Rorer, David, 1806-1884

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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

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Corcoran, W. W. (William Wilson), 1798-1888. W.W. Corcoran papers, 1791-1896 (bulk 1849-1888). Library of Congress
referencedIn W. W. Corcoran Papers, 1791-1896, (bulk 1849-1888) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Rorer, David, 1806-1884. David Rorer papers, 1832-1867 and undated. State Historical Society of Iowa, Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Brown, Jacob 1789-1846. person
correspondedWith Corcoran, W. W. (William Wilson), 1798-1888. person
associatedWith Parrot, James C. 1811-1898. person
associatedWith United States. Army. Cavalry, 1st corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Fort Des Moines (Iowa)
United States
Frontier and pioneer life
Indian Removal, 1813-1903
Seneca Indians


Birth 1806

Death 1884



Ark ID: w6hd9bc3

SNAC ID: 52668358