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History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/George L. Godfrey

George L. Godfrey - History of Iowa.jpg

GEORGE L. GODFREY was born on the 4th of November, 1833, in Orleans County, Vermont. In the fall of 1855, he came to Iowa, stopping at Dubuque, where he engaged in school teaching, and in 1859 took up his permanent residence in Des Moines. He began his law studies with Judge C. C. Cafe and was admitted to the bar just before the War of the Rebellion In May, 1861, he enlisted in Company D, of the famous Second Iowa Volunteer Infantry and in December was promoted to second lieutenant and in June, 1862, became first lieutenant and adjutant of the regiment. He served with distinction in the great battles of Fort Donelson and Shiloh, and marching to Corinth with Grant's army he bore a conspicuous part in the two days' desperate battle in that famous town, having two horses shot under him. When the First Alabama Cavalry was organized from Union men Captain Godfrey was commissioned major, in 1863, and was soon after promoted to lieutenant-colonel. In this regiment he served with distinction in Sherman's famous march to the sea. At the close of the war he was mustered out with his regiment at Huntsville, Alabama. Before his return to Iowa Colonel Godfrey was elected a member of the House of the Eleventh General Assembly on the Republican ticket. In the spring of 1866 he completed his law course at the State University at Iowa City and began the practice of his profession. He served as city solicitor and assistant United States District Attorney for several years. In 1876 he was one of the presidential electors chosen by the Republicans. In 1870 he was appointed receiver of the United States Land Office at Des Moines. In 1882, upon the creation of the Utah Commission, Colonel Godfrey was appointed a member. The object of the Commission was the suppression of polygamy in the Territory. The Commission consisted of five members appointed by the President, was non-partisan and had supervision of all elections. The membership was changed from time to time, with the exception of Colonel Godfrey who served during three administrations and was for four years president of the Commission. When the Commission was established to superintend the erection of monuments on the battle-field of Shiloh, Governor Shaw appointed Colonel Godfrey one of the members. In 1903 he was appointed surveyor of the port of Des Moines.