Professional success results from merit. Frequently in commercial life one may come into possession of a lucrative business through inheritance or gift, but in what is known as the learned professions advancement is gained only through painstaking and long-continued effort. The lawyer or physician does not enjoy the privilege of exploiting his profession in order to gain a clientele. He must thoroughly prepare himself and be educated broadly in order that his mental development may be such as to enable him to quickly grasp the points of a cause presented for his consideration. He must be well grounded in the deep, underlying principles of his profession; whereas, the business man or merchant often engages in trade or commerce with little or no preparation other than his native ability. It frequently happens that members of the legal profession are called upon the take charge of extensive business undertakings, lawyers being required in the conduct of great corporations and kindred concerns on account of their thorough, and well-grounded knowledge of business law and ethics. As a general rule, they are excellent financiers and not infrequently achieve success in other lines which may properly be conducted along with their legal business. A high type of successful attorney, a prominent member of the bar of western Iowa, is found in the person of Charles Bagley, of Audubon, whose name forms the caption of this biographical sketch.
Charles Bagley was born on May 29, 1854, in West Liberty, Cedar county, Iowa, son of William A. and Lucretia (Burgan) Bagley, natives of the old Buckeye state. The Bagley family is a very old one in America, Charles Bagley tracing his lineage back to Mary Chilton, who came over from England in the "Mayflower." The father of William A. Bagley emigrated from Vermont to Ohio and thence to Iowa, where he became the owner of the land on which the city of West Liberty was built. This tract was deeded to William A. Bagley by his mother after his father's death. William A. Bagley, after he grew to manhood, married and settled on a farm in Muscatine county, after a residence in Cedar county, where Charles was born. In 1873 he removed to Cass county and tilled a fine farm there until his retirement to the city of Atlantic, where he died in 1909.
To William A. and Lucretia (Burgan) Bagley were born the following children: W. F., of Topeka, Kansas; Bert, a farmer near Atlantic, Iowa; Mrs. Mary Smedley, of Randolph, Nebraska; Mrs. Hattie Alexander, a resident of Colby, Kansas; Mrs. Kate Alexander, of Atlantic, Iowa; Mrs. Sallie Ellett, living at Guthrie Center, Guthrie county, Iowa; Charles, the subject of this sketch; Emma, who died at the age of twenty-five years; Louise, of Atlantic, and Scott, residing in Oregon.
Charles Bagley was educated in the district school and at a select school at Walton Junction, Iowa, later attending the high school at Atlantic. From his boyhood days, he practically made his own way and educated himself in preparation for the practice of law. The only assistance that he received from his father was a team of horses. This team was given
him to assist him in farming. After attending the high school, Mr. Bagley taught school and farmed in order to raise money with which to defray the expenses of a higher education. He managed to gain a liberal education, not only in literature and the sciences but in the legal department of the State University as well, and was graduated from the collegiate department of the State University, and also was graduated, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, in the State University at Iowa City in 1881. He taught a term of school in Nebraska in 1881 and then located in Audubon, where he became one of the pioneer attorneys of the new and growing town. He began the practice of law and also took up the real estate and insurance business and has been successful in his various enterprises. He also added an abstract department which he is yet conducting with the assistance of his two sons, who are now associated with him in the offices. Mr. Bagley has prospered and has a fair share of this world's goods. He is the owner of a farm of two hundred and fifty-five acres in Audubon county, in addition to being the owner of considerable real estate.
In 1888, Charles Bagley was united in marriage with Amanda Williams, of Audubon, a native of Jasper county, Iowa, daughter of Richard Williams, to which union four children have been born, namely: Louis C., a graduate of the Audubon high school and the law college of the State University, who is now with his father in the law offices; Frank, also a graduate of the Audubon high school, likewise associated with his father, and Marion and Russell, students in the high school.
Mr. Bagley is a member of the Presbyterian church and contributes of his time and means to the support of that denomination. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias. He is a Republican, but has never been an office seeker nor sought political preferment to any extent. However, he fulfilled his civic obligations to his home town by serving two terms as mayor of Audubon. Otherwise, he has been content to take his place in the ranks of the mass of voters and vote for his favorite principles of government and for the most capable candidates who, in his estimation, were best fitted to fill the offices sought. Mr. Bagley is a cultured, well-read and broad-minded gentleman, who is highly esteemed by all who know him in his home community.