One of the leading representatives of the bench of Idaho is Judge Charles O. Stockslager, now presiding over the courts of the fourth judicial district. He maintains his residence in Hailey, and in that city and throughout this section of the state is widely known as a jurist of marked ability, whose “even-handed justice” has won him “golden opinions'” from the bar and from the general public.
A native of Indiana, he was born in Harrison County, February 8, 1847, and is a son of Captain Jacob Stockslager, whose birth occurred in Virginia and who won his title in gallant service in the American army during the hostilities with Mexico. He was married in the Old Dominion to Miss Jane W. Newell, also a native of Virginia, and later they removed to Indiana, becoming owners of a farm near the homestead of William Henry Harrison. When a young man Captain Stockslager engaged in boating on the Ohio River for several years, then devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits, and subsequently carried on merchandising. He also served his county as sheriff for several terms and was a loyal and progressive citizen, who lived an honorable and upright life and won the regard of all with whom he came in contact. He was called to his final reward at the age of eighty-four years, and his wife died at the age of seventy-six years. They were parents of four children, three of whom are living. Two of the sons loyally served their country in the civil war. The eldest, S. M. Stockslager, was a captain in the Thirteenth Indiana Cavalry, has since been a member of congress and is now engaged in the practice of law in Washington, D. C. Thomas, the second member of the family, enlisted when only sixteen years of age, in the company of which his brother was captain and served as a private until the close of the war.
Judge Stockslager spent his boyhood days under the parental roof, devoting his energies to the work of the fields, the duties of the school-room and the enjoyment of those pleasures which usually occupy the attention of the American youth. Having acquired his preliminary education in the common schools, he entered the normal school at Lebanon, Ohio, and later, having determined to enter the legal profession, read law in the office of Ritter & Anderson, prominent attorneys of Columbus, Kansas. In 1874 he was admitted to the bar and at once began practice, continuing an active member of the profession in that state until 1887. During that time he was elected and served as clerk of the district court, as County attorney and as mayor of the city of Galena, Kansas, and in all those positions proved a capable and faithful officer.
In 1887 he was appointed by President Cleveland receiver of the United States land office, at Hailey, Idaho, and came to the territory to fill that position of trust. Since that time he has been a resident of the city which is now his home, and in 1890, at the first state election, he was, by popular ballot, chosen judge of the fourth judicial district. Four years he sat upon the bench, and so ably did he discharge his duties that in 1894 he was re-elected, and in 1898 he was again selected for that position. He has a broad and comprehensive understanding of the principles of jurisprudence, a mind free from judicial bias. While in active practice he was regarded as one of the most prominent representatives of the profession. Thoroughly versed in the science of jurisprudence and equally at home in every branch of the law, his defenses were able, logical and convincing. His arguments showed thorough preparation, and he lost sight of no fact that might advance his clients’ interests, and passed by no available point of attack in an opponent’s argument. On the bench his rulings are ever just, incisive and incapable of misinterpretation. With a full appreciation of the majesty of the law he exemplifies that justice which is the inherent right of every individual, and fearlessly discharges his duties with a loyalty to principle that knows no wavering, and has the sincere respect of the entire Idaho bar.
Judge Stockslager was married in 1876 to Miss Ingobo Chrisman, and to them were born a son and daughter, Rosco N. and Ingobo. After five years of happy married life the wife and mother was called to her final rest, and her death was deeply mourned by many friends as well as her immediate family. The Judge remained single until 1883, when he married Miss Carrie F. Bryce of St. Louis, and to them have been born two sons, Leslie B. and William M. Mrs. Stockslager is a leading member of the Baptist church of Hailey, while Judge Stockslager is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and for many years was an active member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Their genial qualities render them popular in social circles, and the best homes of the locality are open to them.