Keokuk | Inducted 2011 | Category: Amateur Golfer/ Historical Selection

John Riley Maxwell exemplified all the qualities any organization would want in setting a standard of excellence. Born in Olney, Ill., the son of a country doctor, he went to Monmouth College and later to the University of Illinois where he became a prominent athlete in baseball and football. He graduated from Keokuk Medical College and became a member of the Keokuk faculty as a lecturer and assistant chair of surgery and a professor of anatomy. He was a member of Keokuk Country Club where he was club champion several times.

On August 30, 1900, Dr. John R. Maxwell of Keokuk defeated Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Warren Dickinson of Des Moines to become Iowa’s first state golf champion.  In 1903 he won the Trans-Mississippi Championship at Waveland Park Golf Course by defeating P. H. Finkbine in the final match.

Golf was a medal sport in the 1904 Olympic Games held in St. Louis.  Dr. Maxwell received a silver medal competing with the Trans-Mississippi Team which is believed to be a unique accomplishment in Iowa golf history.

Tragically, Dr. Maxwell died in 1906, just before his 35th birthday, of Bright ’s disease.

Career Highlights

  • First Iowa Amateur Champion, 1900
  • Trans-Mississippi Champion: 1903
  • Olympic Silver Medalist (St. Louis Games): 1904
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