COTTON, Aylett Rains (1826-1912)

COTTON, AYLETT RAINS, a Representative from Iowa; born in Austintown, Ohio, November 29, 1826; attended the local public schools and Cottage Hill Academy, Ellsworth, Ohio, in 1842 and 1843; taught school; moved to Iowa with his father, who settled near Dewitt, Clinton County, in 1844; attended Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa., in 1845; taught school at Union Academy, Fayette County, Tenn., 1845-1847; returned to Iowa in 1847; studied law; was admitted to the Clinton County bar in 1848 and practiced; went to California in 1849 and engaged in mining on the Feather River; returned to Iowa in 1851 and settled in Lyons; county judge of Clinton County 1851-1853; prosecuting attorney of Clinton County in 1854; mayor of Lyons 1855-1857; member of the State constitutional convention in 1857; member of the State house of representatives 1868-1870, and served as speaker during the last term; elected as a Republican to the Forty-second and Forty-third Congresses (March 4, 1871-March 3, 1875); was not a candidate for renomination in 1874; returned to California in 1883 and engaged in the practice of law in San Francisco, Calif., where he died October 30, 1912; interment in Woodlawn Cemetery, San Mateo County, Calif.

University of California
The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, CA
Papers: 1906, 54 pages.
The autobiography of Aylett Rains Cotton titled Across the Plains to California in 1849 and After, published in 1906. In the autobiography, Aylett Cotton includes reminiscences concerning early life in Ohio and Iowa, his teaching career in Tennessee, the treatment of African Americans in California, studying and practicing law in Iowa, and his journey to California by way of Salt Lake City. The book is also available on microfilm.

Papers: In the John M. Lewis Papers, ca. 1898-1915, 0.4 linear foot.
Correspondents include Aylett Rains Cotton.