Charles H. Gere was born near Gainesville in Wyoming County, New York on February 18, 1838. He was the son of Horatio Nelson and Julia Delay Grant Gere. Charles Gere was educated at public schools and at the Oxford Academy, in Oxford, New York. Although his family had already left the East to settle on the western plains, he entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1859. He was elected to the Union Philosophical Society and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity while there and graduated with his class in 1861.
Gere taught school for a time in Pennsylvania and in Baltimore, Maryland. He enlisted on June 22, 1863 in Company B of the six-months Tenth Maryland Volunteer Infantry, which served largely in guarding communications around Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. When this unit mustered out in January 1864, he enlisted in the hundred-day emergency Eleventh Maryland Infantry and saw action at the Battle of Monocracy. When the Eleventh was converted to a one-year unit, Gere served to the end of the war, guarding railways, and was mustered out on June 15, 1865.
Very soon after the war, Gere was admitted to the bar in Baltimore. Meanwhile, as noted, his family had relocated in March 1857 to Table Rock, Nebraska in order to help build that settlement and run a boarding house. Gere's young sister Fanny died after a few months in the territory. His brother John was then killed in the Indian insurgency during the Civil War. Charles Gere quickly joined his mother in 1865 and settled in nearby Pawnee, becoming a partner in the law office of David Butler during late 1865 and 1866. He was elected to the first legislature of the newly admitted state and early the next year, when Butler became the state's first governor, Gere served for a time as his private secretary. He also moved to the tiny village of Lincoln that had been designated as the state capital. There he established a newspaper - the first in the state - that, like its owner, was decidedly Republican in tone. He called it first The Commonwealth and then The State Journal. In 1869, Gere became a state senator and, as chair of the Education Committee, helped push through the founding of the University of Nebraska and the funding of its first buildings. The growth of Lincoln owed him much, as he was also largely responsible for the state's first lunatic asylum and its first prison. Also, while on the senate Railway Committee, he drafted the legislation plotting the four Nebraska rail lines, each of which in the end happened to run through Lincoln.
Gere served four terms as chair of the Republican State Central Committee. By then, in 1870, he had given up his law practice to devote full time to his politics and his newspaper, which had become a daily that year. He continued as president of The State Journal until his death, directing its often controversial editorial policy. In 1882, Gere was appointed as a regent of the University of Nebraska, and later served as president of the board until 1892. He also served as postmaster of Lincoln from 1890 to 1894.
In September 1871, Gere married Mariel Clapham of Washington, D.C. The couple had four children, three of whom survived, all daughters. Charles Henry Gere died in Lincoln on September 30, 1904. He was sixty-six years old.