History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs


Historic People of Kansas - Page 5

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  • Francisco Juan De PadillaFrancisco Juan De Padilla (??-1542) - A Franciscan friar and the first missionary to the Indians of Kansas.

  • Charlie "Yardbird" Parker (1920-1955) - Kansas City jazz saxophonist.

  • Henry Clay Pate (18??-1864) - A leader of a gang of border ruffians and newspaper correspondent.

  • Robert Hall Pearson (1828-??) - Pearson was one of the first settlers in Douglas County, Kansas, fought with John Brown in the Battle of Black Jack and built a home near Baldwin City that continues to stand today.

  • William A. Peffer (1831-1912) -  Soldier, publisher, and United States Senator.

  • Frank E. Peterson, Jr. (1932-present) - From Topeka, Peterson was the first black brigadier general in the U.S. Marine Corps and NAACP Man of the Year.

  • John Pettit (1807-1877)Succeeded Samuel D. Lecompte as Chief Justice of the Territory of Kansas.

  • William Addison Phillips (1824-1893) - Journalist, historian and member of Congress.

  • R. L. Pitts - From Wichita, Pitts was the first African American to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor for service in Vietnam.

  • Preston B. Plumb (1837-1891) - Lawyer, United States Senator, and founder of Emporia.

  • Samuel Clark Pomeroy (1816-1891) - Pioneer and United States Senator.

  • Paul M. Ponziglione (1818-1900) - One of the early Catholic missionaries in Kansas.

  • Noble Lovely Prentis (1839-1877) - Journalist and author.





  • Bernard W. Rogers (1921-2008) - From Fairview, he was an American general who served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, and Commander in Chief, United States European Command.

  • Christian "Jim" Roper (1916-2000) - From Halstead, in 1949 he became the first NASCAR Winston Cup Series stock car race winner.

  • Franklin Albert Root (1837-1926) - Author, stage messenger and publisher.


  • Edmund G. Ross (1826-1907) - Journalist and United States Senator.

  • Damon Runyon (1884-1946) - From Manhattan, he was a short story writer and journalist.

  • Rush County Pioneers

  • Jim Ryun (1947-present) - From Wichita, Ryun was the World's Outstanding Athlete in 1966-1967, three-time Olympian, set a world track record for the mile in 1966, and member of U.S. Congress.


  • John P. St. John (1833-1916) - From Olathe, the eight governor of Kansas, National Prohibition Party's presidential candidate in 1884.

  • Susanna Madora Salter (1860-1961) From Argonia, she was the first woman mayor in the nation.

  • Sven Birger Sandzen (1871-1954) - From Lindsborg, he was a renowned artist and professor.

  • Satanta (1830-1878) - Noted Kiowa chief, frequently called the "Orator of the Plains."

  • Charles F. Scott (1860-1938) - Journalist, newspaper publisher and member of Congress from Iola.

  • Wilson Shannon (1802-1877) - The second Territorial Governor of Kansas.

  • Robert Simerwell (1786-1868) - Early missionary to the Potawatomie Indians.

  • Jeremiah "Sockless Jerry" Simpson (1842-1905) - Populist member of U.S. House of Representatives.

  • Harry Ford Sinclair (1876-1956) - From Independence, Sinclair founded the Sinclair Oil Company.

  • Benjamin "Pap" Singleton (1809-1892) - A former slave, Singleton was the primary leader of the Exodusters to Kansas and worked his entire life in promoting African-American rights.

  • William Eugene Smith (1918-1978) - From Wichita, Smith was a photojournalist for Newsweek, Life, and Parade; known for humanistic photography.

  • John Pierce St. John (1833-1916) - The eighth governor of the State of Kansas.

  • William Edgar Stafford (1914-1993) - From Hutchinson, Stafford was poet, pacifist, and winner of the 1963 National Book Award. He was appointed the twentieth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1970.

  • Benjamin F. Stringfellow (1816-1891) - Lawyer and pro-slavery leader in Kansas.

  • John H. Stringfellow (1819-1905) - An early physician of Kansas, one of the founders of Atchison, a pro-slavery advocate, border ruffian, and Speaker of the House in the First Territorial Legislature.

  • Fred Andrew Stone (1873-1959) - Raised in Topeka, he was a famed Vaudeville song and dance man.

  • Earl Sutherland (1915-1974) - From Burlingame, he was the winner of the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine in 1971


  • Samuel F. Tappan (1831-1913) - A journalist, military officer, abolitionist and a Native American rights activist.

  • Lucy Hobbs Taylor (1833-1910) - From Lawrence, the first fully-trained woman dentist in the world.

  • Solon O. Thacher (1830-1895) - Attorney, Free-State advocate, and politician.

  • Timothy Dwight Thacher - (1831-1894) - Scholar, statesman, and editor.

  • Eli Thayer (1819-1899) - Educator, inventor, Congressman and one of the organizers of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company.

  • Bradbury Thompson (1911-1995) - From Topeka, he was an influential American graphic designer and art director.

  • Henry Theodore Titus (1823-1881) - A solider and pro-slavery advocate who was involved in several skirmishes of the Kansas-Missouri Border War.

  • Clyde Tombaugh (1906-1997) - From Burdette, he was an astronomer who discovered the planet Pluto in 1930.





  • Robert James Walker (1801-1869) - The fourth Territorial Governor of Kansas.

  • John Lewis Waller (1850-1907) - From Lawrence, Waller was a lawyer, founded Lawrence's first black newspaper, and was U.S. consul to Madagascar.

  • Bernard Warkentin (1849-1908) - Originally from Russia, Warkentin was among the Mennonite settlers who came to Kansas in 1873. He imported Turkey Red Wheat to Kansas and established a milling operation.

  • Hugh Sleight Walsh (1810-1877) - Secretary and acting governor of the Territory of Kansas.

  • Eugene Fitch WareEugene Fitch Ware (1841-1911) - Nicknamed "Ironquill," Ware was a lawyer and poet.

  • Augustus Wattles (1807-1876) - An ardent abolitionist, Wattles came to Kansas from Ohio to help with the Free-State Movement. He was a candidate at Big Springs meeting and was elected to the Topeka Convention in 1855. Along with his brother, John O. Wattles, founded the town of Moneka, Kansas.

  • John Otis Wattles (1809-1859) - An abolitionist, spiritualist, educator, and women's rights activist, Wattles helped to found the town of Moneka, in Linn County, Kansas.

  • Esther Whinery Wattles (1819-1908) - Supporting temperance, antislavery, and women's rights, Wattles helped her husband, John Otis Wattles, to establish the town of Moneka, Kansas and founded the Moneka Women's Rights Association.

  • Julius Augustus Wayland (1854-1912) Having his base of operations in Girard, Wayland was the founder of Socialist newspaper, Appeal to Reason.

  • 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.

  • William Allen White (1868-1944) - From Emporia, White was an editor, publisher, author and Pulitzer Prize winner. 

  • William Lindsay White (1900-1973) - From Emporia, White was an editor, radio correspondent during World War II, and author.

  • John W. Whitfield (1818-1879) - Indian Agent and the first delegate to Congress from the Territory of Kansas.

  • Daniel Webster Wilder (1832-1911) - Journalist, author and newspaper publisher.

  • Charles H. Withington (1816-1881) - A blacksmith for the Sac and Fox Indians, Withington was the first white settler in Lyon County, Kansas. There, he operated a successful store along the Santa Fe Trail, as well as serving as a mail agent.

  • Gerald Burton Winrod (1900-1957) - Evangelist, author, and political activist.

  • Samuel Newitt Wood (1825-1891) - Free-State advocate and politician, Wood was killed in the "Stevens County War."

  • Harry Hines Woodring (1887-1967) - From Elk City, Woodring was a banker, Democratic governor of Kansas, and U.S. Secretary of War.

  • Daniel Woodson (1824-1994) - The first secretary and several times acting governor of the Territory of Kansas.

  • Henry Worrall (1825-1902) - One of Kansas' first artists.

  • Lorraine Elizabeth Wooster (1868-1953) - From Beloit, in 1918 she became the first woman elected to statewide office in Kansas, as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.


Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated November 2018.


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