CHARLES D. ATWOOD


From History of Dane County, Wisconsin, publ. by Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1880, page 548-549

CHARLES D. ATWOOD was born at Madison on the 4th of June 1850. He had the education of the printing office, supplemented, however, by attendance upon the public schools and by a partial course in the State University. As he approached the age of manhood, he began his working journalism as a reporter of legislative proceedings, and by occasional correspondence published in the State Journal. In 1870, he made a short excursion across the continent, and wrote some interesting letters from California. In the autumn of 1872, he received from President Grant an appointment as Consular Clerk. The office of Consular Clerk was created by an act of Congress in 1864. the whole number of such clerkships is limited to thirteen; a careful preliminary examination is required, and, the appointment once made and the examination passed, the Clerk is only removable for cause. The purpose of the act was to create a school for training a few young men for Consular life. It was intended that the Consular Clerks, after becoming familiar with Consular duties, should, from time to time, as they proved themselves worthy, be promoted to Consulates. The plan was an excellent one, but, unfortunately, for our foreign service, has never been carried into full effect, the trained Consular Clerk having almost without exception being ignored, while the Consulates continue to be filled with raw material supplied by politicians at home. Young ATWOOD, having passed a creditable examination before the board at Washington, was assigned to duty at Liverpool, under his fellow townsman, Ex-Gov. FAIRCHILD. He sailed in November 1872, and soon afterward received the additional appointment of Vice Consul at that port. His various duties were performed with much skill and judgment. His gentlemanly bearing, his capacity, trustworthiness and fidelity were such as to be command the respect of all who were brought into social or business relations with him.

In 1874, he visited his old home, and, on the 8th of September of that year, formed a happy marriage with Miss Elizabeth WARD, of Madison. Shortly afterward, he returned with his wife to Liverpool, and resumed his official duties there. During his residence abroad, he saw much of England, and something of the continent, and wrote occasional sketches of travel for his father's paper, the Madison State Journal, which indicated much power of observation, and were characterized by an easy and graceful style. While he found a great deal that was attractive and pleasant in his life in England, his home attachments were strong, and he felt a longing to be back once more among the scenes of his boyhood. The bright waters of Monona and Mendota, the pure air and umbrageous streets of this Interlaken of the West, possess a strong attraction for all who have for any considerable time felt their influence. Moreover, with riper years and wider knowledge gained from books, from travel and observation, came the prompting to devote his future life to journalism. Accordingly, in the spring of 1876, he resigned his position at Liverpool, and returned to Madison. From that time until his final illness, he was actively engaged as one of the editors of the State Journal. A severe cold finally terminated in an acute attack of pneumonia, which resulted in his death on the 6th of February, 1878.

Mr. ATWOOD was gentle, courteous and truthful. There was no malignity in his nature. All who knew him loved him. He was a gentleman, too, with graceful manners and refined tastes. He was dignified, without being pretentious, cheerful and sunny in his disposition, generous and obliging, with a vein of quiet humor that made him a pleasant and welcome companion. What he might have accomplished in his chosen calling, can, of course, only be surmised. He had but just taken up the serious work of life, when his career was brought to an untimely close. He died with ..."the hope of unaccomplished years, yet large and lucid round his brow."


Transcribed and contributed to this site by Carol

 

 

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