Hon. John Warner was born at Brookfield, Mass., in 1780. He received a common school education at that place and in Sturbridge – his only stock with which to begin the fortunes of life. In 1801, at the age of twenty-one years, he started on foot for this town, with the whole of his extra personal attire in his hand. In spite of the most rigid economy his scanty funds were insufficient to last him through the journey, so he was obliged to work a month to procure more, and when he arrived here the contents of his exchequer amounted to thirty-five cents. He hired himself out to Nathaniel Read, as a journeyman currier for two years, and at the expiration of that term of service he engaged in the business on his own account, following it for fifty years, amassing a fortune and becoming a large land-owner. During his later years he devoted his time to farming. All through his life, however, he conducted his business in the interests of the poor, helping them in every manner possible. In 1805, he married Sally Read, a daughter of his former employer, by whom he reared a family of seven children, three of whom survived him. In 1814, he went as a volunteer to the battle of Plattsburgh, taking an active part in the engagement, paying his own expenses. He also held for successive years nearly all the civil offices of the town. In 1823-’24, he represented his townsmen in the legislature, and, in 1842-’43, was elected one of the assistant judges. Possessed of strong and decided judgment, he was often called to act as administrator in the settlement of estates, universally giving satisfaction. A friend of the poor, the widow and the orphan, and a liberal supporter of education, Mr. Warner so endeared himself to the people of Cambridge that the day of his death, September 1, 1863, was one of universal mourning among them. For a long series of years he and his two sons, Chauncey and Harrison, by mutual consent used each others names in a large business with the utmost harmony. His son Chauncey, born in 1815, still resides here. He also possesses a large fortune, and by use of it shows that he has inherited his father’s love for benevolent actions. Among the many generous acts he has performed was the donation, two years since, of $25,000.00 to the citizens of St. Albans, towards establishing a home for friendless children. This benevolent enterprise has been the means of rescuing many little waifs from want, who now live to bless the Warner Home for Little Wanderers. In the spring of 1883, he also purchased the large dwelling and ample grounds of E. A. Smith, at St. Albans, for the establishment of a free hospital.
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