LEGENDS OF KANSAS

 

History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs

 

Historic People of Kansas - "W" - Page 1

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Robert James Walker (1801-1869) - The fourth Territorial Governor of Kansas, Walker was born at Northumberland, Pennsylvania on July 23, 1801. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1821 and the following year began to practice law in Pittsburgh. He soon won distinction as a lawyer, became active in politics as a Democrat, and was an enthusiastic supporter of General Andrew Jackson for the presidency in 1824. In 1825 he married a Miss Bache and about a year later moved to Natchez, Mississippi. He was appointed to the United States Senate from Mississippi in 1836, and in 1840 was elected for a full term. While in the senate he introduced the first homestead bill and the bill recognizing the independence of Texas. In his political career he supported Jackson and Van Buren, opposed Calhoun, and it was through his influence that the Mississippi Legislature adopted resolutions denouncing nullification and secession as treason. On the question of slavery, he advocated gradual emancipation and set an example by liberating his own slaves in 1838. He was a prominent factor in securing the nomination and election of Polk in 1844, and on March 5, 1845, he resigned his seat in the United States Senate to enter Polk's cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury, where he served until 1849. As Secretary of the Treasury he played an important part in formulating the tariff of 1846, which became widely known as the "Walker Tariff." On March 26, 1857, he was appointed governor of the Territory of Kansas by President James Buchanan. He resigned the office of governor on December 15, 1857, his resignation having been forced upon him because he showed a disposition to accord fair treatment to the Free-State men in Kansas. At the beginning of the Civil War he took a firm stand in favor of the Union and was appointed financial agent of the United States in Europe, where he negotiated the sale of $250,000,000 of United States bonds and prevented the sale of $75,000,000 of Confederate bonds. Governor Walker died at Washington, D.C. on November 11, 1869.

Hugh Sleight WalshHugh Sleight Walsh (1810-1877) - Secretary and acting governor of the Territory of Kansas Walsh was born at New Windsor, New York on November 10, 1810. He was educated in his native state, then went to Alabama, and came to Kansas in 1857. He served as private secretary to Governors Stanton and James Denver, and in the spring of 1858 was appointed Secretary of the Territory, entering upon the duties of that office on May 12th. When Governor Denver resigned in the following October, Walsh served as governor until the arrival of Governor Medary in December. He was particularly active in aiding the border ruffians in their efforts to suppress Captain James Montgomery and his company in southeastern Kansas. In June, 1860 he retired from the secretary's office and engaged in farming near Grantville, Kansas, where he lived with his son De Witt until his death on April 23, 1877. Walsh took a keen interest in state politics, and while positive in his opinion and always ready to defend his views, he was never abusive toward his political opponents.

 

Eugene Fitch WareEugene Fitch Ware (1841-1911) - Nicknamed "Ironquill", Ware was a lawyer and poet born at Hartford, Connecticut on May 29, 1841 to Hiram B. and Amanda Melvina (Holbrook) Ware. He moved with his family to Burlington, Iowa when he was still a child and there, attend public schools. In 1861, he enlisted in Company E of the First Iowa infantry; re-enlisted in Company L, Fourth Iowa Cavalry, was mustered out as captain of Company F, Seventh Iowa, in June, 1866, having during the latter part of his service been aide-de-camp successively to Generals Robert B. Mitchell, C. J. Stolbrand, Washington R. Ellett and Grenville M. Dodge. He then took a section of land in Cherokee County, Kansas in 1867, studied law and was admitted to the bar at Fort Scott. He then went to work at the aw firm of McComas & McKeighan at Fort Scott. In 1874 he married Miss Jeanette P. Huntington of Rochester, New York. He was also, for many years, editor of the Fort Scott Monitor. His political career consisted of two terms in the Kansas Legislature, 1879 to 1883, and three years as United States Pension commissioner from 1902 to 1905. He was prominent in the Republican Party and was a delegate to two of its National Conventions. His home for some years was at Topeka, from which place he moved to Kansas City, Kansas about 1909 where he practiced law in partnership with his son until the spring of 1911 when both retired to the Ware farm in Cherokee County.  He authored several books including The Rise and Fall of the Saloon, The Lyon Campaign and History of the First Iowa Infantry, The Indian Campaign of 1864, Rhymes of Ironquill, Ithuriel, and From Court to Court. He was also the translator of Castaneda's account of Coronado's March and was a contributor to a number of legal and literary publications. Ware died on July 1, 1911 at Cascade, Colorado.

 

Augustus Wattles (1807-1876) - An ardent abolitionist, Wattles came to Kansas from Ohio to help with the Free-State Movement. He was a writer and Assistant Editor for the Herald of Freedom in Lawrence, Kansas, a candidate at Big Springs Convention, and was elected to the Topeka Constitutional Convention in 1855. Along with his brother, John O. Wattles, he founded the town of Moneka, Kansas in Linn County in 1857.

 

 

Edward Winslow Wellington (1853-19??) - A pioneer and business of central Kansas, Wellington was a founder of and essential in developing the cities of Carneiro and Ellsworth.  More familiarly called “E.W.” Wellington was born at Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 4, 1853 to lawyer and teacher, Ambrose and Lucy Jane Kent Wellington. Edward received his elementary education in the public schools and afterwards, attended the Latin school in Boston, Massachusetts. He then went to Harvard University, graduating in1874. After leaving college he began to study law in his father's office, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1877. That very same year, he headed west, spending some time in Denver, Colorado before arriving in Saline County, Kansas. He then briefly operated a sheep ranch near Tescott, Kansas before purchasing 12,000 acres of land in Ellsworth County for his own  sheep ranch. Naming his property the Monte Carneiro Ranch, Carneiro meaning sheepfold or mutton in Portuguese, it was one of the largest ranches in central Kansas. He soon built many houses and buildings to accommodate himself, friends, and employees.

 

In 1882, he along with other ranchers in the area established the town of Carneiro, about 12 miles west of Ellsworth as a livestock shipping point. Five years later, Wellington moved to Ellsworth in 1887, where he invested heavily in real estate and erected more business blocks and residences than any other man in the town up until that time. He was the first to install steam heat in his buildings and the first to provide cement sidewalks. He also owned and operated the sewerage system of the town. In addition to his large land holdings and buildings, he also operated the company of E. W. Wellington & Son which handled insurance, loans, and an abstract office.

 

In addition to the many homes he built in Ellsworth, he also built his own home, which became one of the showplaces of the city. Complete with three parlors and a 20x30 foot dining room, the home was strategically placed on a hill, and was the largest house in town. Edward’s wife Clara became a socialite in the city, hosting elegant balls and dinner parties. The home still stands on Forest Drive in Ellsworth. The Insurance building in downtown Ellsworth, also called the Wellington and Brundage building, was built by Wellington in 1887. It is now slated to become the future home of the National Drover’s Hall of Fame.

 

William Allen WhiteWilliam Allen White (1868-1944) - A journalist, author, and one of the best known men in Kansas, White was born at Emporia, Kansas on February 10, 1868 to  Dr. Allen and Mary (Hatton) White. In 1869 Dr. White moved to Eldorado, Kansas, where William was raised. After graduating from high school he went to work on the Butler County Democrat and in 1886 he began his real newspaper career as a reporter and city circulator for the Eldorado Republican. Next he learned to set type, run a job press and write items for a country newspaper. In the fall, he went to Lawrence to attend the state university but returned to work on the paper at the close of the school year. During 1887 and 1888 he again attended the university and in the summer of 1888, worked on the Lawrence Journal as a reporter. In 1890, he left college without completing his courses and again went back to work on the Eldorado Republican. From Eldorado, he went to Kansas City as correspondent and editorial writer on the Kansas City Journal and subsequently, on its rival, the Kansas City Star. In 1895, he borrowed money and bought the Emporia Gazette in order to have a paper that he could run to suit himself. The paper was on the down grade when he purchased it, but within three years he had paid for it and expended $1,000 on improvements. White ran the Gazette as a Republican journal in an independent fashion and became unrivaled in the city for newspaper publishing. In 1893 he married Sallie Lindsay of Kansas City, Kansas the couple had one child. During the campaign of 1896 he wrote an article called What's the Matter with Kansas, which the national press quickly picked up The Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Mark Hanna made the statement that this editorial "was more widely circulated by the Republican National Committee than any other document sent out by it." White was regarded as an asset by both the Republicans and Democrats. He was described as having a mixture of simplicity and shrewdness, but no one could guess what he would  do or say next, while behind his eccentricities there was a real, honest, warm-hearted man. One of his first books was a collection of stories entitled The Real Issue, which was a decided success. His articles on public men, published in McClure's Magazine, created a stir in political circles. In 1899, a study of boy life appeared by him under the title Court of Boyville, and later he published In Our Town and A Certain Rich Man which brought him much acclaim. In 1923 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his editorial To an Anxious Friend, published on July 27, 1922,.after being arrested in a dispute over free speech following objections to the way the State of Kansas handled the men who participated in the Great Railroad Strike of 1922. Objecting to the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the state, he made an unsuccessful run for Kansas Governor in 1924. White continued to write countless editorials, articles and books that earned him the title of the "Sage of Emporia." He died on January 29, 1944. His autobiography, which was published posthumously, won a 1946 Pulitzer Prize. The Emporia Gazette is still run by his descendants today.

 

 

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