Biography of Charles P. Soule
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





CHARLES PARSONS SOULE. - Mr. Soule's association with the business life of Humboldt county has been and is primarily as a banker, but his influence as an authority on financial matters has extended into various fields of enterprise. His strong personality, liberal ideas and courage in taking a progressive stand on questions affecting vitally the welfare of town, county or wider territory have made him one of the live factors in the promotion of all movements whose object has been the betterment of local conditions, whether of a business nature or purely in the interest of social improvement. Possessed of ability which needed an adequate outlet, and high principled in his dealings with all men, he has been found competent and trustworthy in every test. He is an honorable descendant of honored American ancestry. The name he bears has been a respected one in New England from Colonial days. His father, Philander Soule, born in Maine in 1812, emigrated to California in the early '50s, locating at San Francisco, where he joined his brother, Samuel Soule, who became a prominent business man. After a stay of a year or more in San Francisco he returned to Maine, where he remained until 1867, that year returning to California with his family and settling at San Francisco, in which city he made a permanent home. He died there in 1896, at the great age of eighty four years. Mr. Soule was a farmer, and at various times in his life also engaged in merchandising. He married Abigail Burnham, who died in 1853. The Soules trace their lineage back to George Soule and Miles Standish, both passengers on the Mayflower in 1620.

Charles Parsons Soule was born September 18, 1851, at Winslow, Me., and was named for a cousin of his mother, a prominent business man of New York. His education was obtained principally in his native state, in the public schools and at Colburn Classical Institute, Waterville. After coming to San Francisco, in November, 1867, he took a course at the Pacific business college to receive special preparation for business. His career as a banker began in July, 1868, when he became messenger in the employ of the Bank of California, in San Francisco, and at the instance of that institution he was sent the following year to Virginia City, Nev., where he acted as bookkeeper in the office of the Virginia City and Truckee Railroad Company. Returning to the Bank of California in the spring of 1870, he was employed as clerk there until the summer of 1871, when he went back to Nevada to take the position of bookkeeper for the agency of the Bank of California at Hamilton, White Pine county. In January, 1873, he was offered the position of cashier in the bank of Paxton & Curtis, at Austin, Nev., and accepted, holding it until he was elected to represent his district in the Nevada legislature, for 1879-80. At this time he moved to Reno and was admitted to membership in the banking firm of Paxton, Curtis & Co., the association lasting until the firm discontinued banking operations in that state in the spring of 1889. Mr. Soule then returned to California, in the fall of the year settling at Eureka, where he has since resided.

It was not long before Mr. Soule was in the thick of business activities here. Largely as the result of his efforts the Bank of Eureka and the Savings Bank of Humboldt County, in both of which he holds positions of high responsibility, were established, and their success has been attributed measurably to his farsighted policy and conservative management. He was director and cashier of both banks until 1902, when he was elected president of the Bank of Eureka and vice president of the Savings Bank, in which capacities he is still connected with their operation. Mr. Soule has always used his influence in financial circles to place local business on a sound footing, and whenever possible has aided the merchants and other business men of the town by accommodations when in his judgment conditions could be worked out to the best advantage by so doing. He is conservative to a proper degree, but experience has taught him that generosity and unselfishness are not incompatible with good business methods, and this policy has been instrumental in making many progressive movements successful. In this respect, as much as in the discharge of public duties directly intrusted to him, he has shown an exemplary degree of public spirit.

In 1891, when the Humboldt chamber of commerce was organized, Mr. Soule was one of the organizers, and served as trustee and treasurer continuously until the present time, except the year 1904, when he served as president. He belonged to this organization at the time it secured an appropriation from the Federal government for the improvement of Humboldt Bar, and as such assisted in securing the enactment of legislation giving the sum of $1,750,000 for the construction of the jetty and the deepening of the channel. This was subsequently augmented by $1,037,000 and recently by a 'further sum of $500,000. He was one of the movers in the formation of the Humboldt County Development Committee, which is doing effective work. Other enterprises in which he has been interested are the Eureka Water Company and the Skinner Duprey Drug Company, in both of which he has been a director. He was one of the committee of citizens chosen to solicit a donation for a free public library building for Eureka, and the handsome library obtained is a credit to the city and to those who gave their services to secure it. Mr. Soule has been a prominent member of the Humboldt Club, took an active part in founding it, was made a trustee at the time of its organization, and has since served a term as president. Fraternally he is a member of the Elks and the Masons, in the latter connection belonging to the Knights Templar and the Shrine; he has attained the thirty second degree. On political questions Mr. Soule is a Republican.

On August 6, 1872, Mr. Soule was married, at Hamilton, in White Pine county, Nev., to Mrs. Mary A. (Herriott) Kennedy, daughter of Ephraim and Frances (Waugh) Herriott. She is a native of Pennsylvania. The only child of this union, Amy D. Soule, is the wife of H. W. Lownsberry, of San Jose, Cal., who has two daughters, Eleth Agnes, born in 1898, and Carmine Soule, born in 1906.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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