submitted by Jo Ann Carlson, November 10, 2007


Major A.O. Warfield, one of the most widely and favorably known pioneers of Muscatine county, is no more, having tranquility entered the sleep that knows no awakening last evening at his room, No. 11 at the Commercial House. He had been ailing for the past year with the infirmities of old age and though confined to his room during the greater part of this time, he would venture out occasionally, being last seen on our streets last Friday, but his enfeebled condition was apparent to all and the inevitable end, when it came, was not unexpected. At 11 o’clock, Friday evening he sank into a comatose condition and at 8:15 o’clock last evening he breathed his last.

Major Warfield was the first railway agent in Muscatine and continued in the service thirty-six years or until 1891 when he retired, being at that time in his 80th year and probably the oldest agent in the service of the company.

Mr. Warfield was born in Frederick (now Carroll) county, Maryland, Nov. 16,1811. His parents were Judge Alexander and Jennie (Dorsey) Warfield, both natives of Maryland, the former being born March 18, 1764, the latter in June 1776. Judge Warfield was prominently identified with the M.E. church as class leader and was elected to the state legislature by the whig party. Our townsman was one of ten children in this family. He grew to manhood in his native country, where he received a liberal education. In 1837 accompanied by his cousin, David R. Warfield, he came west, reaching Burlington, Iowa, in November of the same year. The ice was frozen in the river, and with their guns on their shoulders, the young men started or foot for Bloomington (now Muscatine) and after a trying and difficult journey reached Bloomington, which consisted of a few scattered cabins among the stumps and hills, there not being what we would now call a respectable house in the little hamlet. After a little time they thought timber would be in demand and proceeded to look for a mill site, finding a favorable place on Mad Creek, where they erected a mill. Major Warfield afterward sold his interest in that pioneer mill to his cousin, and embarked in the mercantile business at Antwerp, Cedar county, Iowa, three miles west of Tipton, prosecuting the business there for several years, and then again came to Muscatine. In 1855 he was appointed freight and ticket agent of Muscatine, on the Mississippi & Missouri railroad, being the first agent at this station, and for 36 years continued in the same employ. On the building of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern railroad to this place, he was appointed its agent, serving in that capacity until 1881 when the ticket and freight were made different departments, and he continued to be the freight agent until he voluntarily retired ten years later, being then in his 80th year.

Politically Mr. Warfield was a staunch democrat, frequently representing his party in county and state conventions and being always ready to do his part in the cause. No man in Muscatine county was better known or counted more friends, and his demise will be regretted especially by the old settlers. The funeral appointment will await the arrival of absent relatives.

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