Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


Jouett Shouse

HON. JOUETT SHOUSE. The big Seventh District has had some big and forceful men as representatives in Congress, but none whose personality fills a bigger perspective both at home and at Washington than Mr. Shouse. The congressman is young—he registered under the last draft act, which he helped to pass—but few men of his age or older have had more experience and actual contact with men and affairs. Life is familiar to him from the standpoint of a poor minister's son, a newspaper reporter and editor, a manager of public utilities, and, since coming to Kansas, as director of many extensive financial and property interests in and around his home town of Kinsley, all of which constitutes some particular and general qualification for service in a national administration than which there has never been one more momentous or requiring men of larger calibre of efficiency and broader range of vision and ideals.

Jouett Shouse was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, December 10, 1879, son of John Samuel and Anna (Armstrong) Shouse. His grandfather, William Shouse, was a native of Pennsylvania and when a child his father took him to Kentucky. In Woodford County he developed extensive interests as a planter and hemp grower, and through that industry achieved wealth, and was also a man of personal prominence in that section of the state. His second wife was Caroline Wells, and she was the mother of Rev. John Samuel Shouse.

John Samuel Shouse, a native of Woodford County and a graduate of Transylvania University, gave his life to the ministry of the Christian Church. Besides preaching he was business head of his denomination in Missouri for a number of years. Reverend Mr. Shouse finally had to give up his church work on account of failing health, and it was that condition which shifted upon the shoulders of his son Jouett many of the responsibilities of the family upkeep. He served many years as a trustee of Transylvaaia University. He died in May, 1914, while his widow, Mrs. Anna (Armstrong) Shouse, is still living. She was the daughter of Charles D'Orsey Armstrong, of Louisville, Kentucky. Their children were: Lucretia, who married Rev. Howell Ellis and died at Lexington, Kentucky; William, a resident of Ohio; Mary, who died unmarried; Paul, who died at Los Angeles in 1913; Jouett; and Angie, wife of Sidney W. Smith, of Omaha, Nebraska.

Jouett Shouse during his boyhood attended the high school at Mexico, Missouri, and was a student in the University of Missouri from 1894 to 1897. His university career being terminated because of circumstances already related, he sought an opportunity in the newspaper field, in which he had gained some experience while in college. For a time he was connected with the Mexico (Missouri) Ledger and the Columbia (Missouri) Herald, and then returned to Lexington, Kentucky, the city in which he spent most of his life before coming to Kansas. From 1898 to 1904 he served successively as reporter, managing editor and business manager of the Lexington Herald, being promoted to business manager when only nineteen years old. He also became editor and manager of the Kentucky Farmer and Breeder and Lexington, and maintained this as a very prosperous enterprise for some years. He was also associated with various enterprises, being one of the organizers and the secretary of the Fayette Telephone Company and one of the originators and for many years secretary of the Blue Grass Fair Association of Lexington. He was also associated with a group of local capitalists in opening an addition to the City of Lexington. For a time he was in the general brokerage business, and throughout his residence in Lexington was one of the lending factors in the Commercial Club.

Most big men acknowledge as one of the controlling factors in their destiny a good woman. It is true of Mr. Shouse. Though busily engaged with his various Kentucky affairs he found time and opportunity after meeting to also win the affection of Miss Marion Edwards, daughter of Rufus E. Edwards of Kinsley, Kansas. They were married at Kinsley October 18, 1911, and through the influence of Mrs. Shouse and Mr. Edwards, Mr. Shouse became permanently identified with Kansas. For the past seven years he has conducted, either associcated[sic] with Mr. Edwards or independently, an extensive business as a farmer and stock raiser and also as a director of the Kinsley Bank. Though a newcomer in the state, he was soon urged to enter politics. In the spring of 1912 he was offered without opposition the democratic nominee for state senator. The district was strongly republican, but Mr. Shouse has never lacked a powerful appeal to popular confidence, and was elected to represent the Thirty-eighth Senatorial District before he had been in Kansas a year. The distinction is heightened by the fact that he was the first democrat ever elected from the Thirty-eighth District. During his service in the State Senate from 1913 to 1915 he was chairman of the ways and means committee and was especially interested in the upbuilding of the educational institutions of Kansas. It was his record in the State Senate which brought him to the attention of a larger district as the logical candidate for Congress upon the retirement of Mr. Neeley. He was nominated in the primaries after some opposition, and in 1914 was elected to the Sixty-fourth Congress. In former years the big southwestern district was overwhelmingly republican, though that partisan domination had been broken when Mr. Neeley was elected. Mr. Shouse was assigned to the committee on banking and currency, which had just finished the preliminary work of framing the Federal Reserve Banking Act, and he had a very active part in formulating the bill establishing the Federal Farm Loan System. He was also a member of the invalid pensions committee and the library and elections committees. He was returned to the Sixty-fifth Congress by a still greater majority, and thus had the benefit of one term's experience to qualify him for the arduous duties of war legislation, which has kept him almost constantly employed in Washington throughout the two years of his second term. Besides the hearty support he has given to the administration in its general war program, Mr. Shouse has also been identified with the movement for building up a safe majority from both parties for the national prohibition act, and also in bringing about legislation conferring federal suffrage upon women. While most of his time has necessarily been taken up by the broader problems of national and international affairs, Mr. Shouse has not neglected the particular needs of his home district and constituency. Owing to several years of successive drought many portions of the southern district of Kansas have not shared in the general prosperity which popular opinion credits the American farmer with enjoying, and Mr. Shouse was especially diligent in presenting and urging the special claims of the western farmer to encouragement and aid from the nation. Mr. Shouse supported the movement for guaranteeing the price of wheat at $2.50 a bushel, and when that failed he was able to win the favor of the president to the idea of providing seed wheat to those unable and without credit to buy. Without some such special form of assistance as this large areas of the western wheat belt would inevitably remain fallow at a time when the world demands every available acre. The recent announcement by the president of a definite minimum price for the wheat crop of 1919 is another feature of public policy to which Mr. Shouse's influence largely contributed. It was upon these major points and other features of his record that Mr. Shouse went before the people in 1918 as candidate for re-election.

Mr. Shouse is a member of the Christian Church, is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Knight of Pythias, a Phi Delta Theta, and a member of the Lexington Club of Lexington, Kentucky, the University Club of Kansas City, and the Metropolitan Club of Washington. Mr. and Mrs. Shouse have two children: Elizabeth Armstrong, aged six, and Marion Edwards, aged four.


Pages 2474-2475.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 5 - Table of Contents

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