LEAKE, Joseph Bloomfield: 20th Iowa Infantry, Lawyer, Iowa Legislator, dies on streets of Chicago
Joseph Bloomfield LEAKE was born in Deerfield, Cumberland, New Jersey 1 Apr 1828. My family moved to Ohio where I graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1846. I became a lawyer in 1850 and moved to Iowa about 6 years later where I became a member of the Iowa Legislature.
During the Civil War, I put my political career on hold, stepped down from the legislature and enlisted in the Union Army. I was put into the 20th Iowa Infantry, becoming a lieutenant colonel when the regiment came into being in Clinton, Clinton, Iowa. The 20th Iowa saw action in Vicksburg, Mississippi, among others. In 1863 I was wounded and captured by Confederate forces in Louisiana.
I was sent to a camp in Texas where I was the highest-ranked officer. In spite of conditions, I struggled to take care of my fellow Union prisoners until I was exchanged the following year. I returned to the 20th Iowa and continued to fight with them in Alabama. In 1865, I was promoted to Brigadier General, making me one of the youngest Brig. Generals in the state. The same year, the 20th Iowa mustered out of service and I returned home to Davenport and was elected into the Iowa Senate for the 11th General Assembly.
In 1871 I moved to Chicago where I continued my law practice. Between 1879-1884, I served as the U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois which included Chicago. I was later the lawyer for the Chicago Board of Education from 1887-1891.
I never really left the Army. The Union Army and the 20th Iowa continued to be a part of my life. I was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic in Chicago and would often travel back to Iowa to attend reunions.
I continued to practice law into my 80s and earned the distinction of being the oldest member of the Chicago bar. On 1 June 1918, I passed away on Cass Street in Chicago, the city that I had served for so long. I was buried in Davenport's Oakdale Cemetery.
This was a script for Oakdale's bi-annual cemetery walk where noted people are portrayed by volunteers who create the character and dress in period clothing at the gravesites. (See Find-a-Grave - death date and marker photos).