biographical annals of Marion County, Illinois, would be incomplete were
there failure to make specific mention of the honorable gentleman, whose
name introduces this review, who is one of the county's ablest and most
distinguished native sons, for he had the sagacity early in youth to see
that better opportunities waited for him right here on his native heath than
other where, consequently his life labors have been confined to this
locality rather than in distant and precarious fields, and judging from the
eminent success he has here attained he was fortunate in coming to this
decision — to remain at home. Judge Holt has been prominently identified
with the industrial, material and civic progress of the community, having
ever stood for loyal and public-spirited citizenship, having been a potent
factor in bringing about the wonderful development in this favored section,
contributing his influence and energy in the transformation which has made
this one of the leading counties of the state, with its highly cultivated
farms, thriving towns and villages, its school-houses, churches and all
other evidences of progress and culture, and he is today not only one of the
leading attorneys and among the most highly honored citizens of Salem, the
beautiful and thriving county seat, but is recognized as one of the foremost
men at the bar in the state. In all the relations of life he has been
faithful to all the trusts reposed in him, performing his duty
conscientiously and with due regard for the welfare of others often at the
sacrifice of his own best interests and pleasures.
Charles H. Holt was born near Vernon, Marion county, Illinois, October 1, 1868, the only child of William H. Holt, and Sarah (Parsons) Holt, the former a native of Union county, and the latter a native of the state of Ohio. They were married in Marion county. The mother of the subject was called to her rest in November, 1892. William H. Holt is living in 1908, and making his home with the subject in Salem. The father was a soldier is the One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, having enlisted under Col. James S. Martin, who afterward became a general. Mr. Holt served gallantly for three years, or until his enlistment expired, his principal services being with Sherman on his march to the sea, and his campaigns around Atlanta. William H. Holt has been a useful and industrious man, scrupulously honest and he yet exercises considerable influence in his community. He and his worthy life companion spared no pains in giving their son, our subject, every possible advantage and encouragement to make the most of life, and many of his sterling attributes and noble traits of character may be traced to the wholesome home influence and uplifting environment in which he was reared. Henry Holt, grandfather of the subject, was one of the first settlers of Marion county, having come here from Tennessee, and participated in organizing the county and many of the county offices were indebted to his sound judgment for their early development. He was a public-spirited man and did an incalculable amount of good in furthering the interests of his community. Like many of the hardy pioneers of those early times, he possessed many sterling qualities and won the admiration of all who knew him.
Charles H. Holt, our subject, attended the country schools during the winter months while living on his father's farm and later the Salem high school, from which he graduated in the class of 1889. Being an ambitious lad from the first he applied himself most assiduously and outstripped many of the less courageous plodders of his day, making excellent grades. After leaving the high school he engaged in teaching with marked success for one year, then, thirsting for more knowledge, he entered Northwestern University at Chicago, taking a preparatory course the first year. Believing that his true life work lay along legal lines, he spent three years in a law office in Chicago and then located at Kinmundy, this county, and while living here, where his success was instantaneous, he became popular with his party, which nominated him for the responsible position of county judge, and he was subsequently elected by a handsome majority in 1898, serving two terms with entire satisfaction to his constituents and all concerned and in such a manner as to reflect great credit upon his ability, manifesting from the first that he had unmistakable judicial talent and a profound knowledge of law in its variegated phases.
In 1904 Judge Holt removed to Salem and at the expiration of his term of office resumed the practice of law, with a well equipped and pleasant suite of rooms in the Stonecipher building. He has one of the largest and best selected libraries to be found in Southern Illinois. Not only does the Judge keep posted on all the late judicial decisions and court rulings, but he is a well read man on scientific, literary and current topics, so that his conversation is at once animated and learned.
The Judge is a strong and influential advocate of the principles embodied in the Democratic party and is well fortified in his convictions, always ready to lend his influence and time to the furtherance of his party's interests and assist in placing the best men obtainable in the county offices. He has served as chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of Marion county, during which time he displayed rare acumen and sagacity in the management of the party's affairs.
Although Mr. Holt's extensive legal practice occupied the major part of his time, he has considerable business interests which he manages with uniform success. He is a stockholder in the Salem National Bank, and also in the Farmers' and Merchants' Bank of St. Peter, Illinois.
Judge Holt's happy and harmonious domestic life dates from 1897, when he was united in marriage to Frances W. Fox, the accomplished and cultured daughter of Dr. Jesse D. Fox, of Kindmundy, this county. Doctor Fox was one of the county's most noted physicians and best known citizens, who died about 1881. The following children have blessed the home of the subject with their cheer and sunshine: Dorothy F., who was born in May, 1898; Ward P., born in October, 1900; Frances S., who was born in October, 1904; Charlotte, whose date of birth occurred September 29, 1906. These children are all bright and winsome, giving promise of successful future careers. The Holt home is a model one, the residence being modern, commodious, well furnished and invaded with the most wholesome atmosphere.
Our subject in his fraternal relations is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, having occupied the chairs in both. He is truly a strong and prominent character, and owing to his individual personal traits, which are highly commendable, his past record, which is unmarred by a shadow, his pleasing address, kindly disposition, uprightness and public spirit, the future augurs still greater honors for the subject, for he has gained the undivided esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens throughout Marion and adjoining counties, and such a worthy character is seldom left alone by the public when services of a high order are constantly being sought.
Extracted 08 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 48-51.