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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Sholes, Charles Clark 1816 - 1867


newspaperman, politician, businessman, b. Norwich, Conn. He was the brother of Christopher Latham Sholes (q.v.). He learned the printing trade, and for a time worked as a journeyman printer in Pennsylvania. In 1836 he moved to Wisconsin, settling in Green Bay, where he published the Green Bay Wisconsin Democrat (1836-1840). He was also co-founder, with Josiah Noonan (q.v.), of the first newspaper in Madison, the Wisconsin Enquirer (1838). In 1840 he moved his Green Bay plant to Southport (Kenosha), where his paper was restyled the Telegraph and was managed by his brother, C. L. Sholes, who soon purchased the paper. In 1843, foreclosing a lien on the Wisconsin Enquirer, Sholes moved the printing plant of that paper to Milwaukee, where it became the Milwaukee Democrat. During the same year, however, he suspended publication and began issuing the American Freeman, an organ of the Liberty party; Sholes remained as managing editor of this paper until 1846. Active in early territorial and state politics, Sholes was originally a Democrat, but later joined the Republican party. He was a member of the lower house of the territorial legislature (1837-1838), state assemblyman and speaker of the assembly (1855), and state senator (1866-1867). After 1847 he made his home in Kenosha, served as mayor of that city, and in 1855 was an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor. With Zalmon G. Simmons (q.v.), Shales was a founder of the Wisconsin State Telegraph Co. and became its president in 1855. D. C. McMurtrie, Early Printing in Wis. (Seattle, 1937); Wis. Mag. Hist., 5; M. M. Quaife, Wis. (4 vols., Chicago, 1924); Kenosha Telegraph, Oct. 10, 1867; WPA MS.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the Charles C. Sholes Papers for details.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]
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