A.D. Bailie, the firm founder, was born in 1857, in Effingham County, Illinois. He attended college in Normal, Illinois, and worked as a public school teacher while studying law the Wood Brothers Law Firm. During the Civil War, A.D. served in the Union Army. He sustained injuries that resulted in retained bullets in his arm. After the end of the war, he sat for the Bar Exam and was admitted to the practice of law in 1881. He re-located to the Storm Lake area and opened his practice. He served as county attorney in Buena Vista county in 1887 through 1888. He was also elected mayor of Storm Lake for several terms. He was appointed judge in the Fourteenth Judicial District, and served until 1913 when he returned to private practice. He also served as trustee for Buena Vista College.
Willis Edson was born and raised on a farm in Will County, Illinois. His family moved to the Sac County area when Willis was eleven years old. He attended Buena Vista College, and University of Iowa College of Law.. He played football at Iowa and was named an All-American. He joined the law firm in 1901. He served two terms as county attorney, was elected mayor, and served four terms as an Iowa State Representative. He served as President of the Board of Trustees at Buena Vista College. He was instrumental in obtaining funding to remain open during the Great Depression and Edson Hall on campus is named in his honor. Willis and his wife, Ethel Bailie Edson, had four children. His daughter Jean later married James Roland Hamilton.
James “Bones” Hamilton
Bones was born and raised in Iowa. He attended Buena Vista College, working in the cafeteria to support himself to graduation. After graduation he played baseball for a New York Yankee scout team. After enough wasted time, he attended Creighton Law School. Bones and all four of his siblings served in World War II, and was stationed at an airfield in England. When he returned to Iowa, he joined the law practice with his father-in-law, Willis. He practiced law for over forty years. He served as County Attorney for Buena Vista County and was appointed to the state conservation board by Governor Harold Hughes, who became a close friend and confidant. Bones and his wife, Jean, had eight children. Their children: Steve, Willis, and Mary continued the practice to its fourth generation.