. H. VIRDEN, J.C. HUBBARD and Myron SMITH. Only three of the above are now residents of the county, but all are living except Hubbard and Virden.

There were six cases on the docket, and five were settled and dismissed, and one continued, which made it exceedingly pleasant for the jury. Among other proceedings W. H. McCLURE was admitted to practice as an attorney, on motion of D.S. WILSON, our present District Judge.

The next term was held at Cedar Falls, commencing on March 26, 1855. The first grand jury, empaneled at this term, were Benjamin KNAPP, Nelson FANCHER, Pleasam MORRIS, Samuel L.. MAY, D. W. JORDAN, E. G. YOUNG, John WILSON, Henry GIPE, Stephen EVANS, M. S. OXLEY, Jesse SHINNER, James BARCLAY and Michael BUMING. J. Ackerson TAYLOR and Jacob BERRY were not served, and D. W. JORDAN was excused. Wm. FISHER, C. H. WILSON, R. P. SPEER, L. I. PEASE, B. F. WHITE and Henry SHERMAN were summoned to the panel.

S. H. PACKARD and S. W. RAWSON were admitted in practice, on motion of W. H. McCLURE.

The first criminal case was the State of Iowa vs. JOHN M. COWEN, who was arrested for larceny committed in Waterloo. Cowen came here with horses for sale, and while here indulged in a little private speculation by breaking into the store of B. J. CAPWELL & CO., and stealing a shop bag partially filled with silver, and a bead purse with a number of bills of various denomination. He was held to bail for the crime, deposited the amount himself, and left for parts unknown.

The FIRST DECLARATION OF INTENTION TO BECOME A CITIZEN of these United States was made by Walter McNALLY, and the first citizen naturalized was ANDREW H. KENNEDY, a native of Scotland.

The first Court in Waterloo was held Sept. 25, 1855. The officers were T. S. WILSON, Judge, Morrison BAILEY, Clerk, B. F. THOMAS Sheriff and S. W. RAWSON, Prosecuting Attorney. The term was held in Capwell’s Hall, which was then unfinished, and the seats for spectators consisted of boards placed on nail kegs and other temporary contrivances.