A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
WALTER H. McELROY at Ottumwa continues the traditions of one of the oldest names in the bar of that city. His father began practice there about 1871, and Walter was associated with his father for several years, and then continued to occupy the same office after his father's death until 1925, when the building was required for other purposes. That ended a tenancy of more than fifty-three years in one location by the McElroy law office.
Mr. McElroy's father was the late Ebenezer E. McElroy, a very capable lawyer and also distinguished for his fine public spirit and helpfulness as a citizen of Ottumwa. Ebenezer E. McElroy, who was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, was
born at Greenfield, Ohio, in 1849, oldest of the five children of Thomas G. and Esther (Kerr) McElroy. Thomas G. McElroy during the Civil war was engaged in recruiting service for the United States Army.He lost his life when
burned to death in a railroad accident. Ebenezer E. McElroy graduated in 1870 from Cornell University of New York, and at once came to Iowa and entered the law department of the State University. He graduated and admitted to the bar in 1871, and in the same year began the practice of law at Ottumwa. He was engaged in the routine of a general law practice for over a third of a century,
until his death in 1905. He always gave freely of his time, efforts and means to promote worthy projects in the community. For twenty-one years he was a member of the city school board and ten years of that time president of the board. During all those years the city never paid a legal fee for anything in connection with the schools. That was one of his contributions of good citizenship. He also served for a number of years as a member of the city
council, and was a ruling elder of the First Presbyterian Church. Ebenezer E. McElroy married, in Ohio, Miss Belle Hamilton, who was born in that state. They were the parents of five children: Clifford T., of Minneapolis; Carl E.,
of Seattle, Washington; Walter H.; Ralph T., in the real estate business at Ottumwa; and Evalyn, whose home is in Amarillo, Texas. The mother of these children died in May, 1883, and Ebenezer McElroy in 1884 married Elizabeth A.
Milner. She likewise was a native of Ohio. By this union there were two children, Mrs. Edna M. LeCompte, of Oklahoma, and Edith K. Fezler, now deceased.
Walter H. McElroy was born at Ottumwa, August 15, 1879,and graduated from high school in 1898. He at once entered the law department of the University of Iowa, and was the youngest member of the class of 103 graduates to receive a diploma in 1900. He was admitted to the bar and at once joined his father in practice. They were together for five years. Mr. McElroy is widely known as a lawyer who had specialized in land and real estate law. In connection with his law practice he operates an abstract business. For the past quarter of a century he has been a stockholder and a director of the Citizens Savings Bank of Ottumwa. He is a member of the American Association of Title Men, the Iowa Title Association, and the Iowa State and American Bar Associations.
While Mr. McElroy is a specialist in his profession, his part as a citizen is that of a man of broad spirit, interested in everything that will contribute to the making of a better and greater city. He was one of the organizers
of the Boy Scout movement in Ottumwa, and for three years has served as president of the Southern Iowa Area of the Boy Scouts of America, his jurisdiction comprising seven counties. For fourteen years, 1912-26, he was treasurer of
the Ottumwa City School Board. From 1919 to 1928 he was treasurer of the local Red Cross, and is still a member of its board of directors.
Always a loyal Republican, he never sought office or political honors. His serious effort in the matter of politics has been directed on election days to getting out a full vote, and this has been an important instrumentality in getting an effective expression of opinion in ways that have counted for the progress and development of the community. Mr.McElroy is a Rotarian, and for a number of years was trustee of the First Presbyterian Church, and served on the building committee when the congregation erected in 1927 one of the finest church edifices in the state. He is a member of the Social Service Commission of Ottumwa, the Wapello Club and the Country Club.
He married at Ottumwa in October,1906, Miss Lucile Wyckoff, daughter of H. E. Wyckoff, of Cedar Rapids. She is a graduate of the Ottumwa High school and attended Coe College at Cedar Rapids. Mrs. McElroy is of English, French
and Swiss ancestry. They have two children.Their daughter, Dorothy Alice, attended Iowa State University, of which both her father and grandfather were alumni, and is now the wife of Andrew Fluetsch, Jr., living at Dubuque. They have a son, Andrew Fluetsch III. The only son of Mr. McElroy is Robert H., who graduated as honor student from the Columbia Military Academy at Columbia, Tennessee, and is now a student in Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, preparing for the study of law in the State University of Iowa.
Debbie Clough Gerischer
Iowa History Project
Posted at this site with Debbie's permission