MAJOR WILLIAM WARNER. This gentleman is one of the self-made men of this country and is an attorney of distinguished ability before the Missouri bar. He owes his nativity to Lafayette County, Wis., where he was born June 11, 1839, the youngest of six children, whose parents died young, leaving their little brood of children with no sustenance, and only an honest name and that spirit of independence which has made the subject of this sketch one of the most influential and honored citizens of the State. Since the tender age of six years he has fought the battle of life for himself, his struggles with poverty and adversity being constant and bitter for many years, and with the pluck which has ever characterized his career, he surmounted the difficulties over which so many have stumbled and fallen. Until he was ten years old he worked at anything he could get to do, but at that age he entered a country store as clerk, where he remained five years. During this time be saved enough money to pay his expenses for two years in college, where his bright intellect, great energy and industry placed him at the bead of his classmates. Succeeding this be taught school for two years, and at the same time read law and prepared himself, by devoted application, for his, present profession. When the Civil War opened, he offered his services to his country, entering the service in 1862 as first lieutenant, after which be was appointed adjutant of the Thirty-third Wisconsin Volunteers. In 1863 he was promoted to captaincy, and in 1864 was made assistant adjutant-general, receiving the rank of major in 1865. He was in active service in the western department during the entire conflict, being on staff duty the most of the time. He was no knight of the carpet, but a soldier in heart as well as in uniform, was prompt to obey all orders and courageous and undaunted in action. In October, 1865, he located in Kansas City, Mo., where he at once opened a law office and in the spring of 1867 he was elected city attorney and the following year was chosen circuit attorney, a position he resigned after holding it for two years. In 1871 he was elected mayor of Kansas City by a majority of nearly four hundred votes, and that he was the only successful candidate spoke well for his popularity and influence. He has since been offered this position again and again but has always firmly declined to fill it, for his practice occupied fully his time and attention and left no room for the discharge of civic duties. He is one of the most influential members of the Republican party in the State and as a stump speaker he has few superiors in the West, for his commanding presence, his forcible and logical eloquence and his well-rounded and thoughtful sentences hold the deep attention of the masses. He has ever been strong in argument, rich in humor and his sarcasm is keen and cutting. He is a politician of the progressive school and is ever ready to vote for the man, irrespective of party, when the good of his section demands it. In 1875-6 he supported a Democrat for the office of mayor. To him much credit is due in the prosperity of Kansas City, for he assisted in preparing its charter, his care and legal foresight helping to frame the laws that now give to this magnificent city the best government in the West. In his profession he has a standing which any lawyer might covet, and as a pleader he has few superiors, the thoroughness and intelligence with which he takes up a case seeming to inspire confidence in all. His life has been a most interesting one, but the dark days of his early trials were brightened by hopes of the future, and his many trials forgotten in the determination to make a name and fortune for himself. He has always been liberal in his religious views, and believes that every one has the right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, and with unusual generosity he respects the honest opinions of others and believes that every intelligent human being has the right to think for himself He is of medium height, dark complexioned and heavily built, showing vigor, life and resolution in every movement. In 1866 he was; united in marriage with Mrs. Sophia A. Bromley, a sister of T. B. Bullene, a lady whose many domestic and social virtues have made his home an exceptionally happy one. They have three children: John Bullene, born August 17, 1867; Cora Eva, born April 18, 1869, and Nellie Merrill, born October 14, 1871. Major Warner has been Grand Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Springfield-Greene County Library