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Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 7 months ago

Summarized from Dictionary of American Biography, Volume IX, Sewell-Trowbridge, edited by Dumas Malone, 1936.



Anson Stager was born on April 20, 1865 in Ontario County, NY and was raised by his father in Rochester, NY. He completed his schooling at age 16 and worked for Henry O'Reilly as a printer's devil on the Rochester Daily Advertiser. By the time Stager was 20, he was learning telegraphy on his own while O'Reilly worked with Samuel Morse to build the first telegraph line to Pittsburgh. Stager was employed as a telegraph operator upon the opening of a telegraph office in Lancaster, PA in 1846 and was the manager of the Pittsburgh office by 1848. A year earlier, on November 14,, 1847, he married Rebecca Sprague of Buffalo. Stager would work in the telegraph office for four years, where he originated the system of how a closed circuit was used for telegraph wires to run of a common battery. In 1852 he was appointed general superintendant of the New York & Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Co and four years later he was appointed general superintendant for Western Union Telegraph Company when it was formed in 1856. In this role, Stager devised the contract that gave Western Union it's monoloply of stringing wires along the railroads. Stager moved to Cleveland, OH in 1856 and was there when the Civil War broke out in 1861. He took charge of the telegraphs in the department of the Ohio and then was appointed captain and assistant quartermaster general in November of 1861, when he moved to Washington and took charge fo the military telegraph department. He became a colonel a year later and was made aide-de-camp to General Halleck from the War Department. He moved headquarters back to Cleveland in 1864 and served until late 1866, when he was mustered out of service holding the rank of brevet brigadier general. After the war, Stager passed on the offer of the holding the rank of general superintendant of Western Union, though he accepted a similar role for just the Central Division of the company, which required his removal to Chicago, IL in 1869. He would become a vice president of Western Union, resigning in 1881. He served as the president of Western Electric until his death, and also served the interests of the Vanderbilt family. He was involved in the furthuring of the telephone in the Northwest and Chicago and helped with the introduction of the electric light, serving as president of Western Edison Electric Light COmpany. Anson Stager died in Chicago on March 26, 1885 and was survived by three daughters.

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