JUDGE William H. SEEVERS, b. 8Apr1822


from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906

When the history of Iowa and her public men shall have been written Judge W. H. Seevers will be numbered among her illustrious citizens, for he had a distinguished career as a member of the bar and of the supreme court of the state. Following his retirement from the office of chief justice of Iowa he resumed the practice of law in Oskaloasa. He was one of the pioneer residents of Mahaska county and was born in Shenandoah county, Virginia, April 8, 1822, a son of James and Rebecca (Wilkins) Seevers. In his youth he resided in Frederick and afterward in Clarke county, Virginia, where he entered upon the study of law. He came to Oskaloosa, June 22, 1844, and continued a resident of this city to the time of his death. He pursued the study of law under the direction of Milton T. Peters and was admitted to the bar in the district court of Mahaska county in 1846. He at once entered upon the practice of his profession as a partner of William T. Smith, which connection continued until 1852. He was subsequently associated with his brother James under the firm name of William H. & James A. Seevers and several years later M. T. Williams, now deceased, was admitted to a partnership under the firm name of Seevers, Williams & Seevers. When James A. Seevers entered the United States service at the time of the Civil war the firm style of Seevers & Williams was adopted and several years later the partnership was dissolved, at which time Mr. Seevers became associated with M. E. Cutts. now deceased. This connection continued until 1876, when Judge Seevers was elected to the supreme bench of Iowa. For many years he had figured prominently in public life. He was elected to the general assembly of Iowa in 1847 and again in 1875, but resigned during his second term in 1876 upon his appointment to the supreme bench of the state. He had been elected and served as county attorney in 1850 and 1851 and in the spring of 1852 was chosen judge of the third judicial district of Iowa. He served upon the bench for four years and his record as a judge was in harmony with his record as a man and lawyer, distinguished by a masterful grasp of every problem presented for solution and by strict and unswerving devotion to duty. Called to the highest tribunal of the state, he served for thirteen years on the supreme bench of Iowa and during two years of that time was chief justice. His service on the bench was distinguished by the highest legal ability. To wear tbe ermine worthily it is not enough that one possess legal acumen, is learned in the principles of jurisprudence, familiar with precedence and thoroughly honest. Many men, even when acting uprightly, are wholly unable to divest themselves of prejudice and are unconsciously warped in their judgments by their own mental characteristics or educational peculiarities. This unconscious and variable disturbing force enters more or less into the judgments of all men, but in the ideal jurist this factor becomes so small as not to be discernible in results and loses its potency as a disturbing force. Judge Severs was exceptionally free from all judicial bias. His varied legal learning and wide experience in the courts, the patient care with which he ascertained all of the facts bearing upon every case which came before him, gave his decisions a solidity and exhaustiveness for which no members of the bar could take exception. Judge Seevers was prominently identified with the educational interests of Oskaloosa and with various interests bearing directly upon the welfare and progress of the city. He took an active part in the organization of the Iowa Central Railroad Company, served as a member of its board of directors for many years and was at one time vice president. He was also a stockholder in the Mahaska County Savings Bank and in the Oskaloosa National Bank, acting as president of the latter for a number of years. He took an active interest in the development of the coal resources of the county and was a stockholder and director of two local companies formed for this purpose: Judge Seevers was married in Oskaloosa, February 20, 1849, to Caroline M. Lee, a native of Ohio, who died in 1903. By this marriage there were born seven children. Virginia E. became the wife of Henry L. Briggs and died in 1881, leaving a daughter. Carrie L. is the wife of James C. Fletcher, a real-estate dealer of Chandler, Oklahoma, by whom she has two children. Harry W. was married in 1887, to Stella M. Wilson, a daughter of Rezin and Amelia (Baer) Wilson. His wife was born and reared in Oskaloosa and they have one child, Grace, now thirteen years of age. Grace Seevers is the wife of Charles V. Hoffmann and has two children. Nell Seevers is the wife of William H. Kalbach, a hardware merchant of Oskaloosa, and has two children. William H.Seevers is a merchant of Altus, Olkahoma, and has two children. All of the members of this family were born in Oskaloosa. After retiring from the supreme bench Judge Seevers resumed the practice of law in Oskaloosa. He continued to make his home in this city until his death, at which time the state mourned the loss of one of its representative and honored men. No man was ever more respected, ever more fully enjoyed the confidence of the people or more richly deserved the esteem in which he was held. In his life time, the people of his state, recognizing his merit, rejoiced in his advancement and in the honors which he attained and since his death they have cherished his memory.. In his private live he was distinguished by all that marks the true gentleman and in his public career he displayed the profound legal wisdom and the quiet dignity of an ideal follower of his calling.

Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa

Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy

Iowa Genealogy

Home Page