biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
CAPT. CHARLES P. SEARLE, of Oskaloosa, is a pioneer of 1854, and located in this city in May of that year. He was born in Chester, Hampden Co., Mass., April 16, 1831, and is a son of Zenas and Julia (Sheldon) Searle, also natives of Massachusetts. Charles P. was the youngest son and the seventh child of a family of four sons and four daughters, and is the only member of the family residing west of Ohio, His early years were passed upon the farm, receiving his education in the common schools, supplemented by two terms at an academy. He resided at home until he reached the age of twenty years. His father then gave him $25 in money, and for the first time in his life he left his native State, and also for the first time enjoyed the novel experience of a ride on the cars and by steamboat. He went direct to Painesville, Ohio, and entered a machine-shop for the purpose of learning the trade. He had worked a few days only, when on the 16th of May, 1850, his right arm was caught between the belt and shaft, which was revolving at the rate of sixty revolutions per minute, and was broken in four places. He went to Kinsman, Ohio, where relatives were living and remained with them until his recovery. In the fall of 1850, he engaged with his brother-in-law at that place as clerk in a store, serving him one year for a salary of $75 and board, yet from this meager compensation he saved some money and remained at Kinsman until 1854. During that year the western fever seized him, and he turned his face toward the setting sun, came to Iowa, and located at Oskaloosa. At this time in the history of our State there was not a mile of railroad in operation within its borders. His first business experience in this city was that of a dry-goods clerk, and in the spring of 1855 he became a partner in the business, the name of the firm being Hardy, Seine & Young. One year later he sold out his interest and retired from the firm, but continued to conduct his dry- goods business alone until 1861, when he closed out his business and enlisted as a soldier in the Civil War. He was mustered into service in August, 1861, as a private soldier in Co H, 8th Iowa Vol. Inf. At the organization of the regiment at Camp McClellan, Davenport, he was promoted Sergeant Major. The regiment removed from its rendezvous to Benton Barracks, St. Louis., Mo., where they were placed under command of Gen. McKinstry, and taken on a forced march to Springfield, Mo., to resist the advance of the rebel General Sterling Price, who was driven back into Arkansas. The regiment then went to Sedalia, Mo., and spent the winter of 1861Ä62. In November, 1861, Sergt. Maj. Searle was commissioned First Lieutenant of Co I, 8th Iowa Vol. In!. In March, 1862, they were ordered to Pittsbnrg Landing, participated in the battle of Shiloh, and during the afternoon of the first day's fighting nearly the entire regiment, with others of Gen. Prentiss' division, were taken prisoners by the rebels, and remained in prison until November, 1862, when they were exchanged at Libby Prison. After a furlough of thirty days the regiment was re-organized, again entered the service, and was sent down the Mississippi River with Mr. Searle as Captain of Company I, to assist in the capture of Vicksburg, participated in the various engagements immediately preceding the investment of that city, including the charge of May 22, and were forty days in the trenches round about that beleaguered city. Immediately following the surrender of Pemberton to Gen. Grant on the 4th of July, the 8th Iowa was of the army that started eastward driving Gen. Johnson's army of reinforcement across Black River and into the fortifications at Jackson. The enemy succeeded in getting out of Jackson, and across Pearl River, and being pursued gave battle at Brandon, Miss. The 8th fought gallantly on this occasion, won the battle, returned to Vicksbnrg and shortly afterward was sent to Memphis, Tenn., where they did provost duty for eight months. During this time the rebel General, Forest, made his famous raid into Memphis. It was a hand-to-hand conflict, and Capt. Searle was wounded by a sabre stroke across the right ear, received a permanent spinal injury, and was taken prisoner, but succeeded in making his escape a few hours later. His wife was with him on a visit at the time, saw him wounded and taken prisoner, and that Sabbath day, Aug. 21, 1864, was a memorable one for both of them. As his wounds were of a character disabling him for further active service he resigned his commission in January, 1865, and came home. After his return from the service in the fall of 1865, Capt. Searle visited his native State, accompanied by his wife and child, and spent the winter among the scenes of his boyhood days. During the spring of 1866 he formed a partnership with Capt. C. S. Wells, now of Knoxville, Iowa, and engaged in the retail grocery trade in this city. In the fall of 1867 Mr. Searle was elected Clerk of Courts of this county, and served four full terms. At the expiration of his term of office he was admitted to the bar. Mr. Searle was elected and officiated for a time as Cashier of the First National Bank of this city. In the month of January, 1876, he purchased a set of abstract books and has since given his attention to abstract, insurance and brokerage. He represents twelve of the leading insurance companies of the world, and does the leading business in that line in the city. The Captain has been twice married, first to Miss Eliza Shangle, a native of Ohio ,Dec. 26, 1855. She departed this life in 1857. April 12, 1859, he espoused Miss Martha E. Turner, a daughter of Rev. Asa Turner, of Denmark, Lee Co., Iowa, a prominent and well-known minister of the Congregational Church, and organizer of the first church of that denomination in Iowa. By this union there have been, three children: Dora E. is the wife of Harry S. Howard, Vice President of the Mahaska County Bank of his city; Alice is a graduate of Grinnell College; and Hattie L. The family are members of the Congregational Church, and Capt. Searle has been Superintendent of the Sabbath- school of that society nearly twenty years. The Captain is esteemed one of our most successful business men, and has acquired a very comfortable fortune during his residence in this city. The elements which have conduced to bring about this desirable condition are those which obtain in the history of nearly every successful business manfirst, an integrity which establishes confidence in the minds of the public, then the ability to perform that which is promised, in a proper manner, not forgetting that uniform courtesy which wins patrons and retains them. Capt. Searle possesses this rare combination in a remarkable degree, hence his success. In all matters of public interest having for their object the advancement of the material interests of his fellow-citizens, he will always be found in the front ranks, not with his influence alone, but with his time, his labor and his money. In moral reform he stands upon the highest plane, in the forefront of the contest, and is fearless and outspoken in the advocacy of all measures having for their object the betterment of the condition of his fellow-men.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy