Morrill, Edmund Needham, thirteenth governor of the State of Kansas, was born at Westbrook, Cumberland county, Me., Feb. 12, 1834, his ancestry for generations having been prominent in New England. He was educated in the common schools and at Westbrook Academy, and after leaving school learned the trade of tanner with his father. In March, 1857, he landed in Kansas and located in Brown county, where he and a partner established a sawmill. The same year he was elected to represent Brown and Nemaha counties in the first free-state legislature, serving in the extra session of Dec., 1857, and the regular session which began in Jan., 1858. In 1861 he enlisted as a private in Company C, Seventh Kansas cavalry, but in a short time was promoted to the rank of sergeant. In Aug., 1862, he was commissioned captain and ordered to report to Gen. Grant at Corinth, Miss., where he was made commissary of subsistence and placed in charge of government stores in Tennessee. Near the close of the war he was brevetted major, and was honorably discharged in Oct., 1865. Returning to Brown county he engaged in the banking business, in which he continued for the remainder of his life, and at the time of his death it was said that during his long career as a banker he never foreclosed a mortgage. In 1866 he was elected clerk of the district court. The following year he was elected county clerk and held that office by reëlections until 1872, when he was elected to the state senate. He was reëlected to the senate in 1876, and during his second term in that body served as president pro tem. In 1882 he was elected Congressman-at-large, and at each of the three succeeding biennial elections was chosen to represent the First district in the lower house of the national legislature. In 1890 he declined a fourth term as Congressman from that district and announced his intention of retiring permanently from politics, but in 1894 he yielded to the solicitations of his friends and accepted the Republican nomination for governor. At the election in November he carried the state by a plurality of 30,000. He was defeated for a second term in 1896, though he led the presidential ticket by more than 3,000 votes. Gov. Morrill was a man of great public spirit and was always a willing helper of any enterprise for the material advancement of the state. He was a liberal contributor to the drought sufferers, gave the city of Hiawatha its fine library and academy, and no church ever appealed to him in vain for assistance. On July 7, 1886, he became a member of the Kansas Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, in which he held the offices of vice-commander and chaplain. He was twice married. His first wife died without issue, but the second marriage was blessed with two sons and two daughters. Gov. Morrill died on March 14, 1909.Pages 312-313 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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