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History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Chester C. Cole

Chester C. Cole - History of Iowa.jpg
[C. C. Cole]


CHESTER C. COLE was born in Chenango County, New York, June 4, 1824. He prepared for college at Oxford Academy and at the age of eighteen entered the junior class of Union College, afterwards taking the law course at Harvard University. Going to Frankfort, Kentucky, he reported the legislative proceedings for a daily paper. He was admitted to the bar of Crittenden County and there entered upon the practice of his profession, in which he soon attained high rank. In May, 1857, he removed to Des Moines, and soon became one of the most successful lawyers of the Capital City. In 1859 he was the Democratic candidate for judge of the Supreme Court but was defeated. In 1860 he was nominated by the Democrats of the Second District, which then embraced the south half of the State, for Representative in Congress but was defeated by Samuel R. Curtis, Republican. When the attack was made by Rebels of South Carolina on Fort Sumter, Mr. Cole was one of the first of the prominent Democrats to declare for the Union and urge the cooperation of men of all parties in support of the Government. Failing to bring about such a patriotic stand on part of his Democratic associates he left his party with such men as Governor N. B. Baker, R. G. Kellogg, Cyrus Bussey and M. M. Crocker and united with the Republicans in support of the administration of Abraham Lincoln. In February, 1864, Mr. Cole was appointed by Governor Stone judge of the Supreme Court, to which position he was elected by the people in November for a full term of six years and was reëlected, serving until January 13, 1876, when he resigned. He became Chief Justice in January, 1870. Judge Cole was one of the most active promoters of the Soldiers' Orphans' Home and in 1865 was associated with Judge Wright in establishing a law school at Des Moines which was afterwards moved to and became the Law Department of the State University at Iowa City. Judge Cole was for several years editor of the Western Jurist. He was also editor of a new edition of Iowa Law Reports. As a lawyer he has long ranked among the ablest of the State.