Served on the Iowa Supreme Court from his election by the General Assembly January 16, 1855, until he resigned June 2, 1856.
Born in Charlton, Saratoga County, New York, April 7, 1818. After reading law in an office he was admitted to the bar in 1839. Because of ill health he decided to seek a home in the west, locating at keytesville, Missouri, in 1842, later moving to Marion, in Linn County, Iowa in 1845.
His first public office was that of County Judge in 1847. His election to the Supreme Court came during a political reversal which completely changed the structure of the court. After a little more than a year however, he felt compelled to resign because of failing health. He returned to Linn County where in 1862 he was elected a Judge of the District Court. Soon, however, he was again forced to retire, migrating in 1864 to California.
While on the District Bench, he aroused much criticism by deciding adversely to the constitutionality of an Act permitting soldiers of Iowa regiments, in the Civil War, to vote while beyond the limits of the state. Justice Isbell died at Napa City, California, March 10, 1865.