SLAGLE, Christian Wolff - 1890 Bio (1821-1882)
SLAGLE, SEWARD, BINGAMAN, BERRYHILL, JUNKIN
Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 8/25/2007 at 21:45:03
Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa, Printed 1890 by Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Christian W. SLAGLE. Among the lawyers who have stood in the front rank at the Jefferson County bar, none are more worthy a representation in this volume than the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. Whether as an advocate and judge of law, or a citizen, he is universally accorded the highest position. Of his ancestry, little is known, but as a man is the result of two forces -- heredity and environment -- it must follow that his parents, Jacob and Martha SLAGLE, possessed rare endowments of mind and soul.
Christian W. SLAGLE was born in Washington, Pa., on the 17th of November, 1821. His educational advantages were the best the times afforded. After attending the schools of his native town, he entered Washington College and graduated with honor from the classical course in 1840. Having taught school for a year in Accomack County, Va., he returned to Washington and began the study of his chosen profession in the law office of Hon. Thomas M. T. McKennon, a man of excellent attainments and wide reputation. After two years of careful reading, Mr. SLAGLE was admitted to the bar in 1843. Thereupon he and George Acheson, his life-long friend and companion, formed a partnership with the intention of establishing themselves in the legal profession somewhere in the Territory of Iowa. After six weeks travel by the then rapid means of conveyance, they arrived in Fairfield on the 23rd of April. For thirty-eight years the sign, "SLAGLE & Acheson," announced their continued business relations and during all those years, the sweet friendship of childhood was never marred nor broken and was severed only when death called Mr. Acheson away. They did not experience a starving time, as many a young law firm has done, but business came to them from the first. Faithful to their clients and the honor of their profession, they became widely known as conscientious, able lawyers. The volume of their business continued to increase through the years, but by methodical and well directed efforts they were enabled to attend carefully to all details of their own business and also take an active part in social affairs. That as an advocate, a counselor and a judge of the law, Mr. SLAGLE was held in high esteem, is evinced by the fact that his name was freely spoken of in connection with the office of Representative in Congress, Judge of the District and Circuit Courts, Governor of the State and other responsible positions. In 1856 he declined a district judgeship of the State and in 1880 he refused to accept the nomination of Circuit Judge tendered by the Republican convention held in Oskaloosa. Such was his love for an unostentatious life that he refused all political preferment. But it was as a citizen that his character shone out with the brightest lustre. Whatever looked toward the improvement of the town, the county or society, he assisted liberally with his time, his talents and his means. When in 1849, it was proposed to establish a branch of the State University in Fairfield, Mr. SLAGLE was one of the warmest friends of the project. Ten years later when the independent school district of Fairfield was formed, the subject of this notice was chosen a member of the board of directors and thus aided in establishing the first graded school in the county. Much credit is due him for his untiring efforts in the upbuilding and maintaining of Parsons College of which he was an honored trustee for a number of years. From 1868 until his death in 1882 he was a member of the Board of Regents, of the State University. In 1877, through the resignation of Dr. Thatcher, the President's chair in the State University became vacant and the board unanimously elected Mr. SLAGLE to fill the vacancy. After much importunity, he was induced to accept, though at great personal sacrifice, for his partner had become incapacitated for hard work, leaving him with the extensive business of the law firm on his hands. In this, as in every other position to which he was called, he showed himself master of the situation, though he held it only until a suitable person could be found to take his place.
The Fairfield Library and Museum, containing more than ten thousand volumes, and over six thousand specimens, is a monument to the enterprise, energy and liberality of a number of the leading citizens of Fairfield. Mr. SLAGLE was one of the first and most earnest workers in its erection. He was one of the first trustees of the Library Association in which position he remained until the close of his life. If any business enterprise was on foot, Mr. SLAGLE could always be depended upon to aid in its promotion. He labored hard to procure the railroads with which Fairfield and the county are blessed; was a stockholder, director and vice-president in the First National Bank; one of the founders of the Jefferson County Coal Company, a stockholder in the Fairfield Ice Company; in short, there is scarcely an enterprise in city or county whose success was not, in some degree, due to his generosity. Nor were the farmers forgotten by him. He was one of the founders of the Jefferson County Agricultural Society and at a meeting of the society October 15, 1853, offered a resolution which resulted in the organization of the State Agricultural Society -- now the State Fair.
Politically Mr. SLAGLE first espoused the principles embodied in the old Whig platform. During the agitation of the slavery question, he took a strong stand against that institution and on the rise of the Republican party adopted its principles. Throughout the war, though incapacitated for service himself, he did all in his power to ameliorate the hard life of the soldier boys from Iowa and to make the Union cause triumphant. In the Master's vineyard, Mr. SLAGLE was a zealous worker, being for many years a trustee in the Congregational Church of Fairfield. The cause of prohibition also found in him a strong advocate and he was remarkable for always being on the right side of every question.
On the 26th of July, 1849, Mr. SLAGLE married Miss Nancy M. SEWARD, a native of Guilford, Conn. This union, which was also an ideal one, was blessed with six children, but Arthur B., the first-born, died in infancy; Fannie, is now the wife of Joseph P. BINGAMAN, a resident of Pittsburg, Pa.; Virginia J. is the wife of Hon. James G. BERRYHILL, one of the leading lawyers of Des Moines, Iowa; Grace wedded Charles M. JUNKIN, one of the proprietors of the Fairfield "Ledger"; Frank M. and Walter S. are associated in business in Alton, Iowa.
On the 23rd of October, 1882, in his sixty-first year, Mr. SLAGLE passed away from among the living. In point of time his life was short, but if "we live in deeds, not years," then did he reach a ripe age. The visible man is gone, but the impress of his life and character is left upon the institutions of his county and State and upon the lives and hearts of those with whom he was associated.
*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.
Jefferson Biographies maintained by Joey Stark.
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