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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SAUNDERS, Alvin, senator, born in Fleming county, Kentucky, 12 July, 1817. His father, a native of Virginia, removed to Kentucky in early youth. The son went with his father to Illinois in' 1829, and attended school in the intervals of farm work. He removed in 1836 toMount Pleasant, in that part of Wisconsin territory that is now Iowa, and was postmaster there for seven years. At the same time he studied law" but. instead of practising, he engaa'ed in business as a merchant and banker. Mr. Saunders was a member of the convention that framed the constitution of Iowa in 1846, and a state senator for eight years. He sat in the first Republican convention in the state, and in the National conventions of 1860 and 1868, was a commissioner to organize the Pacific railroad company, and served as governor of Nebraska territory from 1861 till its admission into the Union in 1867. During his term of offine the population of the territory was only about 30,000, yet he not only raised 3,000 men for the National armies, but successfully carried on operations against hostile Indians. Much of the prosperity of the state is due to his energy. He was instrumental in causing the Union Pacific railroad to cross Missouri river at Omaha, instead of several miles below, thus insuring the rapid growth of that city. In 1877-'83 he served in the United States senate, where he secured for his state more than 600,000 acres of land by straightening the northern boundary-line.
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