El Dorado County
CHARLES A. SWISLER
In the last half of the nineteenth century the lawyer has been a pre-eminent factor in all affairs of private concern and national importance. The man versed in the laws of the country as distinguished from businessmen or professional politicians, has been a recognized power. He has been depended upon to conserve the best and permanent interests of the whole people, and without him and the approval of his practical judgment the efforts of the statesman and the industry of the businessman and mechanic would have proved futile. The reason is not far to seek. The professional lawyer is never the creature of circumstance. The profession is open to talent, and eminence or success cannot be obtained except by indomitable energy, perseverance, patience and strong mentality.
A most prominent and able member of the profession in Placerville, California, is Charles A. Swisler, whose life history cannot fail to prove of interest to many of our readers, owing to his wide acquaintance. He was born in Akron, Ohio, on the 24th of June, 1863, and through many generations his people have been American citizens. His father, Dr. Elias H. Swisler, was also born in Ohio, and when he had arrived at years of maturity he wedded Miss Mary Wise, a native of the same state. On emigrating to the west they located in Chico, California, but in 1879 removed to Placerville, where the father was engaged in the practice of medicine until 1882, when his life’s labors were ended in death, in his forty-eighth year. His wife passed away in 1897. The paternal grandfather was a physician and a Methodist minister, and Mrs. Swisler, the mother of our subject, was a valued member of the Presbyterian Church. The parents were both people of high respectability whose well-spent lives commended them to the confidence and good will of all with whom they came in contact.
Charles A. Swisler, their only child, acquired his preliminary education in the public schools of his native state, and in 1874 became a resident of California. Here he attended the Chico high school, Healdsburg College and the Placerville Academy, acquiring a broad and comprehensive literary knowledge to serve as a foundation upon which to rear the superstructure of his professional learning. Determining to make the practice of law his life work, he entered the law department of the University of California, and on the completion of the full course was one of six chosen as class orators. He graduated at the Hastings College of Law, with the degree of L. B., in 1883, and was thereupon admitted to practice in the supreme court of California and the United States courts at San Francisco. He has since been an active representative of his profession and has won a position of distinction in the legal fraternity. He was associated with Hon. George G. Blanchard until the latter’s death, which occurred in December, 1891, and since that time has continued in practice alone, acquiring a large and distinctively representative clientage which extends into adjoining counties. He has earned the reputation of having a thorough knowledge of the law and of being an able advocate and orator. The greatest characteristic of his mind is strength, his predominant faculty is reasoning and the aim of his eloquence is to convince. Merit has enabled him to mount the ladder of fame and he now occupies a prominent position.
Mr. Swisler is also a recognized leader in political circles, being a staunch Republican. In 1894 he became a candidate of his party for the assembly branch of the state legislature, and being elected, served in the session of 1895. He was a leading member of that body and left the impress of his individuality upon the legislation of the state. He served as a member of a number of important committees, among them the judiciary committee, the ways and means committee and the committee on roads and highways, having the chairmanship of the last mentioned; and he was the author of the bill whereby was established the Lake Tahoe wagon road, a state highway extending from Placerville to the eastern boundary of the state on the route to Carson City, Nevada. This was a measure of considerable importance and established the first state highway in California, besides restoring and improving an old and historic inter-state road, crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains to the state of Nevada. During his service in the assembly Mr. Swisler was a faithful worker and labored earnestly for the adoption of every measure intended to benefit the commonwealth. As few men have done, he seems to realize the importance of the profession to which he devotes his energies, and of the fact that justice and the higher attribute of mercy he often holds in his hands. His reputation as a lawyer has been won through honest, earnest labor, and his standing at the bar is a merited tribute to his ability.
In 1885 he married Miss Mabel Blanchard, a daughter of Hon. George G. Blanchard, then his law partner. They now have a daughter, whose name is Sybil. Mrs. Swisler is a valued member of the Presbyterian Church and is a lady of culture and refinement. They have a delightful home in Placerville and enjoy the high esteem of all who have the pleasure of their acquaintance. Mr. Swisler is an active member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to the blue lodge, chapter and commandery, and has the honor of being the eminent commander of El Dorado Commandery, No. 4, Knights Templar, which is located in Placerville. He is also a past noble-grand of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and for many years was the chairman of the committee on legislation in the grand lodge of that order. He was appointed by the government a member of the board of election commissioners for the reorganization of the city government of Placerville in January, 1900, and assisted in the reorganization of that city as president of that board.
He is also deeply interested in educational matters, and for a number of years has been, and still is, the chairman of the board of education of the city of Placerville. He also takes an active interest in military affairs, and is a regularly commissioned officer in the National Guard of California. He is the captain of Company H, of the Second Regiment of Infantry, Third Brigade, and his command is one of the most efficient companies in the state service.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.