The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Spinner, Francis Elias

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SPINNER, Francis Elias, American financier: b. German Flats (now Mohawk), N. Y., 21 Jan. 1802; d. Jacksonville, Fla., 31 Dec. 1890. He was apprenticed to a confectioner and then to a saddler, but in 1824 became a merchant at Herkimer, N. Y. He was deputy sheriff of Herkimer County in 1829-34, sheriff in 1835-37, was active in the militia where he gained the rank of major-general and in 1838-39 was State commissioner for building the State lunatic asylum at Utica. He was connected with a bank in Mohawk for 20 years as cashier and as president, was auditor and deputy naval officer in the naval office at New York in 1845-49, and in 1855-57 was a Democratic member of Congress. He was one of the original members of the Republican party, was re-elected by it to Congress m 1856 and in 1858, and was appointed United States treasurer by President Lincoln in 1861, a post which he occupied until 1875. He was the first to suggest the employment of women in the government offices and carried his point, though against much opposition. His name became during his long term of office the synonym of integrity and his designedly singular signature on the “greenbacks” of the United States was the most familiar autograph in the country.