Alexander County

Biography - Henry Winter

HENRY WINTER, ex-Mayor of the city of Cairo, was born in Portsmouth, England, August 15, 1829, being the thirteenth of a family, of sixteen children of Robert and Jane Winter. The family emigrated to the United States in the summer of 1837, and located in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Henry remained until 1849, receiving in the meantime the advantage of an ordinary common school education. After the death of his mother, he was bound as apprentice to the trade of tinner, but in consequence of ill treatment, at the end of four years, he left his employer, and under the instructions of another party completed his trade, becoming a first-class tinner. During eight years of his residence in Cincinnati, he was an active member of the fire department. He left Cincinnati in 1849, to take a position in Cannelton, Ind., where he won the esteem of many warm friends, among whom was the Hon. Jacob Maynard, who advanced him the money to establish a small business, which proved very prosperous, and by which he was soon able to branch out largely, but in consequence of an unfortunate partnership alliance, his business was completely broken up. During his residence of seven years at Cannelton, he organized two fire companies, and was for five years the President of one of them. On the 20th of August, 1856, he came to Cairo, and soon had started a tin shop on a paying basis, and for several years, so marked was his success that in the years 1867-68 he was the largest tax-payer in Alexander County. It is said that previous to this date, he had built over $180,000 worth of brick buildings, besides several frame houses, and was the owner of three flourishing business houses in Cairo, two in Paducah, Ky., and one at Omaha, Neb. In many instances the city of Cairo to-day bears the impress of his molding hand. During the war, and from its begin, ning, he was a stanch supporter of the Union at a time and place where to be loyal meant a great deal. He acted with the Republican party until 1872, when he supported the nomination of Horace Greeley to the Presidency, and was a delegate to the Cincinnati Convention which, nominated him. In local affairs, he takes a liberal view, always acting according to his best judgment in the best interests of the people. He has been twice elected Mayor of the city, and has proven himself an able and wise leader. Since his residence in Cairo, he has been intimately connected with the fire department; was President of the Arab Fire Company for ten years. He is noted for his unselfish, generous spirit, having given many thousands of dollars to benevolent institutions, in fact while he has accumulated an untold amount of money, it has mostly gone to bless others, and to-day he is possessed of only a moderate subsistence. He was married on the 13th of August, 1851, to Miss Margaret Murdock, of New York.

Extracted 31 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, pages 53-54.

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