Biography of Hon. Alexander Warner
Connecticut Biographies





HON. ALEXANDER WARNER, WOODSTOCK: Ex Treasurer of Connecticut.

Colonel Alexander Warner was born January 10, 1827, at Smithville, R. I. In 1834 the family moved to Woodstock, Conn., where the son received an academical education. After leaving school he engaged in business. The year 1861 found him part owner and manager of a prosperous twine manufactory in Woodstock. An aptitude for military matters had already drawn him into the state militia, and he was then lieut. colonel of the Seventh Regiment. A spirit like his could not move on in the routine of ordinary life, however attractive the surroundings when a great crisis was calling the brave to arms. Among the earliest to enlist, he was appointed by Governor Buckingham major of the Third regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, and took part in the battle of Bull Run. After the disbandment of the three months' troops he was made lieut. colonel of the 13th Connecticut regiment, and served in that capacity till near the close of 1863, when a severe attack of sickness compelled him to withdraw from active service.

In the autumn of 1865, Colonel Warner purchased one of the finest plantations in Mississippi, located in Madison county, near the center of the state. Without preconcert about twenty families from the north simultaneously bought homes in the same neighborhood. They brought with them wealth and intelligence. Curiously enough the new corners made the acquaintance of each other in an attempt to recover a large number of horses and mules which had been stolen from them with absolute impartiality by a gang of desperate villains. In the pursuit, which was swift and successful, the brilliant talents of Colonel Warner gave him at once the position of leadership, which thenceforth continued undisputed.

Colonel Warner pursued the most exact and scrupulous methods in dealing with the large number of freedmen whom he employed. This kind of education aroused the somewhat dormant minds of other freedmen to a perception of the injustice they were in many cases suffering at the hands of their old masters. Among the whites the new and exact way of treating the negro provoked deep resentment. A little later, as agent of the freedmen's bureau, he stirred up more violent antagonisms by compelling the planters to fulfill their contracts with emancipated slaves. During this period his life was in constant danger, but he never faltered in throwing around the blacks the full protection of the law.

The home of Colonel Warner was a center of profuse and elegant hospitality. He was unavoidably drawn into politics and played a stirring part in the stormy drama of reconstruction. He was secretary of state, trustee and treasurer of the state university, six years a member of the state senate, four years chairman of the republican state committee, and a delegate to three national conventions.

Long before leaving Mississippi Colonel Warner had taught the old regime to respect and admire him. In fact he was importuned to enter into the closest business relations by several prominent native capitalists. He decided, however, to return to Connecticut, and in 1877 purchased a farm in Pomfret. In the fall of 1886 he was elected state treasurer, and his administration of the office marked an epoch in its history, as by modernizing the methods of conducting the business he brought it into harmony with present requirements.

While still a resident of Pomfret, Colonel Warner has extensive interests in Baxter Springs, Kansas, being president of the Baxter Bank, the local Light and Power Company, the Baxter Springs Milling Company, and the Baxter Springs Manufacturing Company. His son, Benj. S. Warner, now a permanent resident of Baxter Springs, is associated with him in these various enterprises.

Colonel Warner married, Sept. 27, 1855, Mary Trumbull Mathewson, a woman of great sweetness and force of character, whose ancestors in different lines have been among the foremost people of New England. Her great grandfather, General Samuel McClellan, of Woodstock, married, 2d, March 5, 1766, Rachel Abbe of Windham, one of the social queens of the period. Their eldest child, John McClellan, married, Nov. 22, 1796, Faith Williams, daughter of Wm. Williams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and granddaughter of Govenor Jonathan Trumbull. The wife of Governor Trumbull was a daughter of Rev. John Robinson of Duxbury, Mass., and a direct descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mollines of the Mayflower.

From:
Illustrated Popular Biography
Of Connecticut
Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding
Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.
Hartford, Conn. 1891


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