The Abraham Lincoln / Richard O. Warinner Connection
Abraham Lincoln appointed Richard O. Warinner to the Union Army position of Additional Paymaster on 5 August 1861, where he held the rank of major. Lincoln's signature on the document has been verified by Dr. Wayne C. Temple, Chief Deputy Director of the Illinois State Archives. Although the spelling of Richard's surname is shown as "Warrener" on the document, instead of the family spelling of "Warinner", this error was apparently a common mistake. In some publications, made in the in the State of Illinois, Richard's name was spelled several other different ways, i.e. Warriner and Wariner, as well as the aforementioned ways. A street sign in Normal, IL. gives his name as "Warriner". However, most newspaper articles in the Bloomington, IL. papers from the 1850's and 60's, correctly spell it - "Warinner". The spelling of his name on his family grave marker and his probate records is "Warinner". How Richard O. Warinner came to know Abraham Lincoln is as follows:
Richard O. Warinner moved to Illinois ( Montgomery Co. ) in about 1835. The William Trabue Major family moved to Bloomington in that same year. Richard married Laura Louisa Major, daughter of William Trabue, in 1836 and they lived after that in Montgomery Co., south of Springfield, IL. They moved to Bloomington sometime before 1848. It may be that Richard knew the Majors in Kentucky, before they all moved to Illinois. From newspaper articles, we know that both Richard and William, his father-in-law, were quite involved in the religious movement known as the Disciples of Christ or the Christian Church. William built or helped build the first
church of that denomination in Bloomington. William and Richard both officiated as preachers in the Christian Church in Bloomington. They were both heavily committed to education and served in various capacities in both the private and public sectors. Schools were started and administered by them. Major's College flourished in Bloomington for over a decade and eventually was absorbed by Wesleyan University. William was one of the founders of Eureka College. Richard served as a board member of the Bloomington Public Schools. Richard was also a director of the Bloomington Female Academy. Their interest and involvement in these activities are a matter of written record. Richard and William were close associates in many endeavors over the years.
In 1850, William Trabue Major retained Lincoln as his attorney in a case where he sued his son-in-law, Matthew Hawks. This case is known as " Supreme Court case file William T. Majors v Matthew Hawks, et al ca 1850, etc "., Illinois State Archives. William's anti-slavery leanings were probably paramount to his moving from Kentucky to Illinois and so he early-on aligned himself with Mr. Lincoln. Not that this court case had anything to do with the slavery issue, but it does show that William Trabue and Lincoln were well acquainted in the early 1850's. Given the relationship between William and Richard, I'm sure that Richard was in on the things regarding William and Abraham Lincoln.
In 1852, William Trabue Major built Bloomington's first public auditorium, known as Major's Hall. It occupied the third floor of a "handsome three-story brick building" ( Lincoln's Lost Speech by Elwell Crissey ). This building would later play an important role in the future election of Lincoln to the U.S. presidency. On May 29th, 1856, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "Lost Speech" from Major's Hall in Bloomington, which was said to have been an important step in his later election. In Crissey's book, he selected 70 notable men, who were in attendance at the two-day ( May 28th and 29th ) political convention in Bloomington, and gave an outline of their lives. William Trabue Major was one of those men, i.e. number 40. Richard O. Warinner, although not mentioned, must have been in attendance at the convention, given his closeness to his father-in-law. Crissey states that there were 275 delegates to the two-day convention and that they comprised only about a fourth of the total in attendance on the 29th, when Lincoln spoke. According to Crissey's book, there may have been as many as 1,100 people packed into Major's Hall. It is said that the Republican Party of Illinois was born at this convention.
Richard O. Warinner is mentioned in the following publications from the State of Illinois:
1. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, Vol I, publ. 1900.
2. The Good Old Times in McLean County Illinois, publ. 1874.
3. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. I, by The Abraham Lincoln Assn., Springfield, lL.
Submitted by Richard E. Watt, g.g.grandson of Richard O. Warinner