The grand jury at this term consisted of J. P. Robinson, Adolphus Prouty, Elisha Alderman, Nathan Webb, Shadrack Worrell, Thomas G. Vest, Samuel Heistand, Jacob Wheeler, John Hussong, George B. Zenor, P. R. Craig, James C. Smith, Joseph Broughard, Jonah Griffith and Judiah Ray. Worrell and Wheeler failed to answer when called, and their places were filled by selecting Frederic Pierce and W. W. Utterback from the bystanders. They held their inquisition in the log stable attached to the McLain Hotel. It is among the traditions that Juryman Heistand was kicked by a mule that occupied an adjacent stall, and that the procuring of arnica and other liniments for the disabled inquisitor sadly interfered with the deliberations as well as dignity of the august body.
The criminal calandar for the term showed but one cause, entitled State of Iowa vs. James P. Kinney. There were two civil causes, of which the first on the docket was that of Jennings Wilkinson vs. Michael Hughes. The bar consisted of D. O. Finch, M. M. Crocker, James S. Woods, John A. Hull, Cornelius Beal, William L. Burge and John F. House. This was quite an array of legal talent (the attorneys being from abroad) considering the small amount of business to be done, but they were scenting future business as well as having pleasant hours with the people, and making acquaintance.
The third term for the county, and the second for the town, was begun and held on the 5th of May, 1856. McFarland was judge, E. G. Day was clerk, and George Childs, as deputy, acted as sheriff. At this term J. S. Frazier and George A. Kellogg were admitted as attorneys. More than twenty causes on the docket were disposed of in two days.
The fourth term began September 22, 1857. James D. Thompson, of Eldora, who was elected judge of a district recently formed under an act of the General Assembly, appeared as judge. William Thompson had been elected clerk; George Childs, sheriff; and James S. Frazier, prosecuting attorney. John Scott, E. B. Potter and A. D. Shaw were admitted as attorneys at this time, on certificates from other States. It was understood that the main cause for the creation of the new district was to circumscribe the jurisdiction of McFarland, whose habits of dissipation had grown upon him until his position as judge was regarded generally as being greatly disgraced. Thompson was a judge with limited knowledge of law, but a pleasant gentleman of good character.
In 1858 John Porter, of Cerro Gordo County, was elected district judge, and at the same time a State's attorney for the district, instead of one for each county, was elected. The first district attorney was W. P. Hepburn, of Marshall County. Hepburn went into the army in 1861, and was succeeded by D. D. Chase, who was appointed judge, in 1866. At this time John H. Bradley, of Marshall County, became district attorney. In 1868 the judicial system was modified by providing for an additional court which was called the circuit court, and in each district or circuit were two judges. The district judge had exclusive jurisdiction in criminal matters, and the circuit judge in matters of probate. The two courts had concurrent jurisdiction in many civil causes.
Henry Hudson, of Boone County, was the first circuit judge, 1868-74.
I. J. Mitchell, of Boone County, followed Judge Chase on the district bench in January, 1875, and was followed by James W. McKenzie, of Franklin County, in January, 1879. Judge McKenzie's health failed. He had done valuable service during the war, and went on the bench with a constitution utterly broken, and died before his term expired.