Thomas Ryan

THOMAS RYAN, of Topeka, lawyer, soldier, congressman and diplomat, was born at Oxford, New York. November 25, 1837, but while he was an infant his parents moved to Bradford County, Pennsylvania, where he was reared upon a farm and attended the country school. He had been admitted to the bar when the Civil war broke out, but enlisted in the One Hundred and Forty-first Pennsylvania Infantry, was chosen captain of his company, and served until 1864. He was seriously wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness. In 1865, accompanied by his wife and son, he came to Kansas and located in Topeka, where he formed a law partnership with Judge J. P. Greer. Mr. Ryan served as county attorney for four successive terms, commencing with 1866. This was followed by his appointment to the position of United States attorney in 1873, which position he occupied until 1877, when he entered Congress, having been elected on the republican ticket from the Third District the year before. He was re-elected five times, serving until 1889. His service in Congress was of great benefit to Kansas and the West, and he introduced the first bill throwing Oklahoma open to settlement. In 1889 he resigned his seat in the House to accept the appointment of minister to Mexico, tendered him by President Harrison, and while serving in that position strengthened the cordial relations between the countries. President McKinley appointed him assistant secretary of the interior in 1897, a position for which he was well qualified by training and experience.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed October, 1997.
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