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Horace Greeley, prominent newspaper editor, writer and politician, was married to Mary Youngs Cheney in Warrenton County on July 5, 1836. Greeley, famous for his work on the New York Tribune, and his adage, “Go West, young man,” was married in Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Main Street. Greeley, though best known for his writing, continued his quest for political office throughout his life, including a bid for President of the United States in 1872.
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Greeley was born in 1811 into a poor farming family. He grew up in New Hampshire and Vermont and, at the age of fifteen, became an apprentice at a local newspaper. In 1831 he moved to New York City, where he worked as a printer in small papers, before beginning a printing partnership in 1834 that published his first work, the New Yorker. The New Yorker was published until 1841, when it succumbed to financial problems.
An active member of the Whig Party, Greeley was already writing for a variety of Whig publications at the time, including a campaign paper, the Jeffersonian. He began to publish a daily Whig paper, the New York Tribune, in 1841; with its success gained power and influence. Greeley maintained strict abolitionist views but withheld support of Lincoln in the Civil War.
Greeley’s marriage in 1841 improbably took place in Warrenton. Cheney, who was from Cornwall, Connecticut, was living in the town during their engagement, teaching school at Mrs. Allen’s School. John Yancey, a prominent Warrenton resident, acted as Greeley’s bondsman. Soon after their marriage, Cheney finished her work at Mrs. Allen’s School and the couple returned to New York City.
Bishop John Stark Ravenscroft in 1824 consecrated Emmanuel Episcopal Church. In the 1850s, Jacob W. Holt extensively remodeled the church in a Romanesque revival style. The church was redesigned in an imitation of Samuel Sloan’s design of “A Village Church” in Model Architect. The New York architect William Lawrence Bottomley again redesigned the church in 1927. Despite the changes it has undergone, the Church still remains in the same location and as part of the same parish as when Horace Greeley and Mary Youngs Cheney were married there in 1836.
Charles Van Doren, ed., Webster’s American Biographies (1974)
Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, ed., Dictionary of American Biography, VII (1946)—sketch by Allan Nevins
Lizzie Wilson Montgomery, Sketches of Old Warrenton. North Carolina (1924)
Kenneth McFarland, The Architecture of Warren County, North Carolina, 1770s to 1860s (2001)