Hon. Wilder W. Warner

Hon. Wilder W. Warner,  Postmaster, station agent and dealer in grain and stock, and owner of the cheese factory, grain elevator etc., at Warner, was born in Bolton, Worcester Co., Mass., Oct. 10, 1828. Her father, Elias Warner, was the youngest son of Elias, Sr., who was also a native of the same county in which our subject was born. He was one of the patriots during that eventful period in the history of our country when the Colonists were fighting for their independence. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and fought at the battle of Bunker Hill .

He was married to Abigail Priest, also a member of a New England family, and of English parentage. The origin of the Warner family in America , according to tradition, was from four brothers who came from England early in the history of the American Colonies, and purchased a strip of land in Massachusetts in and near Harvard, one mile wide and six miles long. The father of Wilder W., being in the fourth generation from the above mentioned brothers, owned a portion of the land purchased by the original settlers, which also remains in the family until this day. By profession he was a physician, and practiced most of his life in Middlesex Co., Mass. , where he died in 1875. In Worcester County , he was married to Miss Mary A. Lawrence, a member of the old family of Lawrences , which are well known in New England history. She died on the 14th of July, 1845.

   Our subject was the second of a family of six children, the elder of whom was Quincy A., now deceased; the next, Rowena B., also deceased; the fourth Susan G.; the fifth, Sarah J.; and the youngest, Martha M., who is now deceased. Susan and Sarah are married and are living in Massachusetts . Wilder W. lived at home until he was 13 years of age. He then began to work out for the purpose of securing means whereby to educate himself. With characteristic energy and economy he thus earned and saved $700, which he paid out towards securing his education. He completed his school days at Groton Academy , New Ipswich Academy , and at the East Hampton Institute. He was then ready to embark upon the scenes of an active business career, and, like thousands of others in the older and thickly settled East, he turned his face Westward, where he hoped to find better advantages than were offered at his own home. Accordingly, in September, 1849, he set out for the West. He secured a second-class passage to Chicago , and from there set out on foot for the city of Rock Island . Possessing an excellent education, as well as rare natural qualifications, he was not long in securing a position as a teacher. For some time he taught school. He subsequently went to Andover , where he taught school for a time and then went to Dixon for the purpose of entering Government land, the land office being located at that place. In this way he secured 160 acres on section 17, Western Township , when he left the schoolroom and turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. In this line he has been quite successful, and now owns more than 400 acres of land here, besides other land in the West.

   A man possessing a good education is always a valuable aid in a new country, and Mr. Warner’s services and the large information he possessed were greatly demanded and often brought in requisition in the early history of Henry County , as indeed they are at present. He was elected Justice of the Peace when 21 years of age, and performed the duties of that office upwards of 25 years, during which time he settled up without a lawsuit a majority of the cases brought before him. He was also made Supervisor in the early history of the township of Western , and held that office when elected to represent the people of Henry and Rock Island Counties in the 28th General Assembly. He filled this position, as he has every other which has devolved upon him, with marked ability and with excellent satisfaction to the people of his district. Politically, he is a stanch Republican, and an active member of that organization, and one of the important factors in the success of his party in his district.

   Mr. Warner possesses many strong traits of character, and a man of his qualities naturally wields large personal influence in moulding the affairs of his community. In business life he has been quite successful. He has scrupulously avoided the snag upon which so many otherwise excellent business men are wrecked—that of going in debt. He has a peculiar abhorrence of debt, and he never permits himself to go in debt; nor does he ever give his note. Another underlying principle that seems to have guided him away from the shoals of bankruptcy, is his aversion to reckless speculation. He does not believe in getting something for nothing, or in making the hazardous attempt.
   As one of the county’s representative business men, as well as one of its respected and honored pioneers, we place Mr. Warner’s portrait in this volume. It is engraved from a photograph recently taken.


1885 Portrait & Biographical Album of Henry Co., Ill.    page 619

Transcribed by Jan Roggy

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