LEGENDS OF KANSAS

 

History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs

 

Historic People of Kansas - "C" - Page 2

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George Washington Clarke - A pro-slavery border ruffian, Clarke was involved in a number of Bleeding Kansas skirmishes before he was finally driven from the state permanently in 1858. Initially, he came to Kansas as a Potawatomie Indian agent. A slave holder, he was suspected of killing a free state man, Thomas W. Barber of Lawrence during the Wakarusa War of 1855. The next year, while sitting at this desk in his Lecompton home, a shot was fired at him. But, it missed. That same year, Clarke led a party of 400 Missourians into Linn County, where they plundered, robbed and burned the homes of nearly every Free-State family. In 1857, he began to work in the U. S. Land office in Fort Scott, where he continued his pro-slavery activities. He was finally driven out of the state and into southwestern Missouri in August, 1858.

 

Sidney ClarkeSidney Clarke (1831-1909) - One of the early members of Congress from Kansas, Clarke was born at Southbridge, Massachusetts on October 16, 1831. He was not given the advantages of a liberal education, and at the age of eighteen left his father's farm to work in a general store in Worcester. While working at the store, he studied at night and within a short time began to write for the press. He soon gained recognition as a versatile and forcible writer, and joined a young men's literary society, where his natural ability as a debater quickly developed. In 1854, he returned to his native town and started a weekly newspaper known as the Southbridge Press, which flourished for five years. He became an active member of the Free Soil Party, casting his first vote for Hale and Julian in 1852. In the campaign of 1856 he actively supported General John C. Fremont. In the spring of 1858, Clarke's health became impaired and upon the advice of his physician. he went west, settling in Lawrence, Kansas the following spring. His interest in politics began to assert itself immediately and he became an ardent supporter of the Radical wing of the Free-State Party. In 1860 he married Henrietta Ross at Lawrence, and the couple would have four children. In 1862 he was elected to the State Legislature and the following year, President Abraham Lincoln appointed him Adjutant-General of Volunteers, and he was assigned to duty as acting Assistant Provost Marshal General for the District of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Dakota, with headquarters at Fort Leavenworth.  

 

The same year he was made chairman of the Republican State Committee, a position previously held by the ablest of the old Free-State leaders. From this time on Clarke was a conspicuous political figure in Kansas. In 1864 he was elected to Congress and re-elected for two succeeding terms. In Congress, Clarke was Chairman of the House Committee on Indian Affairs and a member of the Pacific Railroad Commission. The defeat of the Osage Indian treaty and the passage of the Clark Bill saved to Kansas much of her public school lands.

 

During his three terms in Congress, Clarke was the only representative from Kansas and he referred proudly to himself as "the sole representative of my imperial state." He was in Congress at the time of the assassination of President Lincoln, of whom he was a close friend, and was placed on the committee that accompanied the body to its last resting place. He was defeated for election to Congress in 1870, but was elected to the State Legislature in 1878 and made Speaker of the House. In 1873 his wife died and several years later, in 1881, he re-married Dora Goulding of Topeka. They would have one daughter. In 1898 he moved to Oklahoma and few men had a more powerful hand in shaping the destinies of the new state. Clarke died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on  June 19, 1909.

 

Willaim F. CloudWilliam F. Cloud (1825-1905) - Soldier and Indian fighter, Cloud was born near Columbus, Ohio on  March 23, 1825. His military history began when he enlisted at Columbus in 1846, in a company which became a part of the Second Ohio infantry in the war with Mexico. He was soon promoted to first sergeant and took part in several battles. At the close of the war he was elected captain of the Columbus Videttes, of the Ohio Volunteer Militia, but resigned in 1859, when he moved to Michigan. After a short residence in that state he moved to Lawrence, Kansas, but later went to Emporia. At the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in the Second Kansas Infantry and participated in the hardest engagements of the Southwest, especially distinguishing himself at Wilson's Creek, Missouri. At the expiration of his first enlistment he assisted in organizing the Second Kansas Cavalry and was commissioned colonel of the regiment, which took part in the engagements of the Army of the Frontier in Missouri, Arkansas and the Indian Territory. Later, he was transferred to the Fifteenth Kansas Cavalry and served in the campaigns against the Indians in western Kansas and Indian Territory. His most conspicuous act of bravery was in 1862, when with 500 men he attacked an enemy of 5,000 at Tallequah, rescued the Indian Agent and saved the money held for payment of the annuities of the Indian tribes. The Legislature of Kansas changed the name of Shirley County to Cloud in his honor. Soon after the close of the war he located in Carthage, Missouri but about 1889 moved to Kansas City, where he resided until his death on March 4, 1905. Colonel Cloud was also an eloquent public speaker and fluent writer, one of his best works being History of Mexico from Cortez to Diaz.

 

 

 

William Elsey ConnelleyWilliam Elsey Connelley (1855-1930) - Writer of historical works on the American West, Connelley was born in Johnson County, Kentucky on March 15, 1855. Connelley's father, Constantine Conley, Jr., was in the Union army and his property was destroyed in the Civil War, which made it necessary for the young man to make his own way in the world. With such help as he could get, he qualified himself to teach in the common schools, teaching his first school when seventeen. He continued in this work ten years in Kentucky before he moved to Kansas, settling at in Bonner Springs in April, 1881. He taught for one year at before securing the position of Deputy County Clerk. In 1883 he was elected County Clerk of Wyandotte County, and in 1885 was re-elected. In 1888, he moved Springfield, Missouri where he worked in the the wholesale lumber business for four years. He then moved back to Wyandotte County where he worked in banking until the 1893 panics caused him to lose his property. Next, he moved to Beatrice, Nebraska in 1897,  where he worked in the business of abstracting land titles and loaning money for eastern people. In 1897 he was offered a position in the book department of the publishing house of Crane & Co., in Topeka, Kansas, which he accepted and filled until 1902, when he went to Washington with Honorable E. F. Ware, Commissioner of Pensions, and took a responsible place in the civil service. This he resigned in 1903 to go into the oil business at Chanute, in which he was successful. In 1904-05 he made the fight in Kansas against the Standard Oil company, securing the enactment of laws which saved the people of Kansas a million dollars annually. Connelley was always an enthusiastic student of history, and his library was one of the largest in the West. He was an authority on American History and wrote several books including: The Provisional Government of Nebraska Territory, John Brown, James H. Lane, Wyandot Folk-Lore, An Appeal to the Record, Kansas Territorial Governors, Memoirs of John James Ingalls, Doniphan's Expedition in the Mexican War, Quantrill and the Border Wars, Ingalls of Kansas and The Founding of Harman's Station. With Frank A. Root he wrote the Overland Stage to California. Connelley served as the president of the Kansas State Historical Society.

 

Martin F. ConwayMartin F. Conway (1830-1882) - The first representative in Congress from the State of Kansas, Conway was born at Charleston, South Carolina in 1830. He received a fair education and when he was 14, went to Baltimore, Maryland., where he learned the printer's trade. He was one of the founders of the National Topographical Union. While working as a printer he studied law, was admitted to the bar, and began practice in Baltimore. In 1854, he moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was chosen a member of the first Legislative Council but on July 3, 1855, he resigned his seat. Under the Topeka Constitution he was Justice of the Supreme Court of the territory. He wrote the resolutions that were adopted by the Free-State convention of June 9, 1857 at Topeka, and in 1858, was a delegate to the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, of which he was elected president. In 1859 Conway was nominated for representative in Congress by the Republican Convention, and elected, being the first Congressman from the new state. In 1862 A. C. Wilder was elected to succeed him, and Conway retired to private life. He still took an active interest in public affairs, and when the controversy arose between President Johnson and Congress over the question of reconstruction, he became an earnest supporter of the President's policy. In 1866 he was appointed by President Johnson, United States Consul to Marseilles, France. When he returned to the United States he settled in Washington, D.C., where in 1873, he fired three shots at Senator Pomeroy, who was slightly wounded. When arrested, Conway said: "He ruined myself and family." He finally lost his mind and in 1880 became an inmate of St. Elizabeth, the government hospital for the insane, in the District of Columbia. He died at St. Elizabeth, February 15, 1882.

 

 

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