Nearly sixty years have passed since John Warner, then a young man in the full prime of enthusiasm and ambition, came to Kansas to seek his fortune in the young state. At that time his available eash assets consisted of $13, not a great sum with which to start in an unknown country. This was sufficient, however, and not many years had passed before he was on the high road to success. Now, in his eighty-fourth year, this Kansas pioneer and Civil war veteran is living in retirement at Manhattan, at which city he took his residence in 1908, after an eminently successful career as farmer and honorable, public-spirited citizen.
John Warner was born in Baden, Germany, October 16, 1833, and was but five years old when, in 1838, his parents, John and Elizabeth (Pfiester) Warner, brought their family to the United States and settled on a farm in Clark County, Indiana. In 1847 Mr. Warner’s father gave up agricultural work to engage in railroad construction in Indiana and Kentucky, and was the builder of the first railroad in the latter state, from Louisville to Frankfort, a work in which his son, John, took a part. In 1852 the family removed to Tama County, Iowa, the father again resuming agricultural activities. John Waruer had received a public school education, and by the year 1853 was ready to enter upon an independent career. Accordingly he returned to Indiana, where he was married, in the same year, to Ellen White. He farmed in Indiana until 1857, when he came to Kansas for the dual purpose of establishing a home and making Kansas a free state. In July, 1857, he landed in Riley County, where he has since resided. He first located on a farm near Stockdale, but in 1869, sold his farm there and purchased another in Ogden Township, and doveloped one of the finest country estates in Riley County, which he increased by adding to its acrenge and improved with buildings second to none in the county. For many years he was engaged, in connection with general farming, in the live stock business, and well-bred cattle and horses made his stock farm widely and favorably known throughout the state. As has been stated, he began his earoer with very limited means, but set himself to the task of building him a home and of becoming a successful farmer, and as may be inferred from his present status he succeeded well in his endeavors. With the strictest regard for honesty and probity of character, he has won an enviable reputation for straightforward business transactions and has also been representative of a high type of citizonship. Having succeeded in a gratifying measure, at the age of three score and fifteen years, Mr. Warner concluded that he had earned a rest from his active business cares, and in 1908 sold his farm and moved to the City of Manhattan, where he has since lived in retirement.
Although Mr. Warner did not answer the first call of President Lincoln for troops, he later served the cause of the Union. When the war first came on his wife was in rapidly failing health, and he decided it was his duty to remain at her side. She died in 1862, and in August of that same year he tendered his services to the Federal Government and was accepted as a private in Company G, Eleventh Regiment, Kansas Volunteer Infantry, which later became cavalry. He gallantly served with his command on the border and in Missouri and Arkansas, until the close of the war, receiving his honorable discharge June 13, 1865. He is a charter member of Lew Grove Post, Grand Army of the Republic, at Manhattan.
In 1863, while home on a furlough, Mr. Warner was married a second time, being united with Miss Lizzie Odler, whe died in 1872, leaving three daughters, the only living children of Mr. Warner. In 1874 he married his present wife, who was, before her marriage, Lucy A. Lee.
In politics, Mr. Warner has always supported the men and measures of the republican party, and while he has never sought political honors at various times has been urged by his friends to become a candidate for a county office. Save minor positions in his township, he has never availed himself of his opportunities to hold public office. For more than forty years he has been a member of the Grange, and bore an active part in its organization. He has always taken an active interest not only in the welfare of the farmers, but in civic movements promoted for the public weal. He is a member of the Riley County Historical Society, has been a friend of the cause of education and has lived a consistent Christian life. For many years he has been a prominent member and supporter of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His life has been an active one, attended by success in business relations, and he has proved an exemplary husband, father, neighbor and citizen. Now in his eighty-fourth year, he is in the enjoyment of good health and possessed of an active mind, and still takes a commendable interest in matters pertaining to his community.