Bio: Searl, Charles E. (Commemorative Bio - 1895)

Poster: Crystal Wendt

Charles E. Searl

Charles E. Searl, the pioneer jeweler of Merrill, Lincoln County, still continues in the same line in that city, where he is the one of the leading business men. He was born in Grand Rapids, Wis., March 14, 1851, and is a son of J. K. Searl, a native of the Buckeye State, born on June 2, 1818. The paternal grandfather, Elisha Searl, was born in Vermont, and by his marriage with Miss Boborety, who was of German descent, became the father of six children, namely: William, Frank J. K., a daughter whose name is not given, Loretta and Jemima. Near Dayton, Ohio, he carried on a hotel, but later removed to Illinois, locating near Rock Island, but afterward went to Iowa, where he passed his last days.

J. K. Searl, who was next to the youngest in his father’s family, acquired his education in the common schools. On reaching man’s estate he was married in Illinois to Miss Leah Kline, who was born in Nunda Valley, N. Y., in 1824, a daughter of George Kline. Her parents were both natives of Germany, where they were married, and to them was born a family of eight children: George, John, William, Elizabeth, Sarah, Leah, Charles and Mary. Her father was a contractor and builder, and on first coming west, located in Illinois, but in 1838 removed to Grand Rapids, Wis. His eldest son, George Kline, Jr., was among the first settlers of the latter place, arriving there in 1833. The son’s wife was the first white woman north of Fort Winnebago; she was the widow of Daniel Whitney, who built the first sawmill on the Wisconsin River. George Kline, Jr., also erected a mill at Grand Rapids at an early day, and his father’s death occurred there in 1853; the mother of Mrs. Searl died in 1870. George Jr., went to California about the year 1851.

The father of our subject also located in Grand Rapids, Wis., in 184?, where he lumbered, afterward dealing extensively in horses, and was something of a politician, holding many minor offices. He departed this life in December, 1892, in Merrill, though his home at the time was at Wautoma, Wis. To him and his worthy wife were born twelve children, two of whom died in infancy. The others are Mary J., Alonzo W., Charles E., Lillian, Henry, Emma E., Elbert F., Ernest E, Nila B., and Vinnie D. E. The mother after her marriage taught the first school in Grand Rapids, or in fact north of Fort Winnebago; this was in 1846, and was a private school. She was called to her final rest January 4, 1888. The eldest brother of our subject served during the Civil War was a member of the Fifty-second Wis. V. I.

Until he had reached the age of eighteen Charles E. Searl was able to attend school, thus acquiring a good common school education, and then carried the mail from Grand Rapids to Friendship, Wis., for his father. In the spring of 1870 he accompanied his parents to Adams County, Wis., but in the following fall he returned to Grand Rapids and commenced to learn the trade of jeweler with his uncle, William Kline, for whom he worked four years. In 1875 he went to Wautoma, Wis., and started in business for himself, at which place he continued three years, when he removed to Westfield, Wis., remaining there but one year, during the fall of 1879 closing out his business there and coming to Jennie, now known as Merrill. When he arrived here the village contained only about five hundred inhabitants, while now it is a flourishing little city of nine thousand. He was the first jeweler in the place, and still continues to conduct the same business, in which he has met with excellent success.

On December 23, 1875, Mr. Searl was united in marriage at Wautoma, Wis., with Miss Emma A. Bean, who was born in that city, in 1859, to Albert and Arvilla (Conner) Bean, both of whom were natives of New Hampshire, and is one of the family of eight children—Charles, John, Francena, George, Fred, Katie, Ed, and Emma A. Her parents came to Wisconsin in 1856, where her father followed his trade of blacksmithing; his death occurred in 1872, that of his wife in 1880. To Mr. and Mrs. Searl were born six children; to wit.: Ed, who is married and lives in Merrill; Harl, Ethel, Arthur and Nile at home; and Glen, who died at the age of about eighteen months.

Mr. Searl may be properly classed among the self-made men of Lincoln County, who by the exercise of their own industry and perseverance have not only gained for themselves a competence, but have materially assisted in the progress and advancement of the country around them. He has made many friends since coming to Merrill, and by all with whom he comes in contact is held in the highest respect. Socially he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, while politically he casts his vote with the Prohibition Party as it embodies his views on the temperance question.

---Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin Counties of Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Marathon, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Langlade and Shawano. publ. 1895 by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago 1110 pages, illustrated; Page 144-145


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