Moses McCoid, Fairfield Iowa lawyer, district attorney, senator, author

November 2, 2010

Fairfield Iowa lawyer, politician Moses McCoid.

Born in Bellefontaine, Ohio in 1840, Moses Ayers McCoid came with his family in 1851 to Fairfield, Iowa, where his father Robert kept first a stove and tinware store at 59 W. Broadway and later a hotel at 122 N. Court.

After attending college in Washington, Pa., “Mose” studied law in Fairfield with James F. Wilson and D. P. Stubbs until the Civil War broke out and he enlisted in Co. E of the 2nd Iowa Infantry. He fought at the battles of Ft. Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Bear Creek, and Resaca, and for bravery was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and then regimental adjutant. In 1863 Moses married Helen Martha Irland, with whom he eventually had eight children.

After the war Moses practiced law brilliantly in Fairfield, Iowa and was elected district attorney in 1867 and 1871, and state senator from 1872 to 1879. He then served three successive terms as U.S. representative, from 1879 to 1885. Thereafter he again practiced law in Fairfield, and in 1902 wrote a biography of an old Fairfield friend entitled “John Williamson of Hardscrabble.”

When not in Washington, D.C., Moses and his family lived on Fairfield’s “Piety Hill,” probably at 301 W. Kirkwood St., Fairfield, Iowa, two blocks south of the college campus. From 1886 until his death in 1904, Moses owned the beautiful brick Bonfield-Eichhorn building at the southeast corner of the square at 100 E. Burlington St., adjoining the old Leggett House hotel, and now part of the First National Bank lot. Upstairs Moses had his law offices, while downstairs his son Arthur kept a grocery store, and later C. C. Morris sold jewelry.

A good view of the Bonfield-Eichhorn-McCoid building appears at the far right of this photograph looking east down Burlington St.:

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