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Marshall, in Oneida County, for two consecutive years, when he was but fourteen and fifteen years of age; and in 1825 he was assistant teacher in the Utica Academy. He was also shortly after engaged in business as a clerk with Messrs. Hart & Gridley, merchants, in Utica. In 1826 his father took him to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and placed him under the tutorship of Rev. Caleb Stetson, to prepare him for admission to Harvard University. He entered the Freshman class, at Harvard, in February, 1827, and was graduated there in the year 1830. Among his classmates was Charles Sumner, between whom and Mr. Tower a very close friendship grew up, which continued through many years, and lasted until Mr. Sumner's death.*
After graduation, Mr. Tower began, in 1831, the study of the law, in the office of Hon. Harmanus Bleecker, in Albany, New York. The death of his father occurring in the next year, his family interests recalled him to Waterville, Oneida County, New York, the home of his family, where he continued his studies. He went later to New York City, and finished his study of the law in the office of Messrs. John L. and James L. Graham. He was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, at Utica, in October, 1836. He began the profession, in New York City, in the office of Messrs. Graham and Sanford, continued it later in Waterville, and was engaged at the latter place, for some years, in manufacturing and commercial pursuits. Returning, however, to his practice, he won a foremost place at the bar of Oneida County.
Some legal questions that arose in connection with his practice took him to Pennsylvania, in 1846, for the examination of the title to large bodies of mineral land, lying chiefly in the County of Schuylkill. Resulting from this, Mr. Tower married Amelia Malvina Bartle, the daughter of Lambert B. Bartle and Sarah (Herring) Bartle, his wife, at Orwigsburg, on the 14th day of June, 1847, by whom he had one son and six daughters; and his legal interests induced him to take up his residence in Pennsylvania, which he did, in the spring of 1848, at Orwigsburg, at that time the county-seat of Schuylkill County, where he lived until 1850, when, upon the removal of the county-seat to Pottsville, he also moved his residence to that place. He lived in Pottsville from 1850 to 1875.
* See Peirce's Life of Sumner, passim.
Mr. Tower's career at the bar in Pennsylvania brought him in contact with some of the most difficult and intricate questions of law, more especially upon the subject of titles toʻlands. The great coal-fields of the State had become the subject of widespread litigation, which led to the trial of cases that frequently involved estates of large value, and the conduct of which called into action the best legal talent of the day. Mr. Tower's life during this period of more than twenty-five years was exceedingly active and laborious. It was his custom to prepare his cases for trial, not only with a wonderful nicety of detail, so that in coming before the court he was prepared to meet the most exacting inquiry, but also to go out upon the lands themselves, which often lay in a mountainous country, almost inaccessible by reason of thick forest and heavy undergrowth, and to run the lines and establish the monuments himself, in company with his engineers.
His excellent training in early life, his patient labor and untiring industry, as well as his good judgment in questions of law, and his able treatment of them, won for him a standing at the bar among the foremost lawyers in Pennsylvania. While his devotion to the interests of his clients, and his sterling integrity as a man, brought him a very wide practice, his opinion upon questions of title was esteemed so highly that it is not unusual, even now, to hear him quoted in open court as authority.
Mr. Tower was the leading counsel in the famous trials that arose out of questions relating to the Munson and Williams estate, in Schuylkill County, comprising a large body of coal lands, the litigation in regard to which he carried along for more than twenty-five years. He mastered it, and perfected the title to these lands, which are now the property of the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company; and his footsteps may be traced through many other great legal battles in different counties of Pennsylvania.
At the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, Mr. Tower's loyalty to the Union was instant and decisive. Although he was fifty-two years of age, and long accustomed to the sedentary habits of his profession, he determined to take the field. He enlisted a body of two hundred and seventy men, within one week, at Pottsville, and proceeded with them to Harrisburg, where they were mustered into the service of the United States on the 21st day of April, 1861. They were divided into two whole companies and part of a third, and attached to the Sixth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, in the three months' campaign. Mr. Tower having asked to be made captain, received his commission at the time of their entering the service and commanded, throughout its term, one of his companies,—Company H, Sixth Regiment. He was under the command of General Robert Patterson, and moved into Virginia by way of Chambersburg and Hagerstown, crossing the Potomac River at Williamsport, June 21, 1861, and taking part in the action at Falling Waters, very early in the war. Mr. Tower provided uniforms for his whole company at his own expense. He was mustered out of service with his men, at the end of their term of service, at Harrisburg, on the 26th of July, 1861, whence he returned to his family. Afterwards he paid a bounty of five dollars a man to a full company, recruited for three years by Captain Henry Pleasants (his second lieutenant in the three months' campaign; later, brigadier-general); this was Company C, Forty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, which performed much honorable service and became distinguished in the war.
On the 15th of August, 1861, Mr. Tower's men, who had served under him in the campaign, marched to his residence in Pottsville and presented him with an exceedingly handsome sword, bearing this inscription:
Presented by the Tower Guards, of Pottsville, Pa.,
To Capt. CHARLEMAGNE TOWER,
Mr. Tower was appointed United States Provost Marshal for the Tenth Congressional District of Pennsylvania, on the 18th of April, 1863, which commission he held until his resignation on the 1st of May, 1864, during a period of great national anxiety and many difficulties that
difficulties that at this time grew out of the carrying on of the war. His administration was soldierly, vigorous, and consistent, and won for him high distinction at Washington.
Mr. Tower continued in the practice of his profession, after his return from the war, until 1875, when he retired from activity at the bar, and in the fall of that year moved to Philadelphia, in order to devote himself to his private interests, in various industries and enterprises, which had grown to be very large. During his residence in Pennsylvania he had become owner of large bodies of coal land, and was director in several corporations, in which he was a party in interest. He was part owner in the wellknown Coxe and Tower lands, on the Green Mountains in Schuylkill County. He was one of the original proprietors of the
Honey Brook Coal Company,” and for many years one of its managers, and he took an active part, in conjunction with Mr. Charles Parrish and Mr. John Taylor Johnston, in transforming that successful enterprise into the “Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company.” He was also actively interested in the construction and management of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and a member of its Board of Directors for several years. The assistance given by him to this road, by both personal attention to its affairs and financial support, frequently, when it became necessary, were of very great value to the company; and Mr. Tower may fairly be said to have contributed largely to its ultimate success. His judgment and foresight in business affairs placed him among the few men who never lost confidence in the value of this road, or in the great future development of the country through which it has been built.
The greatest and the most successful undertaking, perhaps, of Mr. Tower's long business career was his development of the iron resources of Minnesota, now well known to the world as the Vermilion Range. The presence of large deposits of iron ore in that country having been brought to his attention about the year 1875, he made a thorough investigation of their quantity and value by sending out several expeditions to explore them and report to him; the result of which having proved extremely favorable, he concluded to proceed with their actual development. The enterprise was a daring one. These ore bodies lay in St. Louis County, Minnesota, some ninety miles north-east from Duluth and about seventy miles in a direct line north from the north shore of Lake Superior. The country was densely wooded, was traversed by many small streams and broken by long stretches of swamp that in the summer season were almost impassable. Provisions, as well as materials and supplies, could only be transported in midwinter, laboriously, over the frozen ground and on the snow, frequently at a temperature of forty degrees Fahrenheit below zero, and in the summer carried upon the backs of men, or over a circuitous route by Indians in canoes. The opening and working of the iron mines at this great distance from the outskirts of civilization implied a formidable expenditure; but this was far surpassed by the necessity of constructing a railroad seventy miles long to the nearest water communication, the shore