CATLIN, (CAPT.) CHARLES AUGUSTUS , of Jacksonville, Ill., District Agent for the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, Wis., was born in Hancock County, Ill., March 23, 1839, the youngest child of Joel and Calista (Hawley) Catlin. His father, a native of Connecticut, learned the trade of a silversmith in early life, and soon after his marriage removed to Augusta, Ga., where he remained in business until four children had been born into the family. Being a strong anti-slavery man, he decided to leave that State and removed to a section where he would be enabled to rear his children amid surroundings of a different political nature. Coming overland to Illinois in the fall of 1832, he established himself in business as a silversmith and watchmaker in Jacksonville. In 1836 he removed to Hancock County, Ill., and in company with William Abernathy, a relative, he laid out and founded the town of Augusta, which they named for the Georgia city. In that county he also engaged in farming. He became intimately acquainted with Joseph Smith, the head of the Mormon Church, who gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, which remains an heirloom in possession of the Catlin family. Mr. Catlin was a strong anti-Mormon, and became one of the leaders in the movement which finally resulted in the removal of that sect from Nauvoo to Salt Lake, Utah. Such an active part did he take in the campaign against the Mormons that the leaders of the church at one time are said to have placed a price upon his head. During his residence in Hancock County his home was one of the stations of the "Underground Railroad," and through his instrumentality many slaves were assisted to freedom.
In 1852 Mr. Catlin returned to Jacksonville to become agent for the Sangamon & Morgan Railway Company, afterward the Great Western, and now a part of the Wabash system. During the quarter of a century of his residence in Jacksonville, he was intimately associated with such men as the Rev. William Kirby, Elihu Wolcott, Dr. J. M. Sturtevant, Prof. Jonathan B. Turner and others, in their well-directed efforts to ameliorate the condition of the slaves. He was deeply interested in religious work. He became a communicant of the Presbyterian Church before removing from Connecticut, and served as an Elder in the churches of this denomination in Augusta, Ga., Augusta, Ill., and Jacksonville, filling this office in the First Presbyterian (now the State Street Presbyterian) Church of Jacksonville at the time of his death in 1879, at the age of eighty-five years. For some time he also served as Treasurer of the Jacksonville Female Academy and of Illinois College. His wife's death occurred in 1875. They had seven children, as follows: John Hawley, William Edwin, Sarah (wife of Jeremiah Pierson), James Kent, Mary, one child who died in infancy, and C. Augustus. James Kent Catlin served as an aid-de-camp on the staff of General B. H. Grierson, and was killed February 22, 1864, at the age of thirty-one years, by a detachment of Forrest's cavalry.
Captain Catlin received his education in the Jacksonville public schools, being graduated from the High School under Dr. Newton Bateman. He learned the drug business in the store of Robert Hockenhull, and was in his employ at the outbreak of the Civil War. On September 2, 1862, he enlisted for service in the Union Army, assisting in the organization of Company C, One Hundred and First Illinois Volunteer Infantry, of which he was at once elected First Lieutenant. This regiment went to Cairo, Ill., doing provost duty; from there to Columbus, Ky., and thence to Davies' Mills, Tenn., where it became a part of the First Brigade of Ross's Division of the Army of the Tennessee, General Grant commanding. On the night of their arrival at Davies' Mills, Captain Catlin was assigned to duty as aid-de-camp on the staff of Colonel John Mason Loomis, commanding the brigade. Proceeding toward Vicksburg as far as Oxford, Miss., in the fall of 1862, they participated in the movement against that stronghold. The supplies for the army having been destroyed at Holly Springs, Miss., the army went into winter quarters and Captain Catlin was ordered to Memphis, where he was assigned to duty as Judge Advocate of a Court of Inquiry. Subsequently he was assigned as Provost Marshal on the west side of the Mississippi River, opposite Vicksburg; April 28, 1863, he was promoted to Captain, and became Assistant Provost Marshal to the Army of the Tennessee, with headquarters at Yazoo Landing. After the fall of Vicksburg, July 4, 1863, he was stationed in that city, and had charge of the work of patroling the prisoners which followed the capitulation. The prisoners paroled were classified as follows: One Lieutenant General, 4 Major Generals, 10 Brigadier Generals, 49 Colonels, 37 Lieutenant Colonels, 87 Majors, 578 Captains, 606 First Lieutenants, 513 Second Lieutenants, 244 Third Lieutenants, 3 Chaplains, 13 Aides, 1 Cadet, 231 non-commissioned staff officers, 252 First Sergeants, 1,858 Sergeants, 1,621 Corporals, 14 artificers, 16 musicians, 5 sutlers, 115 citizen employes-a total of 21,491 men.
After performing this duty he was granted leave of absence that he might keep his engagement to marry. Leaving the field, he returned to Illinois, and immediately continued his journey to Norristown, Pa., where, on August 26, 1863, he was united in marriage with Carrie Twining. Rejoining his regiment at Union City, Tenn., soon afterward, in command of four companies of his regiment and a guide, he was ordered to form a junction some thirty miles in the interior (subsisting on the country) with a force from Paducah, Ky., for the purpose of relieving that section of the State from the Confederates who had been busily conscripting men. Upon the conclusion of this task he rejoined his regiment at Louisville, Ky., and proceeded with it to Bridgeport, Ala., where he was Inspector of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Eleventh army Corps, serving in this capacity up to the time of his resignation. While serving with this section of the army, Captain Catlin participated in one of the most important movements of the campaign-the relief of the besieged Army of the Cumberland, which after the battle of Chickamauga returned to Chattanooga and vicinity, it being cut off from communication with the north by the occupation of Lookout Valley by the enemy. The Eleventh Corps crossed the Tennessee River at Bridgeport, Ala., about twenty miles from Chattanooga, and drove the enemy out of Lookout Valley, opening up communications with the Army of the Cumberland, the river only separating. That night the Confederates made a determined attack, hoping to destroy the Quartermaster and Commissary supplies that were being taken to the besieged forces. The necessity of this movement may be better appreciated when it is known that the sole method of procuring means of subsistence up to that time had been by pack train over a mountain trail, a distance of some sixty miles. This night engagement, known in history as the battle of Wauhatchie, was a spirited one, and the success which attended it rendered it the opening wedge to the complete relief of the Army of the Cumberland from a most desperate situation. The command with which Captain Catlin was identified afterward participated in the battle of Mission Ridge, one of the fiercest contests of the entire war; in the battle of Lookout Mountain, the relief of Burnside at Knoxville, and the driving of Longstreet out of Tennessee. In the spring of 1864, following the news of the death of his brother, Captain Catlin received another leave of absence that he might return home and look after the interests of his family. Believing it to be his duty henceforth to remain at home, he tendered his resignation April 16, 1864, after an active and loyal service in the defense of the Union.
Going to Pekin, Ill., Capt. Catlin there engaged in the drug business until his return to Jacksonville, in the fall of 1869, to become agent for the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, Wis. Since that time he has continued to represent that great corporation in Jacksonville and vicinity as District Agent, and is now, in length of service, the oldest representative of the company. In a calling where great opportunities for financial gain are afforded through the exercise of corrupt practices, Captain Catlin has builded a reputation for integrity and a high sense of personal of honor that is all too uncommon in these days. In his fraternal relations he is prominent in Masonry. He is a member of Jacksonville Lodge, No. 570, A.F.&A.M.; Jacksonville Chapter, No. 3, R.A.M.; Jacksonville Council, No. 5, R.&S.M.; Hospitaler Commandery, No. 31, K.T.; and of the Mystic Shrine and the Consistory at Peoria, Ill., having taken the thirty-second degree. He is also a charter member and now (1905) Commander of Matt Starr Post, No. 378, G.A.R. By his first marriage he became the father of four children, namely: Carrie Augusta, deceased; Donald Cameron, of New York City; Frank Hawley, residing in the South; and Harry, who died in infancy. Carrie (Twining) Catlin died June 18, 1892. On February 25, 1896, he married Mrs. Helen Baxter, of Griggsville, Ill., who died six weeks later. His third marriage, which occurred March 8, 1900, united him with Mrs. Roxanna Goltra Towne.