History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Washington I. Babb
WASHINGTON I. BABB was born in Des Moines County, Iowa, October 2, 1844. His education was begun in the public schools and continued in the Wesleyan University at Mount Pleasant. Early in 1863 he enlisted in the Eighth Iowa Cavalry, serving with his regiment in the Army of the Cumberland until the close of the war. He took part in the Atlanta campaign, the battles of Franklin and Nashville and the Wilson expedition through Alabama and Georgia. Upon his return to Mount Pleasant, Mr. Babb reëntered the University, graduating in 1866. He studied law, was admitted to the bar and entered upon practice in 1868. He was a member of the law firm of Woolson & Babb, which for eighteen years was regarded as one of the ablest in that section of the State. Although originally a Republican, Mr. Babb differed with his party on reconstruction policy and united with the Democrats after the war. In 1883 he was elected to the House of the Twentieth General Assembly in a strong Republican county, serving as a member of the committees on judiciary and railroads. In 1890 he was chosen judge of the Second Judicial District, resuming practice upon leaving the bench in 1895. When the free silver issue became prominent Judge Babb was largely instrumental in securing the adoption of a sound money platform at the Democratic State Convention of 1895, which nominated him for Governor. In 1896 he received the Democratic vote in the General Assembly for United States Senator. He adhered to the sound money wing of the party in the campaign of 1896. Judge Babb has taken a deep interest in education, serving for more than twenty years as a trustee of the Iowa Wesleyan University, and several years as regent of the State University. The former institution has conferred upon him the degree of LL. D.