Politician, Deceased Person
1812 – 1891
Who was James Grant?
James was born on his family's plantation near Enfield in Halifax County, North Carolina on December 12, 1812. He attended the State University at Chapel Hill and graduated in 1831, before his eighteenth birthday. While at UNC, he was a member of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies. He read law and moved west.
Settling first in Chicago, Grant served as a state's attorney for Illinois from 1834 to 1837. Then, in 1840, he moved to the Iowa Territory and opened his law practice. A lifelong Democrat, he served in the Territorial Assembly as a representative for Scott County in 1842 and 1843. As statehood approached and was granted, he attended the Iowa Constitutional Conventions in 1844 and 1846.
His legal practice was very successful, and he made a small fortune representing the railroads. After statehood, he served for several years as judge in the Iowa District Court, but resigned when this created a conflict of interest with his representation of railway lines. In 1851, he invested in and became the first president of the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad.
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