Charles O. Harrington came to Carthage in 1870 at the age of 37. He was a veteran of the Civil War battle of Bull Run and other major battles, and had been married for a year to Ida (Britton) Harrington. His father’s life had prepared him for hard work and the spirit of public service. His father was Rev. Ransley Harrington and his mother was Mary (Hall) Harrington. Rev. Harrington was also a Methodist minister.
Charles Harrington came from Seneca Co., New York to Carthage and by his second year here he’d made an impact when he formed the Fire King Hose Co. which was the first volunteer fire department. There were two groups to this department and the second one was the Rescue Hook and Ladder Co. He was the foreman of the first company. In 1882 he was the first fire chief, resigning after a year to take care of his business interests. Charles was in the old Carthage Light Guard and a Major in the Missouri National Guard.
He built the Harrington House Hotel on the corner of Grant and 3rd St. and it was hailed as the best hotel around. He was elected Mayor in 1889 and again in 1900. It was published in the Carthage Press that he’d bought 275,000 bricks to build the hotel and 200,000 to build his Bank Saloon and Billiards Parlor across Grant from the hotel. He built the first post office at 206 Grant and his Bank Saloon building was later the Carthage Water and Electric office at 149 East Third St.
In 1882 the Saloon and Billiards Parlor was robbed when several men used dynamite to blow the safe. On their way out, they grabbed several boxes of cigars along with the money, and left a trail of cigars and cash for a short distance as they escaped.
He helped two other former mayors plan the courthouse cornerstone placement in 1894 and if something was going on in Carthage, Charles Harrington was usually in the middle of it. He remained active in City affairs and business until near his death in 1914. He was interred in Park Cemetery.