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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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COURTS. On January 10, 1835, the first regular court session was opened in Dubuque. The session, a probate court with the Honorable Ezekiel Lockwood presiding, concerned the appointment of Daniel A. Parkenson and Susan A. Dean as administrators for the estate of Noble F. Dean, deceased.

On May 1, 1837, the first court of general jurisdiction opened at the meeting house located in the present WASHINGTON PARK with David Irvin presiding. The first matter of business was appointing Warner LEWIS as clerk of court.

The history of federal courts in Dubuque County began in 1849 when John J. Dyer, a judge of the Iowa Judicial District, established a court. The first session was called to order on January 7, 1850. Iowa was divided into the Northern and Southern Judicial Districts in 1882. Dubuque remained the headquarters of the Northern District until 1962 when the District was relocated to Cedar Rapids.