Iowa Genealogy

Iowa Genealogy is being developed as a genealogical and historical resource for your personal use. It contains information and records for Iowa ancestry, family history, and genealogy. Specifically, it provides sources for birth records, death records, marriage records, census records, tax records, court records, and military records. It also provides some historical details about different times and people in Iowa history.

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Biography of Judge Chester C. Cole

Chester C. Cole was born on June 24, 1824, in Oxford, New York. Of English ancestry, recognized in Burke’s Registry, he spent his early years on a farm, attended public schools and Oxford Academy, and worked as a store clerk before entering Union College at eighteen. Graduating from Harvard Law School in 1848, he practiced law in Marion, Kentucky, achieving prominence in criminal law. Moving to Des Moines in 1857, Cole was elected Associate Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court in 1864 and later became Chief Justice. An advocate for the Union during the Civil War, he also founded the…
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Biography of Daniel Trullinger

Daniel Trullinger, born in Ohio in 1818, was a pioneering settler of Polk County and Des Moines. Arriving at Fort Raccoon in June 1843, he established a brick-making operation crucial to the early development of the military camp. Trullinger and his uncle produced bricks for constructing buildings for soldiers and officers. After contributing significantly to the fort’s infrastructure, he returned to Fairfield before finally settling near his brother in Franklin Township. Trullinger later ventured to Colorado during the gold rush, eventually returning to Iowa to retire in Des Moines. Politically, he was a staunch Democrat and active in community education.
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Biography of Wiley C. Burton

Wiley C. Burton was an early settler and influential figure in Des Moines, opening a store on Second Street and actively participating in the town’s affairs. Elected to the Town Council in 1855, he also co-built the first brick building on Third and Walnut streets, the Exchange Block, in 1855. Burton was a key player in the heated 1856 debate over the State Capitol’s location, advocating for the West Side. Later, he served as Street Commissioner in 1867 and was involved in civic improvements. Politically, Burton was a Whig and later joined the Know-Nothing Party. He resided in South Dakota…
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Biography of John M. Davis

John M. Davis, born in Ohio, ventured westward in 1854, eventually becoming a prominent figure in Iowa’s state administration. In 1857, he played a crucial role in relocating state archives from Iowa City to Des Moines. Davis served as Deputy to the Secretary of State and later as Deputy and Chief Clerk in the State Land Office, contributing significantly to land grant management and legal documentation. His integrity and dedication spanned over thirty-eight years in public service, shaping Iowa’s early governmental framework. Davis’ prudent financial decisions led him to establish a lasting residence in Des Moines.
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Biography of John L. Smith

John L. Smith, a native of Cazenovia, New York, became a notable figure in early Fort Des Moines after joining the American Fur Company and working extensively with Native American tribes. He moved to Des Moines in 1854, building a home near Eighth and Walnut streets, later known for its hospitality and as a political hub. Smith engaged in various business ventures, including a general store, marble business, and a grocery store. He also served as an Indian Agent. Smith’s legacy includes his contributions to the community’s moral and educational development, his active role in the Old Settlers’ Association, and…
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Biography of Judge George G. Wright

George G. Wright, born in Indiana and crippled by rheumatism in childhood, found solace in books and graduated with honors from the State University. Moving to Iowa in 1840, he quickly became a prominent lawyer and politician. He served as Prosecuting Attorney, State Senator, and for fifteen years as Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, where he helped shape the state’s judiciary. Wright also co-founded the Iowa Law School and served as a U.S. Senator. His civic contributions included roles in the State Agricultural Society and various banks. Wright passed away in 1896, leaving a legacy of legal and…
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Biography of Elijah Canfield

Elijah Canfield, a Pennsylvanian by birth, settled in Polk County, Iowa, in 1845, establishing a farm on the prairie in Democrat Township, later renamed Camp Township. Building a log cabin, he quickly became a community leader, organizing the first Methodist Church and school district. In 1847, he moved to Four Mile Township, constructing its first schoolhouse. Facing challenges like wolves, rattlesnakes, and epidemics, Canfield remained resilient. In 1850, he relocated to Clay Township, creating one of the finest farms in the county and continuing his civic contributions. Known for his integrity and public spirit, Canfield was a prominent figure in…
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Biography of Judge Charles C. Nourse

Charles Clinton “Charley” Nourse, a Maryland native and lawyer, significantly impacted Iowa’s public affairs. Graduating from Transylvania University in 1850, he moved to Iowa, becoming Van Buren County’s Prosecuting Attorney. He served in key roles in Iowa’s legislative bodies and was deeply involved in the early Republican Party’s establishment. Elected Attorney General in 1860, he resolved complex state financial issues and participated in notable political conventions. Nourse was also a prominent advocate for prohibition and temperance, and an active Methodist. Later in life, he retired due to vision problems, residing at his Fern Hill farm near Des Moines.
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Biography of Guy K. Ayers

Guy K. Ayres, born in Ohio, moved to Iowa in 1843 with his family, eventually settling in Des Moines in 1845. They initially stayed with W.H. Meacham and later lived in soldiers’ quarters at Fort Des Moines. Ayres worked as a tailor at the fort until 1846, then took up various jobs including farming and milling. His father claimed land in what is now central Des Moines, leading to conflicts over land ownership. Ayres pursued education intermittently while helping on the family farm. Later, he became involved in milling and other enterprises across Iowa and beyond, eventually retiring comfortably in…
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Biography of Rev. Isaiah Martin Thorp Cory

The Cory family were early pioneers of Polk County, Iowa, arriving in 1846 from Elkhart County, Indiana. They settled in what was then Skunk Township and named Cory’s Grove, a notable timber area, after them. Isaiah Martin Thorp Cory, arriving at age nine, grew up amid the hardships of pioneer life, including severe winters and interactions with local Native American tribes. The Corys played a pivotal role in the formation of Elkhart Township in 1848. Isaiah became a respected community leader, serving in various township roles and as a minister, and contributed significantly to local development and social improvement.
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