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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory


Biographical Sketches

History of Iowa


CALEB H. BOOTH, one of the pioneers of Dubuque, was born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, on the 25th of December, 1814.  At the age of seventeen he began to study law and was admitted to the bar in 1836.  In July of that year he came west and located in the frontier village of Dubuque, then in Michigan Territory, of which he was the first mayor.  In 1841 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Iowa Territory.  In 1849 he was appointed Surveyor General for Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  In 1857 he was chosen treasurer of the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad Company in which he was largely interested.  He built the first flouring mill in Dubuque in 1848 and was extensively engaged in lead mining.  As one of the Iowa State Bank Commissioners he helped to establish the branches.  In 1872 he was elected to the State Legislature.  He died at his home in Dubuque on the 19th of June, 1898, after a residence in the city of sixty-two years.
ARIEL K. EATON, one of the lawmakers of Iowa, was born at Sutton, New Hampshire, on the 1st of December, 1813.  His education was acquired in the public schools and for several years he was a teacher.  In 1841 he located at Winchester, Indiana, where he was elected county auditor.  He was admitted to the bar and for several years practiced law.  In 1846 he removed to Delaware County, Iowa, where he built the second log cabin in the new town of Delhi.  He was soon elected prosecuting attorney and afterwards county judge.  In 1850 he was elected a representative in the Third General Assembly and was chairman of the committee on schools.  He was reelected to the Fourth General Assembly which enacted the Code of 1851.  Upon the establishment of the new United States Land Office at Decorah in 1855,  Mr. Eaton was appointed by President Pierce receiver of public money.  In 1856 the Land Office was removed to Osage and Mr. Eaton made the place his permanent home.  After his retirement from office and the practice of law, General Eaton for many years contributed valuable historical articles to the press.  He died July 14, 1896.
WILLARD L. EATON is a native of Iowa, having been born at Delhi in Delaware County, October 13, 1848.  He is a graduate of the Law Department of the  State University, and began the practice of  the Law at Osage in Mitchell County, in 1874.  Mr. Eaton is the son of Hon. A. K. Eaton who was one of the prominent pioneer lawmakers of Iowa, and Long a leader in the Democratic Party.  W. L. Eaton has been three terms mayor of Osage, and county attorney.  In politics he is a Republican and in 1897 was elected to represent his county in the House of the Twenty-seventh  General Assembly.  He was reelected to the twenty-eighth General Assembly  and became a prominent candidate for speaker, but not being chosen was made chairman of the committee of ways and means.  He was again elected, serving in the twenty-ninth General Assembly as Speaker of the House.
WILLIAM W. HAMILTON was a native of England and located at Dubuque, upon his arrival in America, in 1845.  He was a good lawyer and took a deep interest in all public affairs, including education and politics.  In 1849 he was elected probate judge of Dubuque County, serving in that capacity until 1852, when the probate business was, by the new Code, turned over to the county judges of the several counties.  In 1854 Judge Hamilton was elected to the State Senate from the northeastern district which consisted of the counties of Dubuque, Delaware, Buchanan, Black Hawk, Grundy, Butler, Bremer, Clayton, Fayette, Allamakee, Winneshiek, Howard, Mitchell, Floyd and Chickasaw.  Before the meeting of the Sixth General Assembly, the senatorial district had been divided and the counties of Dubuque and Delaware  made the Thirty-first District, from which Judge Hamilton was chosen to the Senate  for four years.  At the convening of the Sixth General Assembly, the Democrats were in a minority in the Senate and Judge Hamilton, who was a Whig, was elected president.  He was a popular and able presiding officer and when the General Assembly was organizing many new counties and deciding upon their names, the rare compliment was extended to the presiding officer, of giving his name to the new county taken from the old county of Webster.  In the meantime, before the next General Assembly was chosen, the new Constitution of 1857 was framed and adopted and new districts arranged, so that Judge Hamilton, with others, was thrown out, having served but half the time for which he had been chosen.

RODNEY W. TIRRILL was a native of New Hampshire, born at Colebrook, December 22, 1835.  To a public school education was added a course in Wisconsin University, after which he studied law, and as he was to enter upon practice the Civil War began and Mr. Tirrill enlisted in Company F, Twelfth Iowa Infantry.  He was in the battles of Fort Donelson and Shiloh, and at the latter was so severely wounded that he was obliged to leave the service.  After his recovery he was elected superintendent of schools in Delaware County and in 1879 was elected on the Republican ticket to the State Senate, serving in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth General Assemblies.  he was the author of a bill requiring packages of oleomargarine to be plainly labeled as such, and in the face of powerful opposition secured its passage.  It is believed that this was the first law of the kind enacted in the United States.  Senator Tirrill served on many important committees and exercised a large degree of influence on the legislation of the two sessions during his term.  In 1898 Mr. Tirrill was Department Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic of Iowa.


~ Transcribed by Debbie Clough Gerischer