Charles H. Collister


Carroll County Biography



Charles H. Collister, Chief Clerk at Savanna for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company, has filled this position with credit to himself and satisfaction to the Company, at this point, for the past five years. His railroad experience began as baggageman, in the employ of the Northwestern Railroad at Belle Plaine, Iowa, after which he became identified with the present company, with whom he has since remained.

Mr. Collister was born in Belle Plaine, Iowa, Feb. 2, 1858, and is the son of James Collister, a native of the Isle of Man, who came of pure Manx ancestry. He was a resident of his native isle until a lad of fourteen years, then set out alone for America, locating in Cuyahoga County, Ohio; learned the trade of blacksmith, at which he worked in Cleveland some years. In that city he was also married to Miss Ann Kewish, who was born not far from the childhood home of her husband, on the Isle of Man, and came, in her girlhood, with her parents to the United States; they settling in Cleveland, Ohio, where they lived until the death of the father, which occurred when he was in the prime of life. The mother later removed to Iowa, and died at the home of her daughter, at the age of seventy years.

After the settlement of the parents of Mr. Collister in Cleveland, Ohio, there was born one child, a daughter Libby. The family in 1856 removed to Iowa, settling in the vicinity of Belle Plaine, where the father followed this trade for a time, but later engaged in general merchandising, operating largely in drugs and hardware for a period of thirteen years. In the fall of 1880 he emigrated to Montana Territory, where he became interested as a fur dealer, residing in Butte, Montana.

The parental household of our subject included the following children, of whom Charles H. was the second child and only son. The others were names, respectively, Kate, Lillie, Ida, Susie, Anna, and Maude. The latter are all at home with their parents. Charles H. was educated in the common schools, and made such good use of his time that he developed into a teacher, which profession he followed a few seasons, then became interested in railroading. He was married at Maquoketa, Oct. 28, 1881, to Miss Ella B. French.

Mrs. Collister was born in Red Cloud, Minn., Dec. 2, 1859, and is the daughter of Hiram B. and Diantha R. (Truax) French, who were natives, respectively, of Vermont and Canada. They were married in the Green Mountain State, whence they emigrated first to Minnesota and later to Maquoketa, Iowa. Mr. French was a farmer by occupation, and died at his homestead in Maquoketa, February, 1884, when about sixty-five years old. The wife and mother was subsequently married to Mr. James R. Gage, an attorney-at-law, and is now a resident of San Jose, Cal.

Mrs. Collister was reared and educated in her native township, and received a thorough musical instruction, becoming a skillful performer on the piano, and a teacher likewise, which she followed successfully for some time before her marriage. Of this union there are two children, a son and a daughter, viz.: Eddo M. and Lloyd F. Mrs. Collister regularly attends the Episcopal Church, and is a lady greatly respected in this community. Our subject, politically, is an uncompromising Democrat, and, socially, is a charter member of the K. of P., Deering Lodge No. 128, in Savanna, in which he has filled all the offices, and is now District Deputy Grand Chancellor. He has twice represented his lodge in the Grand Lodge, and is a leading light in the fraternity. To the duties of his present position in connection with the railroad he gives most faithful and efficient attention, acquitting himself in a creditable manner, and with satisfaction to all concerned.

Transcribed & Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits and Biographical Album Jo Daviess & Carroll Counties, IL (1889) pg 993

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