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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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Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/8572623/person/-928549980/facts?_phsrc=cbC191&_phstart=successSource

James H. Shields. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

SHIELDS, James H. (Frankfort, Pike Co., MO, May 8, 1842--Dubuque, IA, Sept. 30, 1914). Both of Shields parents lived in Dubuque before his birth. His father was in business with his brother-in-law J. Hannibal EMERSON, a state senator from the county, mayor of Dubuque and prominent business leader. (1)

Shields received his early education in Dubuque counting among his instructors Bishop Mathias LORAS. (2) He attended Alfred University in Alleghany, New York for two years and then Union College in Schenectady, New York without graduating. He studied law with former Senator Henderson of Missouri before joining the Iowa bar in 1863. (3) Shields served as attorney for the DUBUQUE HARBOR COMPANY and, beginning in 1863, was also a director of the company. When he campaigned for the office of City Attorney, Shields received the unique approval of being elected to the position by both parties without opposition. He served three terms.

Beginning in 1884 Shields served four years as district attorney for the Ninth Judicial District. In 1889 he headed the Iowa delegation to the Democratic convention that nominated Grover Cleveland as president and was elected state senator and served in the 23rd and 24th general assemblies. (4)

Shields had many business interests in Dubuque. He was a director and stockholder in the BANK AND INSURANCE BUILDING, Citizen's Bank, and the DUBUQUE FIRE AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY. He was also considered the builder of the M.M. Walker and SCHROEDER-KLEINE GROCER COMPANY buildings. president of the DUBUQUE TRAVELING AND BUSINESS MEN'S ASSOCIATION, an organization composed of jobbers, manufacturers, real estate owners and capitalists of Dubuque. (5)



1. "Bar Association Adopts Resolutions," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, October 7, 1914, p. 5

2. Ibid.

3. "State Senator Shields," Dubuque Daily Herald, August 5, 1891, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=_OG5zn83XeQC&dat=18910805&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

4. "Bar Association..."

5. Gue, Benjamin T. History of Iowa from The Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century,New York: The Century History Company, 1903, p. 244. Online: https://archive.org/stream/historyofiowafro04gueb/historyofiowafro04gueb_djvu.txt