IAGenWeb Join Our Team

This page was last

updated on 10/26/2011


Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1480~


Willard J. Ainsworth



Willard Joseph Ainsworth was born in West Union, Fayette county, Iowa, December 27, 1870. He is the fourth son of Lucian L. and Margaret E. (McCool) Ainsworth. His father being a native of New Woodstock, New York, and coming to Iowa in 1855. And his mother coming originally from the state of Pennsylvania.


"Joe" Ainsworth was one of a family of five children, who grew up together and were educated in the town of West Union. He graduated from the West Union high school in the spring of 1887 and shortly after went to New Hampton as a clerk in the postoffice, where he remained about a year. In September, 1888. he enrolled as a freshman in Upper Iowa University at Fayette and completed the four-year scientific course and graduated with credit in the class of 1891. Soon after his graduation he went to Oelwein where he read law with George H. Phillips and practiced some in justice courts. In the winter of 1892 he was made a committee clerk in the state Senate at Des Moines and served during the entire session of the twenty-fourth General Assembly. From there he went to the State University at Iowa City and enrolled in the spring term as a law student. He applied himself diligently to his law studies and in June, 1893, received the degree of Bachelor of Laws and was admitted to practice in the state and federal courts. Coming back home, he at once became the junior member of the law firm of Ainsworth, Hobson & Ainsworth. Mr. Hobson being elected judge of the district court in the fall of 1895, left father and son practicing as one firm in the offices over the postoffice.


Shortly after his father's death in April, 1902, Mr. Ainsworth became senior member of the firm of Ainsworth, Dykins & Estey, from which Mr. Dykins retired in December, 1903. Mr. Estey retired in January, 1906. Mr. Ainsworth practiced alone until January, 1908, when a partnership was formed with C. B. Hughes, with offices over the Fayette County National Bank, and under the name of Ainsworth & Hughes. Mr. Ainsworth had long been local attorney for the Chicago Great Western Railway Company, and in February, 1908, was called to St. Paul, Minnesota, to fill the position of assistant general attorney of that company, and in charge of the personal injury department.  He preformed the arduous duties of a "railroad lawyer" in a highly creditable manner until April, 1909, when the railway company being in the hands of a receiver and its future somewhat uncertain, he resigned his position and moved back to West Union to enter the general practice in the partnership formed in 1908.  Upon the reorganization of the Chicago Great Western Railway Company in 1909, he became local attorney for the new company and holds the position at the present time.  During his legal career, he has held the office of city attorney and for a number of years has been the legal member of the commissioners of insanity for Fayette county.


As a lawyer, measured along the lines of natural ability, industry, fearlessness, fairness and integrity, Mr. Ainsworth now stands among the leaders of the Iowa bar. He numbers among his clients many of the stronger financial interests of the county and enjoys to a marked degree the good will and confidence of the large number of people to whom he is known. As a counselor he is careful, conscientious, thorough, and strives to discharge litigation when it can be avoided.  In the trail court, he adheres closely to the real merits of his cause and presents the issues with clearness and force. It should be said, however, that one of the principal reasons for his success as a lawyer, is the absolute honesty and trustworthiness in his private and professional life, and this exceptional quality, added to his natural and developed talents, well equips him for an increasing success and a useful and honored career in his chosen work.


Mr. Ainsworth has given considerable attention to the welfare of the Fayette County Savings Bank, having served on its board of directors a number of years and now holding the office of vice-president. As a fraternalist he has given much time and is a member of Arbor Vitae Camp No. 292, Modern Woodmen of America, and of West Union Lodge No. 69, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, having been made a Master Mason at the age of twenty-one and filling a number of the responsible stations in the lodge. He is a member of Ansel Humphrey Chapter No. 80, Royal Arch Masons, at Fayette, and affiliated with Langridge Commandery No. 47, Knights Templar at West Union. In July, 1908, he became a noble of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in Osman Temple, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Master of the Royal Secret of the Thirty-second Degree, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, in Zarephath Consistory, Davenport, Iowa, in March, 1910.


Mr. Ainsworth was united in marriage with Mabel Thorne at Youngstown, Ohio, on November 30, 1899. Mrs. Ainsworth was born and educated in Ohio and is the daughter of John F. and Betsey (Jacobs) Thorne, her father being a soldier of the Civil war.  She is a member of West Union Chapter No. 110, Order of the Eastern Star, and of the Daughters of the American Revolution. To them have been born three children, Josephine, aged ten years, Philip, who died December 14, 1906, at the age of six months, and Sallie Belle, born August 30, 1909.  Mr. and Mrs. Ainsworth own a beautiful home on South Vine street and add much to the social, civic, and literary life of the city in which they reside.



~transcribed by CMD for Fayette county IAGenWeb (Oct 2011)