Representative John Charles Sterling View All Years

Compiled Historical Information
Date of Death: 5/11/1939
Party Affiliation: Republican
Assemblies Served:
House: 38 (1919) - 39 (1921)
Home County: Hamilton
John Charles Sterling
Hamilton County


MR. SPEAKER: Your committee, appointed to prepare resolutions commemorating the life, character, and public service of the late Honorable John C. Sterling of Hamilton county, Iowa, begs leave to submit the following report:

John C. Sterling was born January 22, 1863, near LeRoy, in McLean county, Illinois, where he spent his boyhood amid the trying circumstances experienced by the early settlers during the reconstruction period that followed the Civil War. His parents, Samuel and Martha West Sterling, were of the pioneer group that emigrated from Ohio in a very early day and settled on a farm in the LeRoy community, where they lived for many years to raise their family, maintain their home, and contribute what they could to the educational and social life of their community.

Young Sterling first attended the rural district school, then the LeRoy high school, and later continued his studies at Illinois Wesleyan University. After the completion of his college education he taught school for several years in the county where he had grown to young manhood.

On August 16, 1888, he was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Gilmore, also of LeRoy, Illinois. Two years later they moved to Hamilton county, Iowa, and settled on a farm in what is known as the Pleasant Hill neighborhood. It was in this community that their family of six children were born and educated. At this early date many parts of Iowa, and particularly Hamilton county, was a comparatively new country. Mr. Sterling combined the work of farming and school teaching in a heroic effort to maintain and support his home. The family endured many hardships and at one time the house and most of their furnishings were destroyed by fire; but Mr. and Mrs. Sterling continued to strive on undaunted and to give freely of their life and effort to the upbuilding of the rich community life that is now enjoyed by those who have come after them.

In 1910 Mr. Sterling was elected Clerk of the District Court of Hamilton county, which office he held for three consecutive terms. Upon his taking office the family retired from the farm and moved to a home he had purchased in Webster City. Later, Mr. Sterling was elected to the Iowa Legislature and served as a member of the House in the Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth sessions of the General Assembly. After retiring from business he served as Justice of the Peace for eight years.

In politics he was a Republican and he was an active member of the Congregational church.

Mr. Sterling was quiet in manner, yet sincere and honest in his convictions and he was looked upon by his host of friends and acquaintances as a man deserving confidence and one who always stood ready to give of his best and untiring service to his community, to his county, and to the state.

Mrs. Sterling passed away May 8, 1936, after which time Mr. Sterling made his home with his children. Although past seventy-six years of age he continued to enjoy fairly good health and was active in going about among his friends. He always maintained an interest in and was much concerned in world affairs; and only about an hour before his death he listened to a news broadcast and later discussed the affairs of the day with a daughter with whom he was residing at the time. He then retired for the night and shortly afterward he was found to have suffered a stroke from which he could not survive. He passed away May 12, 1939.

He leaves to mourn his loss, two sisters, Mrs. C. E. Chapin, of Bloomington, Illinois, and Mrs. F. M. Thompson of Paxton, Illinois; four daughters, Mrs. Luale Brock and Miss Rachel Sterling of Spencer, Iowa; Mrs. M. F. McKee of Webster City, Iowa, and Mrs. Perry Parker of Peoria, Illinois; and two sons, Sam Sterling of Bloomington, Illinois and Dr. L. P. Sterling of Zearing, Iowa, besides a host of admiring friends in his home community and many acquaintances in the state at large.

Therefore, Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Forty-ninth General Assembly, That in the passing of the Honorable John C. Sterling, the state has lost a valued and honored citizen and the House, by this resolution, tenders its sympathy to the members of his family in their sorrow.

Be It Further Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be spread upon the Journal of the House, and that the Chief Clerk be directed to forward an enrolled copy to the family of the deceased.





Unanimously adopted, April 3, 1941.