Open main menu

History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Phineas M. Casady

Phineas M. Casady - History of Iowa.jpg
[P M Casady]


PHINEAS M. CASADY was born in Connersville in Indiana, December 3, 1818. He acquired a liberal education, studied law and was admitted to the bar. In 1846 he came to the new State of Iowa, traveling westward over its wild prairies to Fort Des Moines then on the Indian frontier. He was appointed by President Polk the first postmaster of the future Capital of Iowa. He opened a law office and soon procured his share of the legal business of the vicinity. In 1847 he was elected school fund commissioner with custody of the school money. In 1848 he was nominated by the Democrats for State Senator in an immense district embracing the counties of Polk, Dallas, Jasper, Marion and all of the unorganized region north and west to the Missouri River. He was elected and took his seat in the Second General Assembly. In looking over the map of the State he observed that nearly one-half of its territory was unnamed. He at once determined to prepare a bill providing for its divisions into counties. The bill was referred to the committee on new counties of which he was a member. He gave much time to this bill as there was a wide difference of opinion as to names. The differences were finally harmonized and forty new counties were created and named. It was by far the most important act of the Second General Assembly and the name of Senator P. M. Casady became imperishably associated with one of the most interesting events of Iowa history. A paper of great value was prepared in 1894 by Judge Casady for the Pioneer Lawmakers' Association giving an account of the incidents which led to the naming of these counties. In 1854 Mr. Casady was elected Judge of the Fifth District. Soon after he was appointed Receiver of the United States Land Office by President Pierce. In 1872 he was elected one of the regents of the State University, serving four years. He was one of the founders of the Pioneer Lawmakers' Association and has contributed many valuable historical articles for its publications. For nearly a quarter of a century he has been president of the Des Moines Saving Bank.