Skip to main content
Iowa Judicial Branch
Main Content

Joseph R. Reed (1884-1889)

Chief Justice

Joseph R. Reed

Served on the Iowa Supreme Court from January 1, 1884, until he resigned February 28, 1889. He had been Chief Justice for two months when he resigned.

Born in Ashland County, Ohio, March 12, 1835. He came to Iowa in 1857, taught a country school, later locating at Adel in Dallas County. In 1859 he was admitted to the Iowa bar. Served as a captain of artillery during the Civil War, after which he was elected to membership in the Senate of the Eleventh and Twelfth General Assemblies. Not long after his service in the legislature he moved to Council Bluffs where he became a Judge of the District Court in 1872. In 1883 he was elected to the Supreme Court and while yet a member of the court he was elected to Congress in 1888. He resigned from Congress in 1891 upon his appointment by the president as Chief Justice of the court of Private Land Claims, a court which exposed and invalidated spurious land grant claims in New Mexico and Arizona.

Justice Reed died in Council Bluffs April 2, 1925.

© 2022 Iowa Judicial Branch. All Rights Reserved.