There are few business enterprises that so closely touch the comfort and welfare as that which has to do with the lighting of homes and business houses, and the man who is active in control of public utilities must be one of broad vision, of thorough understanding of needs and conditions and of marked enterprise that he may keep in touch with the changing times. Possessing all these requisites, Charles Leavitt Holman has steadily advanced since he became connected with the Laclede Gas Light Company of St. Louis in April, 1903. He was advanced through various positions to tile presidency on the 1st of March, 1912, and then when it became necessary to have governmeir control over fuel and light because of tile exigencies brought about by the war, Mr. Holman did effective service in this connection. He has made himself master of every phase of the business, acquainting himself with the various details of gas manufacture and distribution as well as with tile principal elements of successful control of a business of this nature. He was born at Lawrence, Kansas, July 4, 18711, and throughout his life has manifested the spirit of western enterprise and progress. His parents were James E. and Libbie I. Sherwood) HOLMAN and under the parental roof he remained while pursuing his education in tile public schools of the Sunflower state. He started out upon his business career in 1897, when a youth of seventeen, securing employment in the office of the Land and Development Company at Topeka, Kansas. He afterward became assistant in the street railway offices of the same company and when four years had been passed in business life he turned his attention to bond and mortgage interests at Topeka in 1891, the year in which he attained his majority. At a subsequent period he spent two years as business manager of the Topeka Daily Capitol and then went to Chicago as representative of the Thayer Mining & Milling Company. After a brief period, however, he returned to Topeka and became connected with the treasurer’s department of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.
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Mr. Holman dates his residence in St. Louis from April. 1903, at which time he entered into active connection with the Laclede Gas Light Company and in January, 1904, was elected its secretary, filling that position until 1909. In the latter year he was made vice president and in January, 1910, the duties of general manager were added to those of the vice president. He so continued until March 1, 1912, when he was chosen president of tile corporation and so continues to the present time. He is likewise president of tile Southern Improvement & Manufacturing Company and of the Phoenix Light. Heat & Power Company and became the secretary and treasurer of the National Subway Company. It has been in connection with gas production and distribution, however, that his efforts have chiefly been put forth and in the control of this important public utility he has manifested the keenest discernment and business ability combined with a marked devotion to the public good. In October, 1911, at Denver, Colorado, he was elected president of the National Commercial Gas Association and in the same month was made a director of the American Gas Institute. In 1919 he was chosen to the vice presidency of the American Gas Association and thus his opinions and cooperation have been sought by others who are prominent in the same line of business throughout the country.
On the 20th of November, 1895, in Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Holman was united in marriage to Miss May Everett and to them were born three children: Dorothy Everett; Sherwood E., deceased; and Elinor Ruth. On the 5th of January, 1917, Dorothy Everett IIolman became the wife of D. S. Stillman, of Evanston, Illinois, and now has one son, born September 20, 1919.
Mr. Holman finds his chief recreation in golf, shooting and motoring. He is a member of various clubs, including the Mercantile, St. Louis, City, Noonday, Racquet, Commercial, Midland Valley Country, Sunset Inn and Cuivre Clubs. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and his religious faith is that of the Congregational church. During the World war he was a director of the Young Men’s Christian Association and was in charge of the St. Louis County campaign for the Red Cross. He was named by the national fuel administration at Washington to represent public utilities in the southwest region in cooperating with the district fuel committee. At all times he has taken keen interest in the matter of cooperation of the public with the demands of the government owing to the exigencies of the times, his patriotism being manifest in his practical effort to bring about just and equitable conditions. He is a man well qualified to handle important problems of this character, for it has long been his custom in connection with the management of public utilities to study with thoroughness every phase of business as relating to public needs along his line, and his views and opinions are those of a broad-minded man whose capability has been proven in his administrative and executive direction of important interests. He has ever been impelled and fostered by a progressive spirit combined with a determined purpose that never succumbs to difficulties or obstacles but seeks out new paths whereby to reach the desired goal.