Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick


According to Richard C. Liggett, many legal representatives came from Keosauqua. "More prominent lawyers and jurists have come from Van Buren County than from any other county in the state," he said (Annals of Iowa July, 1945-April, 1946.)

Among the judges that came from Keosauqua were Judge William Walker, Judge Robert Sloan, Judge Joseph C. Knapp, Judge C.C. Cole and Judge George C. Wright. In 1865 Cole and Wright established the first law school west of the Mississippi River in the city of Des Moines. Three years later it was moved to Iowa City and became the law school of the University of Iowa.

One of the most famous, however, was Henry Clay Caldwell. Caldwell was admitted to the bar in 1851. Before the Civil War, he was County Attorney and became a member of the Iowa State Legislature. He enlisted and became Colonel of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry.

After the war, Colonel Caldwell was appointed judge of the United States District Court of Arkansas, and in 1890 he became judge of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Caldwell retired in 1903.

Integrity, values and a sense of justice endeared Caldwell to the people of Arkansas. He enjoyed an unusual amount of popularity for a northerner in a southern state. He was seriously considered as a candidate for President in 1896 and for Vice-President in 1900, but both times Judge Caldwell refused to abandon his judicial position.

- -
Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick