Charles H. Sawyer by Rev. Geo. B. Spalding, D. D.

Charles Henry is the eldest son of Jonathan Sawyer, the sketch of whose life precedes this. He was born March 30, 1840, at Watertown. N. Y. At ten years of age, on the removal of his father to Dover, N. H., Charles, who had already become quite advanced in his studies, was sent to the district school in that place. The district school, although it has been supplanted by what is regarded as an improved system of education, had its own distinctive merits. The six years' training in it, under competent teachers, was sufficient to give young Sawyer a thoroughly practical education in those branches which are found to be essential to success in business life. Books can do little more than this. Experience must complete the training process. At sixteen years of age, it being determined that Charles was to enter into the business of his father, he was placed as an apprentice in the Sawyers' woolen-mills. The business to which a young man is to devote his life affords the very best means for his education in it. It proved to be so in this instance. The young apprentice, as he progressed from one stage to another, had the finest of opportunities for acquiring a full knowledge of all the diversified interests and sciences which belong to such a great industry. There is scarcely a branch in natural philosophy, physics, or the mechanical arts that is not intimately connected with the manufacture of woolens. But the manufacturing processes embrace only a part of the activities and requirements of such a business as the Sawyers. They are their own buyers and sellers in all the great markets of our own and other lands. Superadded to mechanical knowledge and skill, there must be the large intelligence, the clear foresight, the quick, unerring judgment, which belong to the accomplished financier. In this manufactory, based upon so varied knowledge, and calling into activity so many of the strong mental powers, Charles found a grand school, and such proficiency did he make in it, that when he came to his manhood he was abundantly qualified to take upon himself the duties and responsibilities of superintendent. He was appointed to this position in 1866. No small share of the distinguished success which has come to this establishment may be fairly attributable to the fidelity and perseverance in service, the keen sagacity and the great enterprise, which Charles H. Sawyer has brought to its every interest. In 1873, when the company became incorporated, he was admitted to the firm, and, at the same time, was appointed its agent and one of the directors. Since then he has been elected its president.

Mr. Sawyer has served in both branches of the Dover city government; was a member of the New Hampshire legislature in 1869 and 1870, and again in 1876 and 1877, serving on the committee on railroads, incorporations, judiciary, national affairs, and as chairman of the committee on manufactures. In 1881 he was appointed, by Governor Bell, a member of his military staff with rank of colonel. Mr. Sawyer is now acting as director of the Strafford National Bank and the Portsmouth & Dover Railroad, and trustee of the Strafford Savings Bank. He is a member of the Masonic order, taking a personal interest in all that concerns its prosperity. In 1867 he became a member of the Strafford Lodge, and was master in 1872 and 1873. He is a member of the St. Paul Commandry of Knights Templar, of which he has just been elected eminent commander for the fourth time.

Mr. Sawyer, in 1865, was married to Susan Ellen Cowan, daughter of Dr. James W. and Elizabeth Cowan.

Mr. Sawyer is not only a man of affairs, taking a deep personal interest in the various movements of politics, finance, and industrial life, but he is a man of large reading and is well acquainted with the best books and thoughts of the times. His judgments of men and measures are singularly free from partiality and prejudice. His conclusions are deliberately formed, and based upon a broad comprehension of all the related facts. His sense of justice is strong; his intellectual qualities are admirably balanced. He never is otherwise than perfectly poised. With all this he has the warmest heart, the quickest sympathies, great kindness of manner, and utmost geniality of spirit. In the reserve of his nature he withholds himself from all impetuous demonstrations; but, when the occasion demands, his influence, his advice, his friendship are put forth with commanding effect. Nature made him on a large scale, and books and experience and increasing converse with the best phases of social life are developing him into rare strength and symmetry of character.