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Tinker, Charles Almerin


Age: 0, credited to Chelsea, VT
Unit(s): War Department Telegrapher
Service: Civilian War Department Telegrapher

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Birth: 01/08/1838, Chelsea, VT
Death: 03/12/1917

Burial: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY
Marker/Plot: 27130
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Heidi McColgan
Findagrave Memorial #: 44075450


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not Found
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: Died in WInnepeg, MB; obituary in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 17, 1917. See also Green-Wood Cemetery, Civil War Biographies, off-site


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Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

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Charles E. Tinker

(Men Of Vermont)


Tinker, Charles Almerin, of Brooklyn, N. Y., descended from John Tinker, one of the early settlers of Windsor, Conn. His grandfather removed to Vermont previous to the Revolution and was one of the volunteers who went to the defense of Bennington. His father and mother, Almerin Tinker and Sophronia B. Gilchrist, lived for many years at Chelsea, where Charles A. Tinker, their oldest son, was born Jan. 8, 1838.

Mr. Tinker was taken by his parents, in infancy, to Michigan, where he had only the advantage of a common school education, but returning to his native state in 1851, established their residence in Northfield. He subsequently attended school at Newbury Seminary, but owing to sickness did not complete his course. In 1852 he obtained a position as clerk in the postoffice at Northfield, and was there taught the Bain system of telegraphy. In 1855 he obtained a position as operator with the Vermont & Boston Telegraph Co. at Boston, and soon after with the Cape Cod Telegraph Co. in the Merchants' Exchange, having in the meantime acquired a knowledge of the Morse system. In January, 1857, he went to Chicago, accepting a position there in the office of the Caton lines, and soon after became manager of the Illinois & Mississippi Telegraph Co.'s office at Pekin, Ill.

During this period he made the acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln. At Mr. Lincoln's request, Mr. Tinker explained to him the methods of the telegraph system, and an intimacy thus begun was renewed later when Mr. Lincoln was President, and Mr. Tinker was employed as telegraph operator in the War Department at Washington. Mr. Lincoln was a frequent visitor at Mr. Tinker's office during the war, and received from him the first news of his re-nomination as President and that of Andrew Johnson as Vice-President. A word uttered by Mr. Lincoln on this occasion, intimating his preference for Mr. Hamlin was recalled in later years by Mr. Tinker, and was the means of settling the important controversy that arose after Mr. Hamlin's death.

In the summer of 1857 Mr. Tinker returned to Chicago from Pekin, Ill., and entered the service of the Chicago & Rock Island R. R. Co., and two years later that of the Galena & Chicago Union R. R. Co., as bookkeeper and telegraph operator. During this period he joined the Chicago Light Guard, and served with his company as escort to Stephen A. Douglas to the Wigwam where he made his last great speech for the Union, and two weeks later as guard of honor in the procession which laid his remains away to rest on the banks of Lake Michigan.

At the breaking out of the war he was offered the lieutenant-colonelcy of a regiment, but declined the proffered honor. He soon after entered the United States military service in the War Department at Washington, and was almost immediately ordered to service in the field under General Banks, and opened the military telegraph office at Poolesville, Md. He performed similar services under General Wardsworth at Upton Hill, where he was selected as one of the eight operators to serve under General McClellan on the steamer Commodore, and afterwards in the army headquarters in front of Yorktown, and before Richmond. He was present at the evacuation of Yorktown, and at the battle of Williamsburg, and finally at General Heintzelman's headquarters at Savage Station after the battle of Fair Oaks. During his services at the front he lost his health, and returned to Vermont for one month, when he had regained health, and was then appointed by Major Eckert to the responsible position of cipher operator in the War Department at Washington, having for one of his associates A. B. Chandler of West Randolph. Here he remained until the close of the war, when he was appointed manager of the U. S. Military Telegraph, continuing until it was closed up and its lines turned over to the telegraph companies.

He was then appointed manager of the Western Union Washington office, serving therein until January, 1872, when he became superintendent of telegraph and general train dispatcher of the Vermont Central R. R., at Saint Albans, with jurisdiction over the lines of the Western Union and Montreal Telegraph Cos. on that railway system. In 1875 he was appointed general superintendent of the Pacific Division of the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Co., with headquarters at Chicago. In 1879 this company having fallen under the control of the Western Union company, he resigned and accepted the management of the telegraph lines of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co. While holding this position he became one of the incorporators with Jay Gould, of the American Union Telegraph Co., and received from Mr. Gould a check for two and a half millions of dollars to pay for his subscription to its capital stock. He was also superintendent of a division of that company. In 1881, after the consolidation of the Western Union and American Union Telegraph Cos., he was recalled to the service of the Western Union Telegraph Co., and on Feb. 1, 1882, he was made general superintendent of the Eastern division, comprising all the territory from Washington, D. C., north to the Canada line, west to the Ohio river and east to Cape Breton. This position he still holds.

He is vice-president of the American District Telegraph Co., of New York City, and a director and vice-president of the Vermont and Boston Telegraph Co., and an officer of numerous other telegraph and telephone companies.

He has for some years been prominent in the religious and social circles of Brooklyn. He was one of the organizers and is now vice-president of the Brooklyn Society of Vermonters; he is a member of the Illinois Society of the Sons of Vermont, and has been for several years an officer and trustee of the Washington Avenue Baptist Church and of the Lincoln Club of Brooklyn.

He was married, in 1863, to Miss Lizzie A. Simkins, of Ohio, who deceased in April, 1890, leaving three grown children, two others having died in infancy.

He is a man of fine physique, still in the prime of manhood, capable of great endurance, and fully equal to the arduous and responsible duties connected with his position.

Source: Jacob G. Ullery, compiler, Men of Vermont: An Illustrated Biographical History of Vermonters and Sons of Vermont, (Transcript Publishing Company, Brattleboro, VT, 1894), Part III, p. 156.


Friend of Lincoln Dead

Charles Tinker Once Was Telegraph At War Department

News of the death of Charles Almerin Tinker, aged eighty, a close friend of President Lincoln while the former was stationed here as a Government code telegrapher, was received here today from WInnepeg, Canada.

The friendship of President Lincoln and Mr. Tinker began before the latter was stationed in the War Department here. Mr. Tinker was long before the civil war employed at Pekin, Ill., where he first met Lincoln.

In 1861 Mr. Tinker entered the military telegraph corps, and soon after came to Washington. In 1881 Mr. Tinker entered the service of the Western Union Company, and later became general manager of the Eastern division.

The Washington Times, March 18, 1917, Sunday Evening Edition, Page 12.

Tinker died in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 12 March 1917. He is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY.