The Family of William Warner and Sarah Leitch

Uncle Tom Warner: the Saddest Story in our Family History

I have a special affection for James [Warner] and Margaret [Quinn]’s fifth child, their third son, Thomas. Our great granduncle was one of the hardest of our relatives to track down in the records. For years he was a mystery. Then, in the spring of 2015, the missing puzzle pieces started to turn up and fall into place. Within a month or so, I was finally able to pull together the story of this elusive uncle.

Warner Stories (unpublished)

Many of you know that I have been working for years on a book about our family. The working title is Warner Stories: A Narrative Family History for the Descendants and Relatives of Harley Warner and Helen Price.

With the book about half finished and a couple of years at least away from being published, I’ve decided that’s maybe it’s time to share some of the chapters that are ready to go.

My favourite chapter, so far, tells the story of my great great uncle, Thomas Benson “Tom” Warner (1864-1908), an older brother of my great grandfather, Harold Rix “Harry” Warner (1874-1944).

It might be the saddest of all the sad stories I’ve discovered while researching our family. Poor Uncle Tom just couldn’t get a break. He died tragically and alone at the age of forty-four.

For reasons you’ll understand when you reach the end of the chapter, the family’s oral tradition included not a single word about Uncle Tom. Even though I only know him from what I’ve found in public records, he has become very real to me. When my wife and I visited his grave in Brooklyn, New York a few years ago, I was very conscious that it was, almost certainly, his first visit from a family member in over a hundred years.

I’m pleased that I was able to reconstruct his story and I urge you, by reading the chapter below, to join me in honouring a family member long forgotten but now remembered.


  1. Kent J Warner Kathleen Warner

    A very good read. And worth the time, as the last paragraph delivers the news of Robert Warner’s passing in 2018. Robert was my dads brother. My dad was William Donald Warner. Regards, Kent J Warner

    • Paul Warner

      Thank you, Kent. It’s so good to hear from you. I enjoy writing these stories, but it’s even more rewarding if someone actually reads them.

      It seems you and I are third cousins. Maybe sometime we could compare notes on the family history.

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