Placer County










            A very patriotic as well as enterprising and progressive man, who served his country and flag with devotion during the Civil War and, after assisting in building up various large public enterprises in the East, came out to the Golden West, where waiting opportunities beckoned to the development of its wonderful natural resources, was the late Charles Gladding, founder of Gladding, McBean & Company, manufacturers at Lincoln, the father of Albert J. Gladding, the present manager of the plant.  Charles Gladding was born near Buffalo, New York, on April 28, 1828; and there he grew up, afterwards removing to Akron, Ohio, where he engaged as a general contractor and was interested in the Buckeye Sewer Pipe plant.  While living in Akron, he was married to Miss Ann Bloomfield, who was born at Kidderminster, England, and came with her parents to Tariffville, Conn., and later to Akron, Ohio, where she met Mr. Gladding.  Disposing of his holdings in Akron, Mr. Gladding moved to Chicago.  There he became one of the early contractors who built up that city.  On the breaking out of the Civil War he entered the government employ, being placed in charge of transporting supplies to the front, with headquarters at Cairo, Ill.

            When President Lincoln issued his second call for 300,000 men, Charles Gladding resigned his position and, leaving his small children in the care of his wife, offered his services in August, 1862, by enlisting in Company K, 72nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry, known as the Board of Trade Regiment.  He was commissioned a first lieutenant, under Capt. John Reed, and served in Ransom’s Brigade, MacPherson’s Division, marching under the colors in the various campaigns, including the Siege of Vicksburg.  He took part in various operations, including the battle of Champion Hills, which led up to the surrender of the stronghold on the Mississippi.  During the siege his captain was wounded, and Lt. Gladding then commanded the company.  Afterwards he was stationed at Natchez, Miss.

            While at the front Mr. Gladding had been bereaved of his faithful wife, who succumbed to an attack of pneumonia in the fall of 1863.  His four children needing his care and attention, Lt. Gladding then resigned his commission in 1864 and returned to Chicago.  There he threw himself into the business whirl of that great city, making his residence in Riverside.  Aside from his large business as a contractor, he established an extensive trade in the sale of Sanitary Ware and sewer pipe, meeting with deserved success in his various operations.  However, the Jay Cook failure and the panic of 1872 – 1873 necessarily made business very slack in his line, to such an extent he began looking for a change of location, being desirous of again entering the manufacturing field.  His eyes naturally turned towards the Pacific coast, where he had a cousin, James Gladding, residing in Sacramento.  In 1874 he came to California and began the investigation which led to his favorable consideration of the clay deposits at Lincoln.  He was so well impressed that he returned to Chicago and there interested some of his friends, and as a result the formation and incorporation of Gladding, McBean & Company followed in May, 1875.  His energy seemingly knew no bounds; and it was only a month later when he and his son, Albert J. Gladding, were en route on the overland train to California.

            Arriving in Lincoln in June, 1875, they immediately set to work with optimism and enthusiasm, and started the potteries which have since grown to such large proportions and have meant so much, not only to the town of Lincoln, but to the entire Sacramento Valley as well, and which have reflected such credit upon the originators.

            For many years Mr. Gladding gave his undivided attention to the development of the plant and its business, but in time turned the entire management over to his son and retired from active business, devoting his time to reading and research, and also to travel, of which he was very fond.  A prominent Republican, he took an active and influential interest in civic affairs.  He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the California Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion in San Francisco.  He was also a Mason and a member of the Eastern Star.

            The summer of 1893 Mr. Gladding spent in Chicago visiting his friends, as well as the World’s Fair; and that fall he started on a trip to Europe and Africa, during which he visited the British possessions and the Continent, and also Egypt and the scenes along the River Nile, returning through the Mediterranean Sea.  While stopping at Rome, he was suddenly stricken with apoplexy, and died on January 17, 1894.  His body was cremated, and the ashes were placed in the Columbarium in Cypress lawn, San Francisco.  Of Mr. Gladding’s four children, only one survives him, Albert J. Gladding, manager of Gladding, McBean & Company, and a prominent citizen of Lincoln, who with his wife and children deeply mourned his loss.  In his death, his home community lost one of its noblest men, one who had always done his full duty by his country, his family, and his fellow men.  His taking away was widely mourned; and his life and example are well worthy of emulation.






Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “History of Placer & Nevada Counties, California”, by W. B. Lardner & M. J. Brock. Pages 452-453. Historic Record Co., Los Angeles 1924.

© 2013  V. Gerald Iaquinta.




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