Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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STAGER, Anson, soldier, born in Ontario county, New York, 20 April, 1825 ; died in Chicago, Illinois, 26 March, 1885. At sixteen years of age he entered into the service of Henry O'Reilly, a printer, who subsequently became a pioneer in the building and operating of telegraphs. He followed O'Reilly in his enterprise, and when the latter established a line from Philadelphia to Harrisburg he was placed in charge of the first office at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1846. He then went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he made several improvements in the construction of batteries and the arrangement of wires, and in 1852 he was made general superintendent of the principal lines in the west at that time. After the consolidation of the Western union company with these he was still superintendent, and to his industry and ability the success of these lines is much indebted. At the opening of the civil war he was asked to take the management of the telegraphs in southern Ohio and along the Virginia line, to which he consented and at once prepared a cipher by which he could safely communicate with those who had the key. In October he was called to Washington and appointed general superintendent of government telegraphs in all departments. He remained in service till September, 1868, and was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers for valuable services. In 1869 General Stager returned to Chicago, and, in addition to his duties as general superintendent, he was the promoter of many enterprises, among which was the Western electric manufacturing company, one of the largest of its kind in the United States. He was also interested in the Babcock manufacturing company and several others. He secured a consolidation of the two telephone companies in Chicago, and was president of them and also of the Western Edison electric light company, and a director in many corporations.
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