Collection Dates: 1850 -- 1894
.75 linear ft.
This document describes a collection of materials held
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Posted to Internet: [Date:November 1998
Acquisition Note: The papers of James W. McDill were given to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1965, by Mrs. Narcissa L. Palmer, Mrs. Jessie M. Page, and Mrs. Ruth E. Scullen with an additional gift in 1998, by Phyllis Mapes.
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James Wilson McDill was born in Monroe, Ohio, on March 4, 1834. He graduated from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) in 1853, and spent the following year teaching school in Kossuth, Iowa. McDill returned to Ohio to study law in the office of Galloway and Mathews. He was subsequently admitted to the bar in 1856. Moving back to Iowa, McDill settled in Afton, Union County. There he established his legal practice and became active in the community. He was elected superintendent of schools for Union County in 1859 and the following year he became a county judge. When Iowa's Governor Grimes was elected to the Senate, McDill accompanied him to Washington, D.C., where he became a clerk. From 1862 to 1865, McDill worked as a clerk in the Treasury Office where much of his time was spent in the Division of War Claims.
After briefly practicing law in Washington, D.C., James McDill returned to Afton, Iowa. In 1868, he was elected as the first circuit judge and then in 1871, he became the district judge of the third judicial district. In 1873, McDill once again found himself in Washington, D.C., this time as a Republican Congressman. He served in the 43rd and 44th Congresses , refusing renomination in 1876. Back in Iowa, he resumed his legal practice. From 1878 to 1881, he was a member of the Board of Railroad Commissioners of the State of Iowa. Judge McDill was appointed and subsequently elected to fill the vacancy left in the U.S. Senate when Samuel J. Kirkwood was appointed to the Cabinet in 1881.
When McDill once
again returned to Iowa, he moved to Creston, which had become the county seat.
He spent his final years as a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
It was while traveling on Commission business that he fell ill. Judge James
Wilson McDill died on January 13, 1894, at the age of fifty-nine.
The papers of James
Wilson McDill date from 1850 to 1894 and are comprised of 0.75 linear feet of
manuscripts arranged alphabetically by folder title. Included are diaries, memoirs,
correspondence, speeches, and other material relating to his life and career.
The diaries date from his college days to the years he spent on the Interstate
Commerce Commission, with large gaps in between. While most of the correspondence
is between family members, there are some letters relating to his career. Biographical
and autobiographical material about McDill is also included.
Article about fiction by James W. McDill. Holograph draft
"Argument of James W. McDill upon the Reduction of Passenger Rates in Iowa to Two Cents per Mile"
Bereavement statements in honor of James W. McDill, 1894
College diary, 1850 -- 1854
Correspondence, 1882 -- 1894
1854, 1875, 1885 -- 1887
1888 -- 1892
Interstate Commerce Commission Holograph report, 1887
Journal of James
Journal of James W. McDill. Transcriptions of portions of the journal, 1891 -- 1893
"The Making of Iowa" by James W. McDill. Iowa Historical Record, vol. 7, #4 (Oct. 1891) pp. 162 -- 169
Recollections of his grandfather by James W. McDill. Holograph draft
Registry of correspondence, 1893
"Representative Men IV. James Wilson McDill" by S.R. Davis. The Midland Monthly, vol 1, #4 (Apr. 1894) pp. 383 -- 392
Speeches by James W. McDill, 1874 -- 1882