Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 388-90.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Charles C. Colwell

In considering the lives and characters of prominent men we are naturally led to inquire into the secret of their success and the conditions that prompted their ambition.  Success is not a matter of genius, as held by many, but rather results from experience and sound judgment, for when we trace the career of those who stand highest in public esteem we find in nearly every case that they are those who have risen gradually, fighting their way in the face of all opposition.  Self-reliance, conscientiousness, courage, interest—these are the traits of character that insure the highest emoluments and greatest success.  To these may we attribute the prosperity that has crowned the efforts of Charles C. Colwell.  Born in Vinton, Iowa, December 19, 1865, he is a son of James Marigold Colwell, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, who is now living in Los Angeles, California, at the age of sixty-nine years.  He is of English and Scotch ancestry and many of the sterling characteristics of those races are manifest in his life.  At the time of the Civil war he enlisted in the Union army, but before he reached the front was discharged on account of physical disability.  By trade he was a saddler and harnessmaker [sic], and for forty-four years continued in business of that character in Vinton, Iowa.  The years marked his growing prosperity and his success at length enabled him to retire in 1903.  He now makes his home in sunny California and is enjoying there the rest which has come to him as the logical sequence of his former labor.  He is a Royal Arch Mason and a member of the Mystic Shrine, and for many years he has belonged to the Universalist church.  In politics he is a republican, voting with the party since its organization.  In early manhood he married Lucinda Lathrop, who was born in Indiana and died in 1883, at the age of forty-two years.  She, too, was a member of the Universalist church.  Of a family long connected with America, its identification with the interests of this country dates back to a time prior to the Revolutionary war, in which some of the name served.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Colwell were born four children:  Nettie J. is the wife of J. D. Deupree, of Los Angeles, California, who was formerly an attorney at law in Storm Lake and was clerk of the courts for seven years, but resigned his position in order to move to Los Angeles, California; Edgar H., of San Francisco, is now manager of the ready print department of the Pacific Type Foundry Company; William A. is a dealer in books and stationery at Holleywood [sic], a suburb of Los Angeles, and is one of the chief officers of the California State Anti-Saloon League, devoting much of his time and energy to that cause.


The youngest member of the family is Charles C. Colwell, who attended school at Vinton, Iowa, and at Glenwood, this state.  He then learned the printer's trade and in 1886 came to Buena Vista county, where he worked at the case in the office of the Sioux Rapids Press for a few months.  On the expiration of that period he took charge of the paper and continued as its manager for three years.  Removing to Storm Lake he was foreman of the Storm Lake Pilot for four years and later went to the Vidette office, where he remained as foreman for three years.  When the Pilot and Tribune merged he became foreman in the office of the new paper and so continued for three years, or until January, 1899, when he purchased of James M. Hoskins the Sioux Rapids Republican and conducted the paper until January 1, 1907.


In 1906 Mr. Colwell purchased the Sioux Rapids Press in connection with J. E. Durkee, and the Colwell-Durkee Printing Company was formed, the two papers being merged under the name of the Republican-Press.


On the 1st of January, 1907, however, Mr. Colwell retired from the paper to assume the duties of clerk of the district court, to which he had been elected the preceding fall, and for which office he was renominated in June, 1908, without opposition on either ticket, so that he is now serving for the second term.


On the 13th of July, 1887, Mr. Colwell was married to Miss Belle Hoskins, who was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, and has been a resident of Buena Vista county from the age of seven years.  She is a daughter of Amasa and Jane (Murdoch) Hoskins, her father a captain of the Civil war, serving with a Wisconsin regiment.  He has been dead for many years, but the mother is still living and makes her home with Mrs. Colwell.


Unto Mr. and Mrs. Colwell have been born two children:  Verna May, who was born in Sioux Rapids, Iowa, May 9, 1888, and is now a clerk in her father's office, and Ada Belle, who was born in Sioux Rapids, July 13, 1900.


In his fraternal relations Mr. Colwell is a Royal Arch Mason and also a member of the Knights of Pythias.  In politics he is a republican and during his early residence in Storm Lake served as a member of the city council.  He was also president of the Sioux Rapids school board for five years and served in the council there for a similar period.  His official duties have ever been discharged in a most prompt and able manner and no higher testimonial of his excellent services could be given than the fact that he resigned another positon [sic] when renominated for the office which he is now filling.