Charles Henry Blinn, adjuster of duties in the custom house of San Francisco, to which position he was appointed on the 1st of April, 1902, is a native of the Green Mountain state, his birth having occurred in Burlington, Vermont, on the 27th of January, 1843. He belonged to a family of eight children, being the third in order of birth among five sons and three daughters whose parents were Chauncey and Editha M. (Harrington) Blinn. In the paternal line he is descended from French Huguenot ancestors who settled in Shelburne, Vermont, in the latter part of the seventeenth century. Since that time representatives of the name have been found in various portions of New England, and several were identified with the patriotic army in the war of the Revolution, while Chauncey Blinn served his country as a soldier of the war of 1812. He was a master wheelwright by occupation, and followed that pursuit for a number of years.
Charles Henry Blinn acquired his education in the public schools of his native city and later benefited by instruction received in the academy of Burlington, Vermont, where he pursued a preparatory course, fitting him for entrance in the state university. He was thus a student at the time of the inauguration of the Civil war in 1861. His interest centered in his country and its welfare, and prompted by a spirit of patriotism he and his two brothers enlisted in the First Regiment of Vermont Cavalry under Colonel L. B. Platt. This regiment served in all the battles of the Potomac and was in the great cavalry charge under General Farnsworth, of General Kilpatrick's division, in the sanguinary conflict at Gettysburg. Mr. Blinn afterward served under Generals Custer and Sheridan. In 1864 he was in the Shenandoah valley with Sheridan's army and with the Army of the Potomac in General Grant's campaign. After the expiration of his three years' term of service, following the battle of Cedar Creek, he was mustered out on the 19th of November, 1864.
After the war he entered the office of the Central Pacific Railroad Company at St. Albans, Vermont, as a clerk, and later accepted the position of chief clerk at the Weldon House at St. Albans, a famous summer hotel. Subsequently he occupied a similar position in the Ottawa Hotel at Montral, Canada, and the year 1868 witnessed his arrival on the Pacific coast. He has since been a resident of California and is thoroughly in sympathy with the interests of the great west, co-operating in public measures for general advancement and improvement. On his arrival in this state he accepted a position with the Wells Fargo and Company's Express, with which he continued until 1874, when he resigned in order to accept a position as one of the writers on the Daily Alta, a newspaper of San Francisco, with which he was connected until 1878, when he accepted a position in the custom house at San Francisco as chief permit clerk. He acted in that capacity until the 1st of April, 1902, when he was promoted to adjuster of duties in which capacity he is now serving.
In 1880 Mr. Blinn was united in marriage to Miss Nellie Holbrook, a native of New Hampshire, a daughter of Hon. Albert Holbrook. At the time of her marriage she was a distinguished acress and was well known on the stage under her maiden name, being leading lady with W. E. Sheridan and also playing in the old California theater with Lawrence Barrett and John McCullough. To Mr. and Mrs. Blinn has been born one son, who has gained distinction by reason of his histrionic talent on the London stage.
Mr. Blinn belongs to George H. Thomas Post, G. A. R., and has been its quartermaster for the past twenty-one years. He is financial secretary and treasurer of San Francisco Council No. 540, National Union, in which capacity he served for fourteen years. He is now a director of the Veterans Home Association, having served for ten years, being appointed three times by the successive governors Budd, Gage and Pardee. He is also chairman of the supplies committee for the association. His political allegiance is given to the Republican party, and a close study of the questions and issues of the day has enabled him to support his political preferences by intelligent argument. In matters of citizenship he is progressive and patriotic, giving to his country in days of peace the same loyal devotion that he manifested when on southern battlefields he followed the starry banner of the nation.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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