Alvin Saunders

Alvin Saunders
United States Senator
from Nebraska
In office
March 4, 1877  March 3, 1883
Preceded by Phineas Hitchcock
Succeeded by Charles F. Manderson
10th Governor of Nebraska Territory
In office
May 15, 1861  February 21, 1867
Preceded by Algernon S. Paddock
Succeeded by David Butler (as Governor of the State of Nebraska)
Member of the Iowa Senate
In office
1854-1856, 1858-1860
Personal details
Born (1817-07-12)July 12, 1817
Fleming County, Kentucky
Died November 1, 1899(1899-11-01) (aged 82)
Omaha, Nebraska
Political party Republican

Alvin Saunders (July 12, 1817  November 1, 1899) was a U.S. Senator from Nebraska, in the United States, as well as the final and longest-serving governor of the Nebraska Territory, a tenure he served during most of the American Civil War.


Saunders was born in Fleming County, Kentucky. He attended the common schools and pursued an academic course; he moved with his father to Illinois in 1829 and then to Mount Pleasant, Iowa (then a part of Wisconsin Territory) in 1836.

Political career

He was the postmaster of Mount Pleasant for seven years. Saunders studied law but never entered into practice; instead, he engaged in mercantile pursuits and banking. He was a delegate to the Iowa State constitutional convention in 1846 and was a member of the Iowa State Senate from 1854 to 1856 and 1858 to 1860. Saunders was one of the commissioners appointed by Congress to organize the Union Pacific Railroad Company.

He served as the last Governor of Nebraska Territory from 1861 to 1867. He was a delegate to the 1868 Republican National Convention. Saunders was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served a single term from March 4, 1877, to March 4, 1883; chairman of the Committee on Territories (Forty-seventh Congress). He died in Omaha on November 1, 1899; interment in Forest Lawn Cemetery.


Saunders was the grandfather of William Henry Harrison, who served several terms as Wyoming's member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1950s and 60s. His son-in-law was Russell Benjamin Harrison.


Saunders County, Nebraska and Saunders School in Omaha were both named after him. Alvin Saunders Johnson, the founding editor of The New Republic, was named in honor of Saunders.[1]


  1. McKee, J. (June 1, 2014) "McKee: Alvin Saunders Johnson, a Nebraskan with a vision", Lincoln Journal-Star.
  1. "The Political Graveyard". Saunders, Alvin. Archived from the original on 24 December 2005. Retrieved January 8, 2006. 
  2. "Congressional Bioguide". Saunders, Alvin. Archived from the original on 29 November 2005. Retrieved January 8, 2006. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Algernon S. Paddock
Acting Territorial Governor
Governor of Nebraska Territory
Succeeded by
position abolished
United States Senate
Preceded by
Phineas W. Hitchcock
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Nebraska
Served alongside: Algernon S. Paddock, Charles H. Van Wyck
Succeeded by
Charles F. Manderson
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