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MCNUTT, Samuel. (Londonderry, Ireland, Nov. 21, 1822--Muscatine, Jan. 10, 1911). As a child, McNutt came to New Castle, Delaware. He later graduated from Delaware College where during his college years he contributed to Peterson's Magazine, Neal's Gazette, Godey's Lady's Book, the Saturday Courier and other publications. (1) He taught in New Castle before moving to Milwaukee where he became an attorney. (2) He had just begun his practice when he accepted a professorship in a collegiate institute at Hernando, Mississippi, where he continued from 1852 to 1854. (3)
In 1854 McNutt moved to Muscatine, Iowa. He taught school and helped issue The Voice of Iowa, the first educational publication published in the state. He purchased a half interest in the Muscatine Enquirer and became its editor. (4) He was also associate editor of the Dubuque Herald from 1856 to 1859, under the management of Joseph B. DORR. McNutt remained in that position three years before becoming editor of the Dubuque Daily Union upon requests of friends to counteract the influence of the Herald, which sympathized with the cause of the South. (5) The publication of the Evening Union was discontinued in about a year with heavy financial loss and Mr. McNutt became one of the editors of the Dubuque Times. (6) McNutt served as a state representative from 1864 for six years and as a state senator for four years from 1870-1874. (7) He was one of the pioneers in the introduction of bills for the control of railroad corporations, secured passage through the house of the bill to drive " wild cat " currency out of Iowa, and was chairman of the committee to investigate the Fort Madison penitentiary in 1872. McNutt wrote the report which prevented the state from paying a claim of prison labor contractors amounting to forty-seven thousand dollars. In this report it was recommended that a new penitentiary be erected at a point where rock could be quarried leading to the construction of the penitentiary at Anamosa. (8)
In 1872 McNutt was a candidate for state treasurer on the Republican ticket, but was not elected. He was prominent in the Grange movement and the author of the petition signed by seventy thousand Iowa farmers asking the legislature to regulate the railroad charges. (9)
On August 13, 1890, Mr. McNutt was appointed by President Harrison as consul to Maracaibo, Venezuela. After a brief residence at the capital of the South American republic, he found the climate too severe and resigned, returning to his home. He served as city judge of Muscatine in 1894 and 1895. (10)
1. "Biographies for Muscatine County, Iowa 1911. Online: http://iagenweb.org/muscatine/biographies1911/mcnutts.htm
2. Mahan, Holly. "Irish Citizens in Nineteenth Century Dubuque, Iowa." Ron Roberts ed. Iowa's Ethnic Roots. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1993, p. 134
3. "Biographies for Muscatine County..."
7. Muscatine County and Vicinity Biographical Sketches Surnames M-N. Online: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~iamusca2/bio_mn.htm
8. Biographies for Muscatine County..."