A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
SCOTT M. LADD, LL.D., who is engaged in the practice of his profession in
the city of Des Moines, is one of the distinguished jurists of Iowa, has been a
member of the bar of this state nearly half a century and has a splendid
record of twenty-four years of consecutive service on the bench of the Iowa
Supreme Court, but one other justice of that tribunal having ever served for an
equally long period.
Judge Ladd was born on the parental home farm near the village of Sharon,
Walworth County, Wisconsin, June 22, 1855, and is a son of John and Sarah L.
(Wilmarth) Ladd, and the conditions and influences that marked the formative
period of his life, while benignant, were not such as to indicate that
eventually he was destined to attain to the high office of chief justice of the
Supreme Court of another of the great states of the Union. John Ladd was born in
Herkimer County, New York, of English lineage, and his wife was born at
Deerfield, near Utica, that state, she having been of English and German ancestry.
Mr. and Mrs. Ladd were reared and educated in the old Empire State and were
folk of superior intellectual ken. Their marriage was solemnized in
Wisconsin, where they gained much of pioneer precedence, Mrs. Ladd having
accompanied her first husband, Luke O. Ladd, to that state in 1842, her second husband
having arrived there in the following year. John Ladd developed one of the
fine farm estates of Walworth County, Wisconsin, and in that state he and his
wife passed the remainder of their lives, secure in the high regard of all
who knew them and rendering good account for themselves in connection with
civic and industrial development and progress. Mr. Ladd had membership in the
Lutheran Church and his wife was a member of the Baptist Church. he became a
staunch supporter of the cause of the Republican party, with which he cast in
his lot at virtually the time of its organization and with which he continued
his alliance during the remainder of his life. Of the family of five
children Judge Ladd is now the only survivor.
The public schools of his native county afforded Judge Ladd his preliminary
education, and there also he attended an academy at Sharon, his parents
having earnestly encouraged him in his ambition to obtain a liberal education. He
was a student in Beloit College, Wisconsin, in the period of 1875-77, and in
1879 he was graduated from Carthage College, Illinois, with the degree of
Bachelor of Science, the supplemental degree of Master of Science having been
conferred upon him in 1881. this college later conferred upon him also the
honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, while a similar recognition was accorded him
by the University of Iowa in 1906.
In preparing for his chosen profession Judge Ladd availed himself of the
advantages of the law department of the University of Iowa, in which he was
graduated as a member of the class of 1881. Upon thus receiving his degree of
Bachelor of Laws, with virtually coincident admission to the Iowa bar, Judge
Ladd established residence at Sheldon, O'Brien County, where he continued in the
practice of his profession until he was elected, in 1886, to the bench of
the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District. On this bench he made an
excellent judicial record, marked by wise decisions and accurate knowledge of
law and precedent, and there he continued his service until 1897, when he
took his place as an associate justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, to which he
had been elected in November of the preceding year. On the Supreme bench he
continued his able and loyal service nearly a quarter of a century, and he held
the office of chief justice of that tribunal four years. His record on
this bench needs no commendation here, as it has become an integral and worthy
part of the history of jurisprudence in Iowa. Upon his retirement from the
Supreme Court, in 1920, Judge Ladd engaged in the general practice of law in Des
Moines, and it is needless to say that his law business is one of
representative and important order, especially in difficult and doubtful issues.
Judge Ladd has been a staunch and effective advocate of the principles and
policies of the Republican party, but aside from those in line with his
profession he has held no other public office save that of member of the board of
education while he was residing at Sheldon, he having been chosen president of
this board. He has been a trustee of Morningside College for more than
thirty years. The Judge has affiliation with both York and Scottish Rite bodies
of the masonic fraternity and also with the Knights of Pythias. He is a
veteran and honored member of the Iowa State Bar Association.
July 26, 1881, recorded the marriage of Judge Ladd and Miss Emma Cromer, who
was at that time a resident of Irving, Illinois, but who was born at
Columbus, Indiana. Mrs. Ladd was graduated from Carthage College, Illinois, as a
member of the class of 1878, and on the fiftieth anniversary of her graduation
she attended the meeting of the alumni association of this college, was there
the only representative of her class and made a pleasing address of gracious
memories and in honor of her alma mater. Loy, eldest of the children of
Judge and Mrs. Ladd, was graduated from the law department of Drake University,
Des Moines, and is now a judge of the District Court in Des Moines. He
married Ala Everhart. Litta, next younger of the five children, is the wife of
John Valericus, of Des Moines, and their one child is a son, John Ladd. Lora
is the wife of Herbert N. Mills, secretary of the Bankers Life Insurance
Company, Des Moines, and they have three children: Marion Mills, Beatrice Mills
and Scott A. Mills. Helen is the wife of Emery S. Warren, of New York City.
Scott Mason Ladd, Jr., youngest of the children, is a graduate of Grinnell
College, graduated at the Iowa City University Law School, where he is now one
of the professors. His wife, Esther Swansen, is a graduate of the Iowa
State University. They have a winsome little daughter, Caroline Jane.
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