Charles P. Salter, planter, miller, Confederate officer, and state legislator, was born in Washington County, Georgia, on March 9, 1830. He was the son of Zadoc and Nancy (Gainer) Salter. His parents died when he was about fifteen, and when Salter was about eighteen years old, he moved to Pike County, Alabama. There he married Margaret Ann Talbot on October 3, 1850. This couple had four children, but three sons died in childhood. Salter immigrated to Texas by 1853 and settled a large farm and plantation near Sterling in Robertson County. By 1860 he was among the most prosperous citizens and prolific cotton producers of the community and claimed $43,750 in personal and real estate property on the 1860 census. His wife died in 1861. Some years later he married Bertha Lovett and they had two children, but one died in infancy.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Salter volunteered for service in the Confederate Army. Initially he served as a first lieutenant and saw combat. In 1863, however, the Confederate War Department ordered Salter transferred to quartermaster duty as a captain, charged with establishing a cotton and wool mill in Texas as an aid to the war effort. Accordingly, Salter traveled to Virginia to secure parts and machinery for the mill and returned to Texas later in 1863. After overseeing the construction of the mill at Hearne in Robertson County, Salter helped create a joint stock company which allowed leading cotton planters to sell a bale of cotton—duty-free—on the international market for every bale donated to the Confederacy. This plan eventually allowed several hundred bales to be sold, via Matamoros, Mexico, and supplied the Confederate treasury with more than $500,000 before the end of the war. Salter himself donated approximately 100 bales.
Following the war Salter continued his leadership in community affairs. He served as alderman for the town of Calvert in Robertson County, and in 1868 he worked as the contractor to construct the Houston and Texas Central Railroad from Bryan to Calvert. In 1872 he won election as a Democratic representative for District 18—comprised of Freestone, Leon, and Robertson counties—to the House of the Thirteenth Texas Legislature. He served from January 14, 1873, to January 13, 1874, and was on the Commerce and Manufactures Committee, Indian Affairs Committee, and Committee to investigate State Asylums. Charles Salter was a Mason and member of the Knights of Honor. He died in Robertson County in 1899 and was buried there at Calvert Cemetery.