Search billions of records on

Biography of Charles Quarles

This biography appears on pages 548-549 in
"Men of Progress. Wisconsin. A selected list of biographical sketches and portraits of the leaders in business, professional and official life. Together with short notes on the history and character of Wisconsin."

QUARLES, Charles, a resident of Milwaukee and member of the law firm of Quarles, Spence & Quarles, is the son of Joseph V. Quarles, who came to Wisconsin in 1838, and, some time after, with Henry Mitchell, built and operated the factory at Kenosha, now known as the Bain Wagon works, his interest in which was lost in the early fifties, through financial embarrassment. Thenceforward his financial circumstances were poor. His death occurred in 1874. His wife, Charles Quarles' mother, was Caroline Bullen, daughter of Gen. John Bullen, who was one of the settlers of Southport, now Kenosha, having located there in 1836. She died in 1882. On both sides the ancestors are traceable to Massachusetts--on the father's, by way of New Hampshire, and on the mother's, through central New York; and both were represented in the long military struggle for the independence of the colonies.

Charles Quarles was born in Southport, now Kenosha, on the 13th of February, 1846. His early education was received in the free public school in Kenosha, after which he attended the Kenosha high school, graduating therefrom in 1863. He then entered the University of Michigan, in the classical course, and pursued that until the latter part of the senior year, when he left the institution. During his university course he was a member of the Greek letter society of the Alpha Delta Phi.

After leaving college he had a position in the Chicago office of the Home Fire Insurance company of New York, most of the time from the spring of 1869 to 1873. Leaving the insurance business, he began the study of law in the office of Head & Quarles of Kenosha, was admitted to the bar in the spring of 1875, and entered at once upon the practice of the profession in Kenosha, where he remained for thirteen years. He came to Milwaukee in the spring of 1888, and, with his brother, J. V. Quarles an T. W. Spence, formed the law firm of Quarles, Spence &, which has rapidly acquired a leading place among the legal firms of the city. Mr. Quarles, though a clear, direct and forcible advocate, does not rely so much upon the graces of oratory for success as upon the effect of a formidable array of the legal points involved in the cases which he has in charge. In this department of the practice, he has acquired unusual distinction, and his recognized as an authority in the law by his fellow members of the bar. He has given special attention to corporate law, as it relates to the steadily growing corporate interests and the social and industrial questions that have arisen in consequence of the multiplication of labor and protective organizations.

He recognizes this as becoming one of the most extensive and fruitful fields for investigation and study that there is in the whole range of the legal profession.

Mr. Quarles is a pronounced Republican in politics, but has not been active in party work, and never held a public office until the spring of 1897, when he was appointed, without his solicitation, a member of the new board of school directors of Milwaukee; and it is an evidence of the confidence and esteem in which he is held by the public, that at once upon the announcement of his appointment as a member of the board, he was named as a suitable man for the responsible of president. When the board met for organization he was chosen president without opposition. He is a member of the following organizations: The Milwaukee, the Deutscher, the Country and the Yacht clubs, and the Humane society.

He was married in November, 1881, to Miss Emma W. Thiers of Kenosha, and they have four children, namely: Louis, Charles B., Henry C. and Ethel--the oldest fourteen years and the youngest eight.

Click here to go to

Return to Biographical Sketches Page