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Sever, Preston L.


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 6/13/2021 at 17:40:06

born Mar 18, 1861, Iowa

Colonel Preston L. Sever, a prominent attorney of Stuart, Iowa, who has won distinction at the bar by a skill and ability that has made him a place in the front rank of the legal profession, claims Iowa as the State of his nativity. He was born in Warren county, in the town of New Virginia, March 18, 1861, a son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Clinton) Sever. His father was a contractor and builder in early life and through industry and enterprise won a considerable capital, which he invested in land. He then retired from work at his trade and gave his attention to the superintendence of his extensive landed interests. He was born in Warren county, Ohio, 1823, and his wife was born in the same county in 1826. They were married in their native State and in 1849 emigrated to Warren county, Iowa, where they lived for four years. In 1863 they went to Illinois, becoming residents of Cambridge, Henry county, which was their place of abode until 188,5 when they came to Stuart, Iowa. Here the father died January 30, 1894, while the mother lives in the family of our subject. In connection with him she owns about one thousand acres of valuable farming land in the vicinity of Stuart. Colonel Preston L. was their only child. He was educated in the city schools of Cambridge, Illinois, and was graduated at the high school at that place with the class of 1879. The same fall he entered the collegiate department of the Iowa State University, completing the classical course in 1883. Following his graduation he entered a law office in Cambridge, pursuing his studies there until admitted to practice in the district court of Scott county, Iowa, May 27, 1884. On the 7th of October following he was admitted to practice in the supreme court of the State, and as a mark of special distinction Colonel Sever also holds a certificate of qualification as a practicing attorney in the supreme court of the United States of America. This was granted on the 22d of April, 1892. Mr. Sever received another mark of distinction in 1886 in the granting, by the Iowa State University, of a diploma with the degree of Master of Arts, his former degree having been Bachelor of Science. He is a man of marked ability as an attorney and orator, a clear, concise and forcible speaker, logical reasoner and an earnest advocate. He came to Stuart in 1885, and at once Sever began practice which he continued alone until 1890, when he formed a partnership with C. W. Neal, Esq., which continued until December, 1894. It was then dissolved by mutual consent, Mr. Neal forming a partnership with his son, while Colonel Sever again opened an office of his own. He has an elegant suite of rooms, supplied with a very fine law library, and is enjoying an extensive and constantly increasing practice.
Colonel Sever also demonstrated a marked military character, in that he was the prize-winner of the State of Iowa on competitive drill. He takes quite an active part in political affairs and has three times served as a member of the State executive committee of three who managed the Republican campaign. His oratorical ability makes his services in demand as a political speaker and he is a valued worker in his party. He was for four years a member of Governor Larrabee's staff, holding the rank of Colonel, and has been prominently identified with every movement calculated to enhance the interest of his county or State. The lady who now bears the name of Mrs. Sever was in her maidenhood Miss Fanny Mann, a native of Guthrie county, Iowa. She was educated in the Lake Forest University of Chicago, and their marriage was celebrated in Ontario, California, in 1889. The Colonel is very prominent in social circles and is one of the leading members of the Masonic fraternity in the State. He is a member of Token Lodge, No. 304, A. F. & A. M.; Damascus Chapter, No. 97, R. A. M.; Alhambra Commandery, No. 58, K.T.; Des Moines Consistory, No 3; and has attained to the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite. He was president of the Board of Directors at the time of the construction of the Masonic Temple of Stuart, the magnificent structure which was erected at a cost of more than $23,000. Colonel Sever is a practical man of affairs. In addition to his other business interests, he is a director of the First National Bank of Stuart, and his capable management and executive ability have won him prosperity. Source: A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa, Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1896, vol.1, p.312


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