IAGenWeb logo

Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory

George W. Dunham



     Judge George W. Dunham, occupying the bench of the tenth judicial district and long known as an able and learned member of the Delaware county bar, was born in Jones county, Iowa, January 13, 1857. His father, Francis W. Dunham, was a native of Bakersfield, Vermont, born July 20, 1830. In 1855 he came to the west, settling on Bowen's Prairie, in Jones county, Iowa, where he remained until 1856. He then came to Delaware county with a little colony which started a settlement where the town of Almoral now stands. The school was established there and Mr. Dunham engaged as teacher. Later he removed to Earlville, where he continued teaching for two years, after which he became principal of the public schools of Manchester, remaining at the head of the educational system of this city for three years. In the fall of 1867 he was elected county superintendent, resigning his position as principal to accept the office. He entered upon the duties of the position on the 1st of January, 1868, but was then in delicate health and death had already marked him as a victim, he passing away on the 7th of the same month. His wife, Mrs. Ann M. Dunham, was born in Bakersfield, Vermont, December 17, 1835. Several years after the death of her first husband, or on the 4th of November, 1875, she became the wife of E. Cummings Sanborn. By the first marriage there were three children: George W.; Mary, who died in childhood; and Laura E., who married Charles H. Barrett of Vermilion, South Dakota.

Judge Dunham has spent practically his entire life in Delaware county. His preliminary education was acquired in the public schools of Manchester and later he attended the State University at Iowa City. In preparation for a professional career he became a law student in the office and under the direction, of A. S. Blair, a practicing attorney of Manchester, and afterward entered the law department of the State University, from which he was graduated in June, 1879. He soon returned to Manchester, where he entered into partnership with his former preceptor, a fact which indicates the excellent record which he had made in his student days for reliability and trustworthiness as well as for devotion to his chosen calling. The partnership relation continued for a number of years.

      On the 6th of February, 1890, Judge Dunham was appointed postmaster of Manchester and while discharging the duties of that position continued also in the practice of law. Afterward a third partner was admitted to the firm under the style of Blair, Dunham & Norris and when the senior partner was elected to the bench the remaining two partners were joined by a third under the firm name of Dunham, Norris & Stiles. This connection was continued until 1912, after which time Judge Dunham practiced alone. His power in the courts naturally led to his selection for judicial honors when in March, 1913, it devolved upon Governor Clark to appoint some one to fill the vacancy on the bench of the tenth judicial district caused by the resignation of Judge Ransier. Judge Dunham was

Judge George W. Dunham

chosen and is now acting in that capacity and his decisions are characterized by a masterful grasp of every problem presented for solution. He also served as a member of the twenty eighth and twenty ninth general assembly and as a member of the senate, representing Delaware and Buchanan counties, in the thirtieth, thirty first and thirty second sessions. During the thirty second session he served as chairman of the committee which compiled the code supplement (1907) codifying the laws of the state enacted after the adoption of the code of 1897 and annotating the entire statutes.
    On the 9th of October, 1884, Judge Dunham was united in marriage to Miss Effie May Blair, a daughter of his old law partner, Judge Blair, and they have become the parents of three children: Francis, who wedded Josephine Lehn; Harold, who married Bessie McGee and has a little daughter, Jean Elizabeth; and Laura, a student in Oberlin College of Oberlin, Ohio. The family is a prominent one in Manchester and throughout Delaware county, the members of the household occupying a leading position in social circles. The name of Dunham has also long been associated with movements for the upbuilding and benefit of city and county and in a profession where advancement depends entirely upon individual merit and ability Judge Dunham has gained more than local distinction.



~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 392-395.  Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.

~transcribed and contributed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


Return to Delaware County