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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html


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Marinus Willett Warne.

MARINUS WILLETT WARNE was born at New Brunswick, New Jersey, December 7th, 1810. His father was a respectable merchant, engaged in the hardware trade, and died insolvent, owing to the financial crisis which took place after the war of 1812, when the subject of this memoir was only ten years of age. Young Warne, after the death of his father, received no further education, but was forced to do something for his own livelihood. At the age of twelve years, he engaged himself to the successor of his father's business, with whom he remained nine years, during that time acquiring a complete knowledge of the hardware and cedarware business.

Marinus Willett Warne, on arriving at the age of twenty-one, determined on removing to New York city, where, if the field of success was more difficult, it offered an ampler harvest to the votary of ambition. He accordingly removed to the great metropolis, and entered the large establishment kept by William Galloway & Company, with whom he remained two years. Then, feeling anxious to carry on business on his own account, untrammelled by any superior power, he commenced the manufacture of cedar-ware on a most extensive scale, with which he in a short time connected the house-furnishing business.

At this time Mr. Warne appeared to be one of the favorites of fortune. Wealth poured upon him from a thousand avenues, and he conducted the largest business of the kind in the great empire city; but clouds were lowering around him which he did not see, and he soon experienced how uncertain is the stability of sublunary things. His friendly feelings had led him to indorse notes to a considerable amount, and a little pressure taking place in the money market, the notes which he indorsed were thrown on his hands for liquidation, and for such an amount that his immense business received a sudden check, and he was forced to wind up his concern.

Thus suddenly stripped of the fortune which he had acquired during a long term of continued labor and economy, Mr. Warne, though he felt sorely his misfortune, did not yield to despondency and useless complaint. He felt that the same continued perseverance, the same business qualifications put in force, would again achieve an independence. He resolved, then, to commence his fortune in the far West, the land that was open to adventurous ambition, and started for St. Louis. When he arrived in the city of his destination, he had neither friends nor money. He had only that self-reliance which formed one of the chief elements of his character, and that energy which was ready to encounter and overcome every opposing obstacle. On arriving at St. Louis, he commenced to work at his trade, and, after some time, having amassed a little money, he engaged with Henry L. Joy in the manufacture of wooden-ware, at Quincy, Illinois, by machinery, at the same time carrying on a business in St. Louis. The factory at Quincy did a tremendous business, and the profits of the concern were considerable.

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The horizon of the future again became bright, and the hopes of Mr. Warne again became flowering, but only again to be blighted. The factory at Quincy took fire by some accident, and was reduced to ashes. There was no insurance, and the loss was total. This was a heavy blow upon his prospects and business, but he bestowed still closer attention on is concern in St. Louis, which was by this time in a flourishing condition; but, as if misfortune was bent on testing, to the utmost his powers of mental, moral, and physical endurance, the great fire of 1849 swept his remaining property in the universal conflagration, and left him almost stripped of every thing. With the pittance he received from the insurance companies, who were nearly all rendered insolvent by this wide destruction of property by fire, he commenced partnership with William H. Merritt, and, during the seven years of the continuance of the partnership, the firm were very successful. Mr. Merritt then sold out his interest to E. L. Cheever, who, February 5th, 1857, lost his life in the ill-fated steamer, Colonel Crossman. Captain Joshua Cheever then took his brother's interest, and the name of the firm remained unchanged. The firm of Warne, Cheever & Company are composed of the subject of this sketch, the senior partner, Captain Joshua Cheever, and Mortimer N. Burchard; the last named gentleman Mr. Warne brought up from a boy.

Mr. Warne has a large family. He was married in June, 1833, to Miss Mary S. Tenbroeck, of New Jersey, and eleven children have been the fruit of the union, ten of whom survive. In his domestic relations, he has ever been most happy; and if clouds lowered around him during a large portion of his eventful life, there were always smiles and peace at his fireside.

Mr. Warne has always been a devotee to business, and has had neither leisure nor inclination to busy himself with any outside matters. However, when the subject of the horse railroad came up for consideration on the part of our leading citizens, he at once took a prominent part in what he considered would be of so much benefit to St. Louis. He is also one of the efficient directors of the Exchange Bank of St. Louis; is president of the civic organization of the Missouri Guards, and life-member of the National Guards, both of which organizations are composed of our most respectable citizens. He was also the first president of the Citizens' Savings Loan Association. Mr. Warne may be proud of the part which he has played upon the drama of life. He has had to contend with vicissitudes that were sufficient to make the bravest falter, and make the stoutest heart yield to despondency; but though the shafts of misfortune flew thick around him, he neither faltered nor yielded; and now he can reap his reward, and is the senior partner of one of the most substantial and extensive firms in the great metropolis of the West. He has a large number of assistants in his business, and sedulously inculcates those principles of attention, rectitude, and industry which are so interwoven with his own character. The pages of his life are instructive to the young, and teach them that opulence and social position are in the reach of all who, like him, can hope, work, and persevere with an untiring spirit, and are determined to achieve independence and a sterling business reputation.

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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html
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