Lyman U. Humphrey, former governor of Kansas, is one of the state's most honorable and distinguished citizens. His experiences as a soldier, his achievements as a journalist, his long and successful career as a lawyer, taken together with his efficient service to the state in high official station, entitle him to more than a passing word on the pages of Kansas history. New Baltimore, Stark county, Ohio, is his birthplace. There he was born on the 25th day of July, 1844, the son of Lyman and Elizabeth A. (Everhart) Humphrey. His father was born in Connecticut in 1799; was of English descent, his progenitors in America having settled in New England in the early part of the seventeenth century, but when Lyman Humphrey was still a young man he removed to the Western Reserve in Ohio, then the "Far West," and at Deerfield, Ohio, engaged in the business of a tanner. The tannery he purchased was formerly owned by Jesse Grant, the father of Gen. U. S. Grant, who had removed to southern Ohio. Subsequently Lyman Humphrey became a lawyer. He was a public-spirited man, served as colonel of militia, and was highly respected. He died at the age of fifty-four years. At Niles, Ohio, he married Elizabeth A. Everhart, who was born at Zanesville, Ohio, in 1812, the daughter of John and Rachel (Jones) Everhart. Her parents were natives of Pennsylvania, and her father was identified with the iron industry at Niles, Ohio. Mrs. Humphrey was possessed of rare intelligence and strong personality, gifts which her son, Lyman U., inherited in no small degree. She was intensely patriotic. She gave two sons to the service of her country during the Civil war, remaining in care of the family home, duties she had assumed as a widow at the death of her husband in 1853. Her son, John E. Humphrey, served in the Nineteenth Ohio infantry. He was severely wounded at the battle of Shiloh, in consequence of which he was discharged from the army, but later he reënlisted in the First light artillery of Ohio and therein served until the close of the war. He became a pioneer settler of Montgomery county, Kan., where he died in 1880. Of the military career of Lyman U. Humphrey, mention follows, but of his mother we desire further to observe that she was the inspiration that prompted her sons and spurred them on to success in life. She lived to the remarkable age of eighty-four years, dying at the home of Governor Humphrey at Independence, Kan., in 1896. Lyman U. Humphrey obtained a common school education at New Baltimore, Ohio, and under the watchful eye of his devoted mother acquired traits of character which have made him a man of distinction. He had just commenced a course in the high school at Massillon, Ohio, when on Oct. 7, 1861, when only seventeen years of age, he tendered his services in the defense of the Union, enlisting in Company I, Seventy-sixth Ohio infantry. His regiment was attached to the First brigade, First division of the Fifteenth army corps, Army of the Tennessee, and participated in many of the severest battles of the war, among them being Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Chickasaw Bluffs, Arkansas Post, Jackson, the siege of Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. At Ringgold, Ga., Nov. 27, 1863, he received his first and only wound, but remained with his command and ready for duty. He was with his regiment at the battles of Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, the desperate fight at Atlanta, July 22, where the noble McPherson fellthen at Ezra Chapel, Jonesboro, and on the march of Sherman to the sea, the campaign up through the Carolinas, including the battle of Bentonville, and the final surrender of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army. He was promoted to first sergeant, second and first lieutenant; commanded a company during the Atlanta campaign and on Sherman's march to the sea, rendering nearly four years of military service before attaining his majority, for he was mustered out of the army at Louisville, Ky., July 19, 1865, just six days before he was twenty-one years of age.
During the war Lyman U. Humphrey developed from an unsophisticated, impulsive youth into a man of self-control, with a practical knowledge of men and affairs. He felt the need of a better education, and entering Mount Union College remained there one term. Later he spent one year in the law department of the University of Michigan, but his funds becoming exhausted he decided to go west, and located in Shelby county, Mo., where he first taught school and then assisted in publishing the Shelby County Herald. Meanwhile Mr. humphrey continued the study of law, and in 1870 was admitted to the bar in Shelby county, Mo. Early in 1871 he located at Independence, Kan., which place has continued to be his home. Here he became a founder and publisher of the South Kansas Tribune from March, 1871, to June, 1872. Selling his interest in this newspaper he engaged in the practice of law in partnership with Col. A. M. York, with whom he was associated in the practice of law up to Jan. 1, 1884, when Governor Humphrey became president of the Commercial Bank of Independence, Kan., a bank which he, George T. Guernsey, P. V. Hockett and others had organized in the preceding month of December. The bank became the Commercial National Bank in 1891, and is one of the largest banking institutions of Kansas. Mr. Humphrey resigned as president of the bank to assume the duties of governor, to which office he was elected in 1888. Very soon after coming to Kansas Governor Humphrey became a leading factor in the Republican party, and as early as 1876 he was elected to the lower house of the Kansas legislature, serving with distinction as a member of the judiciary committee. Before his term of office as representative expired, he was elected lieutenant-governor to fill an unexpired term, and at the regular election in 1878 he was elected to succeed himself in this office for a term of two years. With dignity and despatch he presided in the senate during the session of 1879. In 1884 he was elected to the senate from Montgomery county, and during his term of service he was president pro tem of the body. In 1888 he was chosen as the Republican candidate for governor of Kansas. He was elected governor by a plurality of over 80,000 votes, the largest plurality ever given a candidate for governor in Kansas, every county in the state but two giving him a majority. At the next biennial election he was reëlected governor, and in this, the highest gift of the people of the state, he served for four years with distinction, administering the affairs of the state with marked ability. Under a separate caption an account of his administration is given elsewhere in this work. In 1892 Governor Humphrey became the Repulican candidate for Congress from the Third congressional district, but was unsuccessful of election, owing to the fusion of the Democrats and Populists. About this time Governor Humphrey became the financial correspondent of the Union Central Life Insurance company of Cincinnati, Ohio, the business being the placing of loans on farm lands in Kansas and Oklahoma, a position he has since held, assisted by his son, Lyman L. Humphrey, who is associated with him in the business. Governor Humphrey married Miss Amanda Leonard, Dec. 25, 1872. Mrs. Humphrey is the daughter of the late James C. Leonard, who came to Independence, Kan., from Beardstown, Ill., in which latter place he vas a prominent banker. Unto the marriage of Governor Humphrey and wife were born four sons, two dying in infancythe living are: Lyman L. Humphrey, born July 3, 1876, and A. Lincoln Humphrey, born May 22, 1878, both born in Independence, Kan. Lyman L. attended the University of Kansas for two years, and then became associated with his father as above mentioned. He married Miss Elsie Anderson, the daughter of J. M. Anderson, a retired merchant of Independence. Lyman L. is the father of one childMartha Isabel. He is a Knight Templar Mason and a highly esteemed citizen. A. Lincoln Humphrey is a prominent farmer and stockman of Montgomery county, Kansas. Governor Humphrey is and has been for years prominent as a Mason, as a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the Loyal Legion.Pages 56-59 from volume III, part 1 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 December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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