Charles W. Fairbanks

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Charles Warren Fairbanks (May 11, 1852 – June 4, 1918) was a Senator from Indiana and the 26th Vice President of the United States.

Born in a log cabin near Unionville Center, Ohio, Fairbanks's ancestry traced back to Puritan followers of Oliver Cromwell, with Jonathan Fayerbankes the first family member to reach America in 1632. The son of a wagon-maker, Fairbanks in his youth saw his family's home used as a hiding place for runaway slaves. After attending country schools and working on a farm, Fairbanks attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where he graduated in 1872. While there, Fairbanks was co-editor of the school newspaper with Cornelia Cole, whom he married after both graduated from the school.[1]

Fairbanks, Alaska is named after Charles W. Fairbanks.[2]


Early career

Fairbanks' first position was as an agent of the Associated Press in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, reporting on political rallies for Horace Greeley during the 1872 presidential election. Fairbanks then moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he briefly attended law school before his admittance to the Ohio bar in 1874. He then moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, the same year.

During his early years in Indiana, Fairbanks was paid $5,000 a year as manager for the bankrupt Indianapolis, Bloomington and Western Railroad. With the assistance of his uncle, Charles W. Smith, whose connections had helped him obtain the position, Fairbanks was able to become a railroad financier, and served as counsel for millionaire Jay Gould.

Prior to the 1888 Republican National Convention, federal judge Walter Q. Gresham sought Fairbanks's help in seeking the nomination for U.S. President. While the bid was ultimately unsuccessful, Fairbanks began to take an even greater interest in politics, falling short in a campaign for the United States Senate in 1893.

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