Codes and Statutes.The first collection of the laws of the Territory of Kansas was that adopted by the first legislative assembly in 1855, and usually designated and known as the "Bogus Statutes." At the time of the adoption of these laws, what was known as the pro-slavery party had entire control of the legislature. The free-state party having a majority in the legislative assembly in 1859, a board of commissioners, consisting of William McKay of Wyandotte, F. S. Lowman of Lawrence, and James McCahon of Leavenworth was elected by the legislature, "to propose an entire code of laws, upon all subjects of general legislation pertaining to the interests of the Territory of Kansas, to be submitted from time to time to the legislative assembly, for their action upon the same." These commissioners fulfilled the duties of their appointment at the same session, and upon the adoption of the laws reported by them the laws of 1855 were repealed.
The general laws adopted at this session, with some few exceptions, remained in force until at the regular session of the state legislature in 1862, when the laws then in force were compiled by a joint committee of the two houses and subsequently published in a volume which is known as the "Compiled Laws of 1862." At the session of 1867 an act was passed authorizing and requiring the governor to appoint three commissioners, "to revise and codify the civil and criminal codes of procedure, and all laws of a general nature, of this state," and requiring the commissioners so appointed to report at the next session of the legislature. In pursuance of this act, the governor appointed John M. Price of Atchison, Samuel A. Riggs of Lawrence (both then members of the senate), and James McCahon of Leavenworth as such commissioners, who immediately entered upon the performance of their duties, and at the regular session of 1868 made a printed report to the legislature of the result of their labors. This report was considered at the same session and adopted with but few changes or alterations. The school law, as reported, was entirely omitted, and the laws in force relating to common schools were required to be compiled as a part of the General Statutes. Among the laws enacted was one declaring what should constitute the General Statutes of the state, and providing for their publication in a volume to be entitled the "General Statutes of Kansas," under the superintendence of the commissioners and the secretary of state.
The compilation of the General Statutes of Kansas, in two volumes, appeared in 1876, and was the work of C. F. W. Dassler of the Leavenworth bar. The work was undertaken by him at the suggestion of members of the legal profession throughout the state, who, appreciating the reluctance of the legislature to enter upon the expense of a revision, were of the opinion that private enterprise must supply the want. This compilation became known as "Dassler's Kansas Statutes, 1876," and the legislature of 1879 agreeing to purchase a number of copies, a new edition was published. It differed from the former, however, in that it was brought down to a later day. A new edition of the General Laws of Kansas, embracing the session laws of 1895, was published in that year, with Mr. Dassler as the editor.
In 1890, by virtue and under authority of an act passed by the legislature of Kansas in 1889, the "General Statutes of Kansas, 1889," was published and was made the official statutes. It contained all laws of a general nature, including the laws of 1889, and was edited by Irwin Taylor, of the Topeka bar. The "General Statutes of the State of Kansas, containing all laws of a general nature from the admission of the State in 1861 to the 8th day of May, 1897," was published by authority of the legislature in 1897, and as compiled and annotated by W. C. Webb, of Topeka. But the many expressions of approval and commendation from the judiciary and members of the bar of the state, of the several editions of the "Statutes of Kansas" edited by C. F. W. Dassler, induced him to prepare another edition in 1899, which was followed, in 1901, by a reprint edition, added to which were the amendments and new laws passed at the legislative session of 1901, and laws that had been repealed were omitted. This edition was prepared pursuant to Chapter 10 of the session laws of 1901, authorizing the same. The general arrangement has been continued in two subsequent editions1905 and 1909.
The civil code, as modified by the laws of France and the regulations of Spain, was the law by which Louisiana was governed prior to its cession to the United States in 1803, and as the territory comprised within the limits of Kansas was part of that great domain, theoretically it was then governed by the Civil Code. But this fact exists only in theory, as at that time there existed not a single settlement of civilized inhabitants within the territorial limits of the state. On March 26, 1804, an act was passed by the Congress of the United States dividing the province into two distinct territories by a line corresponding with the 33d degree of north latitude, and all north of that parallel was called the "District of Louisiana." On Jan. 19, 1816, a most important act was passed, by which the common law of England, and the statutes passed prior to the 4th year of James I, of a general nature, were adopted as the law of the territory, provided the same were not in conflict with the laws of the United States and the local statutes. By this act, the Civil Law was repealed and ceased to be the groundwork of the law of the territory.Pages 382-384 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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