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History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Fitz Henry Warren

FITZ HENRY WARREN was one of the most brilliant and versatile of the notable men of Iowa. He was a native of New England, having been born in Brimfield, Massachusetts, January 11, 1816. He received a liberal education and first engaged in business as a merchant. In August, 1844, he removed to Iowa Territory and located at Burlington where he engaged in milling. He took a deep interest in politics from boyhood and was an active Whig. It is believed that he was the first to propose the nomination of General Zachary Taylor for President and he was a delegate to the National Whig Convention in 1848 which nominated the hero of Buena Vista. Soon after the inauguration of President Taylor, Fitz Henry Warren was appointed First Assistant Postmaster General. After the death of the President and the accession of Millard Fillmore, who approved the fugitive slave law, Warren resigned in disgust at the subserviency of the new President to the slave power. Through the influence of the antislavery Whigs Mr. Warren was made secretary of the National Executive Committee. In the long senatorial contest before the Fifth General Assembly in 1855, Mr. Warren was one of the prominent candidates but James Harlan was finally chosen. Mr. Warren was chairman of the Des Moines County delegation to the convention of 1856 which organized the Republican party and was one of the delegates to the National Convention which nominated General Fremont for President. He was one of the most brilliant political writers in the State and a frequent contributor to the editorial columns of the Burlington Hawkeye. In 1861 he was one of the chief editorial writers on the New York Tribune and the author of the famous “On to Richmond” articles. He returned to Iowa and helped to raise the First Iowa Cavalry of which he was appointed colonel. In 1862 he was promoted to Brigadier-General with a command in the army under General Samuel R. Curtis, in Missouri. In 1863 General Warren was the leading candidate before the Republican State Convention for Governor, but by a combination of the supporters of other candidates, Warren was defeated. Before the close of the war he was brevetted Major-General. In 1866 he was elected to the State Senate and after serving one session was appointed by the President, Minister to Guatemala where he served two years. He died at Brimfield, Massachusetts, in June, 1878. Judge Francis Springer said of this brilliant man:

“General Warren was one of the keenest and most incisive writers, the most scholarly of our statesmen and one of the beat men we ever had in the State.”