Friday, March 09, 2018

Views of Judge Wennerstrum & family ....

I wrote earlier in the week about the Hon. Charles F. Wennerstrum's experiences as a judge during the Nuremberg war crimes trials that followed World War II, then somewhat later located these photographs of the judge and his family in the Lucas County Historical Society collection. 

The photo at the top --- which could be dated by someone who recognizes the model of the Wennerstrum vehicle --- was taken as family members were standing across the street from their Woodlawn Avenue home. That's Mrs. Wennerstrum, Helen, standing beside the judge, and their daughter, Joann. There also were two sons, Scott T. and Roger.

The photo at the bottom of Judge and Mrs. Wennerstrum was taken in the southeast parlor of the Mallory mansion, Ilion, during May of 1955 during the Rotary party held there a few days before demolition of the building began.

The judge was a native of Cambridge, Illinois, who earned his law degree from Drake University during 1914, then opened his offices in Chariton during 1915 as the second round of Lucas County's coal industry was just beginning to boom. He married Helen Rogers here during 1925.

Wennerstrum took time out from his law practice to serve during World War I, then served as county attorney until 1922. He was first appointed in 1930 and then elected to the district court bench, where he served until 1940, when he was elected to the Iowa Supreme Court.

He served as a Supreme Court justice until 1958, including several six-month terms as chief justice (the justices took turns filling that role at the time). 

After a narrow defeat for re-election during November of 1958 during a Democrat sweep, he returned to private law practice --- but in Des Moines rather than Chariton and moved there during 1959. Helen Wennerstrum died during 1980 and the judge, at age 97, during 1986. They are buried in the Chariton Cemetery.

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