David Rorer was a native of Pittsylvania County, Virginia who began his career as a lawyer in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1826. While at this location, Rorer served as a county judge and prosecuting attorney. He also operated a ferry near Little Rock and--to support the success of that venture--made alterations to the military road from Memphis to Little Rock. This route and river crossing were commonly used during removals of Native Americans to the Indian Territory. After moving to Burlington, Iowa in 1836 Rorer played a key role in establishing that town's government, and in 1837 was chairman of a committee of Wisconsin Territory delegates that successfully petitioned Congress for creation of the Iowa Territory. He resumed his legal practice and argued numerous cases before the Iowa Supreme Court, with one of the most notable being the case "In the matter of Ralph" which secured the freedom of a colored man who was being pursued as a fugitive slave. Rorer was also prominent in his field as attorney for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, and author of three major publications on legal practice between 1873 and 1884. He was president of the Hawkeye Pioneer Association of Des Moines County (Iowa) and is credited with originating the nickname "Hawkeyes" for Iowans. Rorer remained in Burlington until his death in 1884.
From the description of David Rorer papers, 1832-1867 and undated. (State Historical Society of Iowa, Library). WorldCat record id: 700950602