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Alvin Saunders (July 12, 1817 – November 1, 1899) was a U.S. Senator from Nebraska, in the United States, as well as the governor of the Nebraska Territory for most of the American Civil War.

Contents

Education

Saunders was born in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, in Fleming County, Kentucky. He attended the common schools and pursued an academic course; he moved with his father to Illinois in 1829 and then to Mount Pleasant, Iowa (then a part of Wisconsin Territory) in 1836.

Political career

He was the postmaster of Mount Pleasant for seven years. Saunders studied law but never entered into practice; instead, he engaged in mercantile pursuits and banking. He was a delegate to the Iowa State constitutional convention in 1846 and was a member of the Iowa State Senate from 1854-1856 and 1858-1860. Saunders was one of the commissioners appointed by Congress to organize the Union Pacific Railroad Company.

Saunders, circa 1875

He served as the last Governor of Nebraska Territory from 1861-1867. He was a delegate to the 1868 Republican National Convention. Saunders was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 5, 1877, to March 3, 1883; chairman of the Committee on Territories (Forty-seventh Congress). He died in Omaha on November 1, 1899; interment in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Family

Saunders was the grandfather of William Henry Harrison, who served several terms as Wyoming's member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1950s and 60s. His son-in-law was Russell Benjamin Harrison.

Legacy

Saunders County, Nebraska is named after him.

Political offices
Preceded by
Algernon S. Paddock (acting)
Governor of Nebraska Territory
1861–1867
Succeeded by
position abolished
United States Senate
Preceded by
Phineas W. Hitchcock
United States Senator (Class 2) from Nebraska
1877–1883
Served alongside: Algernon S. Paddock, Charles H. Van Wyck
Succeeded by
Charles F. Manderson

References

  1. "The Political Graveyard". Saunders, Alvin. http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/saunders.html. Retrieved January 8, 2006.  
  2. "Congressional Bioguide". Saunders, Alvin. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=S000076. Retrieved January 8, 2006.  
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