Lewelling, Lorenzo D., twelfth governor of the State of Kansas, was born at Salem, Henry county, Ia., Dec. 21, 1846. His ancestry came from Wales, the name in that country having been spelled "Llewellyn." His father, William Lewelling, was a minister of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, and died in Indiana in 1848 while engaged in missionary work in that state. The mother was accidentally burned to death in 1855, after which Lorenzo for a time made his home with an older sister. He then worked at such employment as he could obtain until the breaking out of the Civil war in 1861, when he enlisted in an Iowa regiment. This was contrary to the religious tenets of the Friends, and the fact that he was not of legal age enabled his relatives to secure his discharge. However, he was with the quartermaster's department for some time, and later was employed with a government bridge building corps about Chattanooga, Tenn. In 1865, just after the close of the war, he taught a negro school, under guard, at Mexico, Mo., being employed for that purpose by the Freedmen's Aid Society. Then, after attending a business college at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., for a short time, he worked as a tow-path boy on the Erie canal; as a carpenter in Toledo, Ohio; as a section hand and bridge-builder for several railroad companies, after which he returned to his native town and entered Whittier College, where he graduated about 1868. Upon finishing his schooling, he became a teacher in the Iowa state reform school. On April 18, 1870, he married Miss Angeline M. Cook, a teacher of Red Oak, Ia. In 1872 he was made superintendent of the girls' department of the reform school, his wife at the same time being appointed matron, and this position he held for fourteen years. He then spent about two years in founding and editing the Des Moines Capital, an "anti-ring" Republican newspaper, at the end of which time he returned to the reform school. His wife died while matron of that institution, leaving three daughters, and subsequently Mr. Lewelling married Miss Ida Bishop. In 1887 he removed to Wichita, Kan., where he engaged in business. While in Iowa Mr. Lewelling held several positions of trust and responsibility. He was several times a delegate to the national congress of charities; was one of the board of directors of the state normal school, and was president of the board at the time of his removal to Kansas. While engaged in newspaper work he became a student of economic and political questions, and upon removing to Kansas he ceased to affiliate with the Republican party. He was one of the pioneers in the organization of the Farmers' Alliance, and in 1892 was nominated by the Populist party for governor. The Populist state convention of that year was held in Wichita and Mr. Lewelling appeared as a private citizen to welcome the delegates to the city. W. J. Costigan, an intimate friend of Gov. Lewelling, says: "Up to that hour scarcely a delegate in that convention had ever seen or heard of him. His address stirred the convention to its inmost fiber, and within the next twenty-four hours he was its candidate for governor." The Democrats indorsed his candidacy and he was elected. In 1894 he was renominated, but the platform declared in favor of woman suffrage, which alienated Democratic support, and this, together with the recollections of the stormy scenes attending the opening days of his administration, encompassed his defeat. In 1896 he was a delegate to the Populist national convention that nominated Bryan and Watson, and the same year was elected to the Kansas state senate, which office he held at the time of his death. He died of heart disease at Arkansas City, Kan., on Sept. 3, 1900, while on his way home from Geuda Springs. Gov. Lewelling was prominent in Masonic circles, especially while a resident of Iowa, where he was twice master of his lodge, deputy grand master of the state, and grand orator for both the grand lodge and the grand commandery, Knights Templars. He was also a noble of the Mystic Shrine, and belonged to several other societies.Pages 140-141 from volume II 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 July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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