Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Telegrapher's Telegrapher

One of the founders of Western Union, Anson Stager died on March 26th 1885. He was the leader of the Military Telegraph Department during the Civil War.

Anson Stager was born April 20th 1825 in Ontario County New York the son of Joseph and Elmira Stager. When he was sixteen, Stager was working as an apprentice for the “Rochester Daily Advertiser” in Rochester New York. The owner Henry O’Reilly was a printer and telegraph builder. After O’Reilly built a telegraph line from Harrisburg to Philadelphia Pennsylvania he placed Stager as an operator in Philadelphia, Lancaster and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. In 1848 he became the chief operator of a national line in Cincinnati Ohio.

When the Civil War started in 1861 Stager went into service as a quartermaster of volunteers. In February 1862 he was called to Washington DC and was given an appointment to the head of the Military Telegraph Department, which oversaw all government telegraph departments. It was here that he created a military cipher that was used through out the war. He was made Brevet Brigadier General of the volunteers for his service, and stayed with the military until September 1868.

Anson Stager moved in 1869 to Chicago, Illinois, were he was the president of Western Electric, the Chicago Telephone Company and Western Edison Company. He died in Chicago March 26th 1885. He is buried in the Lake View Cemetery.

No comments: