Charles Ernest Maedgen, pioneer West Texas banker and civic leader, was born on January 30, 1882, in Troy, Bell County, Texas, one of seven children of William Oscar and Minerva (White) Maedgen. Charles grew up on the family farm and attended the Troy public school. In 1900 he entered Texas A&M College, where he majored in agronomy, played in the band, and worked his way through school by collecting and delivering laundry. Following graduation in 1904, he established the Citizens Exchange Bank at Troy with his brother, William L. Maedgen, who had completed his studies at the University of Texas in Austin. The bank operated until 1935. The Maedgen brothers also owned and operated a gin and were engaged in the cotton and grain business in Troy. On December 27, 1905, Charles Maedgen married Minta Ellis; they had a son and a daughter. In April 1910 Maedgen moved to Temple to become vice president and director of the Temple State Bank. Five years later he accepted a similar position at the Farmers State Bank in Temple. In 1917 he moved to Lubbock, and on June 6 he organized the Security State Bank and Trust Company and became its first president. In 1920 this firm purchased the Farmers' National Bank of Lubbock, which became the Lubbock National Bank in 1925. During the financial panic following the crash of 1929, Maedgen declared that should his bank go under he would put "every single thing I own, including my home" into its assets "for the benefit of its creditors." Fortunately, the confidence of the bank's depositors averted such a crisis. By 1939 he had formed the Lubbock National Company and had begun construction of a new eight-story bank building that was completed by October 1940; its preferred stock was retired within the following year.
Maedgen became a leading booster during Lubbock's most crucial period of development. In 1928 he helped secure passage of a bill in Congress to establish a federal district court in the city. From 1920 to 1932 he served on the Lubbock school board, during which time several new school buildings were built. He was president in 1931 of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and Board of City Development and was a leader in the bond-issue campaign that provided 100 miles of paved roads in Lubbock County at a cost of some $3 million. Maedgen served on committees that obtained for Lubbock the Fort Worth and Denver Railway, Texas Technological College, and the city's first airline service. He was a charter member of the Lubbock Kiwanis Club and country club and was selected in 1940 to be president of the Panhandle-South Plains Fair Association. He also helped establish the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, and worked for the construction of the Museum of Texas Tech University, and served four years (1944–48) as president of the West Texas Museum Association. As a member of the First Methodist Church he served on its board of stewards, which he chaired from 1929 to 1931, and for thirteen years (1944–57) was on its building committee. His Masonic affiliations, including Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shrine, and the honorary Red Cross of Constantine, stemmed back to his initiation into the Troy lodge in 1904. In 1958 he was invested as a knight commander of the court of honor. Maedgen was also awarded fifty-year service pins by the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1954 and by the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Texas and Chapter 248, Royal Arch Masons, in 1961.
Following the death of his wife on December 26, 1944, Maedgen married Florence Hvass, a former Red Cross nurse, on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1946. In January 1951 he became chairman of the board at Lubbock National Bank and was succeeded as president by his son, Charles, Jr. In January 1952 he set up the Charles E. Maedgen Foundation, which supported an Institute of Americanism at Texas Tech in cooperation with the history department for three years. In 1955 the funds of the Maedgen Foundation were transferred to McMurry College in Abilene, where Maedgen held membership on the board of trustees. In 1957 the college awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree, and later a gift made possible the construction of McMurry's new administration building, which was named in his honor. In Lubbock a new elementary school was named for him in 1956. Stricken with cancer during his last years, Maedgen died at his home on February 3, 1964, and was interred in the City of Lubbock Cemetery.