Viewing "Bench and Bar of Cottonwood County." (1916)
This history of the legal community of Cottonwood County consists of two pages of biographical sketches of seven men who practiced law or served on the bench. It begins with the curious statement (not typical of the many hagiographic county "bench and bar" histories written in pre-World War One) that Cottonwood County "may not have had many illustrious legal lights." The county was established on May 23, 1857, and when this history was published almost sixty years later, there were only six lawyers practicing in the entire county, five in Windom, the sixth in Westbrook. If one has the patience and stamina to examine county legal histories such as this, it is possible to see changes in the profession in the latter half of the nineteenth century and first decade of the twentieth: the formation of small partnerships, which usually did not last long, the rise of law schools, the development of legal specialties, and so on.