Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Sumner, Charles Allen

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SUMNER, Charles Allen, stenographer, b. in Great Barrington, Mass., 2 Aug., 1835. His father, Judge Increase Sumner, was a distant relative of the Increase that is noted elsewhere. The son studied at Trinity, but was not graduated. He subsequently studied law, and was admitted to the bar, but his chief attention was given to the practice of stenography. In 1856 he sailed for California, and reported for the legislature in 1857-'61. He settled at San Francisco, and between the legislative sessions he was engaged in the state and county courts, in law-reporting, and general editorial duties till 1860, when he entered the Republican canvass. The following year he edited the “Herald and Mirror,” in which his opposition to the “Shafter” land bill succeeded in defeating it. Removing to Virginia City, Nev., Mr. Sumner was made assistant-quartermaster in the U. S. forces in 1862, became colonel in 1864, and served as state senator in 1865-'8, being president pro tempore during one session. Meanwhile he had been twice an unsuccessful Republican candidate for congress. He returned to San Francisco in 1868, and began to advocate a government postal telegraph in the “Herald,” of which he was editor. After this he was appointed official note-taker of the city, and in 1875 and 1880 official reporter of the supreme court. In 1878 he was defeated as a Democratic candidate for congress, but he was elected in 1882. There he opposed the Pacific railroads, and introduced a postal telegraph bill. Trinity gave him the degree of A. M. in 1887. He has published “Shorthand and Reporting” (New York, 1882); “Golden Gate Sketches” (1884); “Travel in Southern Europe” (1885); and “Sumners' Poems,” with his brother, Samuel B. Summer (1887).