Jacob Armel Kiester arrived in Faribault County in 1857, and began a lifetime of public service. He was county surveyor, register of deeds, county attorney, court commissioner, state representative, state senator, and, for over twenty years, probate judge.
In the 1890s, Kiester began writing a history of the county. The first volume, covering events to 1879, was published in 1896. He was nearly finished with the second when he died in 1904. Relying on public records and old newspapers, he described events year-by-year. Twenty-two of Kiester's yearly accounts constitute this article.
Like other local historians, he profiled judges, lawyers, and a few crimes and trials. He also tallied the cases on the district court's trial calendars, noting that civil cases exceeded criminal by a multiple of ten or more.
He was a shrewd observer of lawyers. For 1872, he inserted some thoughts about "The Legal Profession." He saw that reform in legal education, admission standards and ethics was needed.
He departed from the conventional county history by inserting a humorous story about courts or lawyers immediately following each account of a court session. These anecdotes did not arise in Faribault County but were probably taken from several of the many anthologies about lawyers published in the nineteenth century.