“DAWSON, Edward A., member of the Iowa Board of Railroad Commissioners, lives in Waverly, Bremer county, where he has built up an extensive law practice. His father, Edward Dawson, is a well-to-do farmer who was born near London, England, one of a family of five. He came to the United States when a young man and lived in Newton Falls, Trumbull county, Ohio, where he was married to Miss Catherine Ferns. She was born near Dublin, Ireland, where her father was a prominent physician and surgeon. Being left an orphan at an early age, she came to America when she was thirteen years old, lived in New York City for some time and from there went to Newton Falls, Ohio, where she met and married Edward Dawson. Their son, Edward A., was born in Newton Falls, March 22, 1853. The family came to Iowa in 1855, first settling in Delaware county at a little town then known as Rockville. In 1856 they removed to Butler county, where they lived on a farm until the death of Mrs. Dawson. She had a cousin by the name of Ferns who was on General Rosencrans’ staff in the civil war and was killed in battle, being shot off his horse. She had no brothers or sisters. After her death the family moved to Cedar Falls, where Mr. Dawson, Sr., now resides with his daughter, Miss Maggie Dawson, and his son, Fletcher Dawson. Another son, William Dawson, is a farmer and stock dealer in Butler county, and another, George W. Dawson, is a lawyer in Waterloo.
Edward A. Dawson had the experiences common to farmers’ boys in Iowa in an early day, and walked from one to three miles to attend the district school during the winter months. In the summer he worked on the farm with his father and brothers. In 1872 he entered Upper Iowa University at Fayette and completed the regular two years’ course in 1874. In those pioneer times when his parents were carving out a home from Iowa’s virgin soil and forest, they could not afford to give their children the advantages which later they might have done. But the boys were able to take care of themselves. Edward took a four months’ business course at Bayless Business College in Dubuque and read law for three years in the office of Gray, Dougherty & Gibson in Waverly, being admitted to the bar in the fall of 1877. The next year he formed a law partnership with O. A. Call and E. R. Carr. The next year Mr. Carr retired and in another year Mr. Call died, and Mr. Dawson went on with the practice alone. By this time he had acquired a fairly lucrative practice. In 1881 he formed a partnership with Dwight T. Gibson and the firm of Gibson & Dawson still exists. For twenty years it has been the leading law firm in Waverly. Mr. Dawson has been retained in nearly every important criminal case in Bremer county since his admission to the bar, usually on the defense. While having a reputation as a criminal lawyer equalled by few in eastern Iowa, he has at the same time commanded a place on one side or the other of nearly all the important civil cases tried in Bremer county and many outside.
Mr. Dawson has always been a republican and prominent in the politics of the state, especially in the Third congressional district, and has been county attorney of Bremer county. In 1888 he was a delegate to the republican national convention which nominated Benjaman Harrison. Governor Jackson appointed Mr. Dawson to be railway commissioner to fill out the unexpired term of John W. Luke, who died in December. 1895. The republican state convention in 1896 nominated Mr. Dawson to fill out the unexpired term of Commissioner Luke and for the full term beginning January, 1897, and again in 1899, the last time without opposition, and in 1896 by a large majority over Frank T. Campbell. He was elected each time by a handsome majority. Mr. Dawson belongs to the Masonic order and to the Knights of Pythias. He is a member and vestryman of St. Andrew’s Episcopal church in Waverly. He was married May 8, 1889. in San Diego, California, to Miss Miriam E. Ware, whose parents were residents of Waverly for many years and are now living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At the time of the marriage they were living in California. Mr. and Mrs. Dawson have one daughter. Dorothy, born in 1896.”
Source: Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa, Vol. 2, Benjamin F. Shambaugh, Ph. D., Conaway & Shaw, Publishers, Des Moines, 1899, pages 489-90