Biography of Judson W. Warner
Madison County, NY Biographies





Judson W. Warner, third son and fifth child of William and Electa (Harrington) Warner, was born in the town of Van Buren, Onondaga county, N. Y., November 5, 1837. His ancestry is traced through nine generations in this country to 1650. The family originated in Kent, Essex, and Leicester, England. The line to which the subject of this sketch belongs originated in this country in Woodbury, Conn., and is thus delineated: First, John; second, John; third, John; fourth, Dr. Ebenezer; fifth, Thomas; sixth, Samuel; seventh, Seth; eighth, William; and ninth, Judson W. The Seth of the seventh generation was first cousin of Col. Seth Warner, the famous Vermont hero of the Revolution, and was christened by him. Samuel of the sixth generation served and was wounded in the Revolution. Seth of the seventh generation was a captain in the war of 1812. Dr. Ebenezer of the fourth generation was one of eight in his line who won excellent repute in the practice of medicine. William of the eighth generation was born in Van Buren, Onondaga county, N. Y., in 1807, and Electa Harrington, his wife, was born in the same town. They married May 3, 1827. Electa Harrington was a lineal descendant in the fourth generation of Rev. Jones, a Baptist minister who came to this country soon after the arrival of the Mayflower. Her grandfather, Silas Brown, served with honor in the Revolutionary war, and her father, Dr. Lionel Harrington, won fame and an untimely death in the war of 1812. Judson W. Warner was educated in the district schools, and at the Union School in Jordan, N. Y. He learned surveying and engineering at the academy of Dr. T. K. Wright at Elbridge, N. Y. In the spring of 1857 he went West and found a position as deputy county surveyor of Ramsey county, Minnesota, with headquarters at St. Paul. Here he assisted in laying out three additions to the city of St. Paul, and in other work of like nature throughout the county. He also personally laid out what is now the main highway from St. Paul to Minneapolis, which reaches the river opposite Fort Snelling. After relinquishing this position he went to the State of Illinois and engaged in teaching school one winter, taking a position the following spring with a firm of marble dealers at Peoria, Ill., with whom he remained about eighteen months. In the fall of 1859 he returned East, and after looking about for some time engaged in a hardware business at Canastota in the spring of 1861, thus beginning his long and honorable business career in Madison county. He soon rented a store in Oneida and began a similar business, conducting both stores two years, at the end of this period selling the Canastota store and locating permanently in Oneida (1863) Until January, 1868, he successfully conducted a hardware and house furnishing goods business, and also dealt extensively in coal, wood, and lumber in Oneida. In February, 1868, Mr. Warner purchased the lot on the corner of Main street and Vanderbilt avenue where the Warner block now stands, and began the erection of a business block. To further occupy his time while building he purchased the old established hardware business of James A. Bennett which he conducted three years. In the fall of 1869, having completed the four story building up to a point ready to receive the roof, a severe storm demolished the structure to such an extent that eventually every brick had to be replaced. The sympathy of the entire community was aroused in Mr. Warner's behalf, and while he was on top of the building busily engaged in trying to secure it, a subscription of nearly $3,000 was raised among the onlookers on the impulse of the moment. Upon learning the facts Mr. Warner requested that the matter should be dismissed at once, saying he could not afford to accept contributions, however great his loss. This affords a good illustration of the independence and self reliance which have characterized Mr. Warner during all of his business life. During the following summer he rebuilt the edifice on a much larger scale and with the addition to the opera house it is now one of the finest business blocks of Madison county. In May, 1871, Mr. Warner moved his business into the second store of the block, and in the following year he engaged in the safe business with his brother, H. H. Warner. under the firm name of Warner & Brother, taking the eastern portion of the United States, with branch stores at New York and Boston. He retained his home and interests in Oneida. When H. H Warner established his famous Safe remedy business at Rochester, N. Y., the safe business was discontinued. In starting the proprietary medicine business Mr. Warner, although not a partner, gave valuable service in looking after various details, including advertising, the purchase of material and the sale of goods, while his brother did the general planning of the great enterprise. In looking after these details Mr. Warner was called to all parts of the United States, and portions of Canada, and probably no man engaged in this line of business has covered more territory. north, south, east, and west than he; on one of his trips he travelled 7,288 miles. In the fall of 1882 Mr. Warner, wishing to escape such active life, gave up the business and returned to Oneida, soon afterward building his beautiful residence on Main street In 1883, realizing the great need of a pure water supply for the village, he began the construction of a water works system, one of the best of his many contributions to the advancement of this village. The system was built after his own survey and under his management, and because of this the corporate name was adopted as the Warner Water Works. After years of trial the system has proven to be one of the best in the State; it was acquired by the village in 1895. Soon after the completion of the water works, a hose company composed of many leading citizens was organized and in his honor named the Warner Hose Company, which, on account of the prominence of its members, stimulated interest in the fire department. Mr. Warner, in order to occupy one of the vacant stores in his block, formed a co_ partnership with S. Allen Clark, a practical dry goods dealer, and A. S. Whitman, under the firm name of Clark, Whitman & Warner for the conduct of a general dry goods business. This enterprise, now one of the largest of its kind in the county, is conducted under the firm name of S. Allen Clark & Co. In 1884 Mr. Warner rebuilt the three story brick building on Madison street known as the Sheppard Block, and after the destruction of the Oneida Mills by fire he purchased the site and rebuilt the mills which he operated about one year, selling to Rathburn & Sawyer, who formed the present Rathburn-Sawyer Co. In 1887 Mr. Warner engaged in another enterprise which gave to Oneida a place among the foremost villages of the State in point of modern improvements. At that time the use of electricity for lighting was not common, but after considerable investigation he decided to install an electric lighting system in Oneida, and built his plant on the site of his present building on Vanderbuilt avenue. In 1891 he erected the four story Warner industrial building, fronting fifty feet on Vanderbilt avenue, eighty four feet on Central avenue, and 120 feet deep, directly over and inclosing the first plant. This building is said to be one of the finest manufacturing buildings of New York State, and the plant is considered equal to many in the larger cities. In 1892 he began a business in plumbing supplies and heating apparatus and again demonstrated his native ability, for in his investigation of different heating apparatus, he was led to invent many improvements on which he secured valuable patents. A company was formed under the title, The Warner Safety Boiler Co., of which he is the principal owner, and the "Warner Safety Boilers" have attained a large sale. These boilers were exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition and obtained the highest award granted. For years Mr. Warner agitated the building of the horse street railroad through the village, and that it was largely due to his persistence that a company was finally formed and the road constructed. The foregoing is but a brief synopsis of the active and useful life of one of the most prominent citizens of Oneida and Madison county. During his entire career Mr. Warner has been a man of large affairs, for the development of which he seems to have been eminently well fitted by nature and experience. A man of perfect habits, possessed of excellent ability, keen foresight, and rugged honesty, it is not difficult to determine the causes of his success. Mr. Warner is the largest individual taxpayer of the village; he is a man of great public spirit which has been manifested not in words, but in deeds, and enjoys the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens. For many years he has been a member of the Oneida Baptist church. He married January 20, 1886, Mary E. Dodge, daughter of Morris E. Dodge, an old resident and respected citizen of the town of Vernon, Oneida county. Mrs. Warner enjoys much social popularity in Oneida, and has been active in church and charitable work.

FROM:
Our County and it's people
A Descriptive and Biographical Record of
Madison County, New York
Edited by: John E. Smith
The Boston History Co., Publishers 1890


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