Plumb, Preston B., lawyer and United States senator, was born in Delaware county, Ohio, Oct. 12, 1837. He received a common school education and attended an Episcopal institution in Union county for a time. While there he learned the art of printing and worked on papers in Springfield and Xenia. He aided in establishing the Xenia News, in which he was financially interested. There he imbibed his first political opinions, which were born of the Kansas contest. Not satisfied by merely hearing of the abuses heaped upon the struggling people of the territory, he came to Kansas to see for himself, and returned to Ohio in two months a changed man. He had become a devoted and radical anti-slavery convert. He removed from Ohio to the territory, and in 1857 started a paper at Emporia called the Kansas News. He immediately allied himself with the free-state party and soon became a recognized leader in its councils. He was elected to the Leavenworth constitutional convention in 1859 from Breckenridge (now Lyon) county. Having meantime read law, he was admitted to the bar in 1861. The same year he acted as reporter for the state supreme court, but soon resigned. The following year he was elected to the state house of representatives and became chairman of the judiciary committee. In 1862 he entered the service of the Union army as second lieutenant in the Eleventh Kansas infantry and served successively as captain, major and lieutenant-colonel of that regiment. He took an active part in the running fight during Quantrill's retreat from Lawrence and all other engagements of the regiment, which saw much hard service and was held for duty on the plains as protection against the Indians, being one of the last to be mustered out of the service. Mr. Plumb returned home after the war and engaged in the law practice which he had dropped when he had enlisted. He soon became prominent in his profession and in politics; was elected to the state house of representatives in 1867; and was reëlected in 1868, when he served as speaker of that body. He was forced to give up the law because of failing health and became president of the Emporia national bank in 1873. Four years later he was elected United States senator to succeeed[sic] James M. Harvey, and took his seat March 4, 1877. One of his first official acts was to secure an order allowing actual settlers to enter the Osage ceded lands, covered by railroad contracts. Mr. Plumb was twice reëlected to the senate, and at his death had held nearly two years of his third term, having served nearly fourteen years continuously in the senate. His last election was practically without opposition. Mr. Plumb died on Dec. 20. 1891, at Washington, D. C.Pages 483-484 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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