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Judge Frederick O. Ellison
Born July 4, 1853


F. O. ELLISON, attorney at law, office in Williams' Block, Wyoming; was born in 1853, in New York City; in 1871, came to Iowa; commenced the study of law with Todhnnter & Williamson, at Indianola, Iowa; was admitted in 1873; has been practicing since. Married Miss A. E. McCutcheon in 1875; she was born in Peoria, Ill.; have one child—Clifford W. Republican.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 601.

Judge Frederick Oscar Ellison was in 1906 called to the bench of the eighteenth judicial district and his course has been distinguished by high legal ability. To wear the ermine worthily it is not enough that one possess legal acumen, is learned in the principles of jurisprudence, familiar with precedents and thoroughly honest. Many men, even when acting uprightly are unable to wholly divest themselves of prejudice and are unconsciously warped in their judgments by their own mental characteristics or educational peculiarities. This unconscious and variable disturbing force enters more or less into the judgments of all men but in the ideal jurist this fact becomes so small as not to be discernible in results and loses its potency as a disturbing force. Judge Ellison in the opinion of the bar is exceptionally free from judicial bias. His varied legal learning and wide experience in the courts, the patient care with which he ascertains all the facts bearing upon every case that comes before him gives his decisions a solidity and exhaustiveness from which the members of the bar can take no exception.
A native of New York city, Judge Ellison was born July 4, 1853, of the marriage of Thomas B. and Ann (Ruxton) Ellison, both of whom were natives of Ireland. They came to America in early life and were married in Connecticut. After living for some time in New York city, they removed to Indianola, Warren county, Iowa, in 1870 and there remained for about ten years, after which they returned to the eastern metropolis. The father died in New York in 1891 at the venerable age of eighty-two years while the mother passed away in 1891 at the age of seventy-two years. In their family were the following named: Levina M., who is the wife of E. M. Pearson and resides in Detroit, Michigan; Anna G., who is the widow of Henry Laird and resides in New York City; Charles R., of New York City, who wedded Mary Brown, now deceased; Margaret and Henrietta, both of whom died in childhood; Thomas W., who wedded Mary Cadugen and died in 1894; Frederick, of this review; George Walter, who died at the age of sixteen years; Florence A., who became the wife of Dr. D. C. Cox, of New York City, and after his death, which occurred in 1889, married J. W. Cassell; Nina D., the wife of John Eakins, a resident of New York City.
Reared in the American metropolis, Judge Ellison continued his studies in the high school of New York and also in the academy there. At the age of sixteen, however, he started out in life on his own account and in 1870 took charge of a farm his father purchased for him. The following winter was passed in St. Louis but in the spring he returned to the farm which was located near Indianola, Iowa. About a year later he began reading law with the firm of Todhunter & Williamson of Indianola and after thorough preliminary study was admitted to the bar in 1873. He then located for practice in Clinton, Iowa, where he remained for a year and a half and in 1875 came to Jones county, soon establishing a large law practice in Wyoming. His ability was recognized in the able manner in which he handled his cases and his clientage increased in volume and importance, connecting him with much of the litigation tried in the courts of the district. In June, 1889, he removed to Anamosa, where he has since resided. In 1887 he had been elected county attorney, which office he filled for six years, his reelection coming as the merited expression of public confidence in his ability and trustworthiness. He is so thoroughly well read in the minutia of the law that he is able to base his arguments upon thorough knowledge and familiarity of precedents and to present a case upon its merits, never failing to recognize the main points at issue and never neglecting to give thorough preparation. His logical grasp of facts and principles of the law applicable to them has been another potent element in his success and the remarkable clearness of expression and adequate and precise diction which enables him to make others understand not only the salient points of his argument but his every fine gradation of meaning may be accounted one of his most conspicuous gifts and accomplishments.
Judge Ellison has long been recognized as one of the leaders of the republican party in his district and in 1894 was elected a member of the Iowa house of representatives, in which he served for one term. He was then chosen state senator and while serving in the upper house as well left the impress of his individuality and far-sighted judgment upon the laws enacted during that period. In 1904 he was chosen presidential elector from his district and in 1906 was elected judge of the district court and is now serving on the bench, his record as a judge being in harmony with his record as a man and lawyer, characterized by the faithful performance of every duty and a masterful grasp of every problem presented for solution.
On the 3d of November, 1875, Judge Ellison was united in marriage to Miss A. E. McCutchen, a daughter of Robert and Rebecca (Adams) McCutchen, who were natives of Pennsylvania and on coming to Iowa in 1868 settled in Indianola, Warren county. There they remained until 1874 when they removed to Lyons, Iowa, where they spent their remaining days, the father passing away in 1881 at the age of seventy-one years while the mother reached the advanced age of eighty-three years. Unto Judge and Mrs. Ellison have been born five children. Dr. Clifford W. Ellison, the eldest, now in New York City, married Miss Maude Spears and they have one son, Frederick Spears. The second member of Judge Ellison's family died in infancy. Frederick Harold passed away in 1895 at the age of eleven years. Roland R. is at home and Mildred is attending the Chicago University.
While Judge Ellison is perhaps best known through the state at large as a strong and able member of the Iowa bar and the capable and impartial judge, he is regarded in Anamosa as a valued citizen because of the active part which he has taken in municipal affairs and in furthering the interests of the community in various ways. He is now president of the library board and is a director in the Anamosa National Bank. While living in Wyoming, he served as mayor of that city and in 1894 was chosen mayor of Anamosa, capably administering municipal interests so that the welfare of the community at large was conserved. He has also been city attorney for one term. Fraternally he is connected with the Odd Fellows and with the Masons, belonging to Anamosa Lodge, NO. 46, A.F.&A.M.; Mount Sinai Chapter, R.A.M.; Olivet Commandery, NO. 36, K. T.; and the Mystic Shrine at Cedar Rapids. He is likewise a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and his religious faith is indicated in his membership in, the Methodist Episcopal church. His life is typical of all that is progressive and loyal in citizenship and honorable in manhood. While on the bench he fully maintains the dignity of the office, his friends find him a social, genial gentleman, with whom association means expansion and elevation.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 168.

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