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Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Edward Wallis Hoch (1905-1909)

Creator: Kansas. Governor (1905-1909 : Hoch)

Date: 1904-1909

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Material Type: Government record

Call Number: See individual series

Unit ID: 309867

Restrictions: None.

Biographical sketch: 17th governor of the State of Kansas (Republican), 1905-9; of Marion.

Abstract: Primarily consists of letters received by Governor Hoch, but there are also proclamations and petitions, reports, copies of letters sent, and other types of documents. Correspondence includes general letters; official response letters from & letters concerning state agencies; subject files; applications for positions; and petitions. Some proclamations are also included. Major topics in the correspondence relating to State agencies includes governor's special investigations and the penitentiary at Lansing. Subject files include, among other topics, the battleship Kansas, California relief, cities & towns, claims, counties, crime & criminals, legislation, misc. correspondence, oil, proclamations, Prohibition, and railroads. Letters concerning vacancies in state positions focus mainly on boards of charitable institutions, the Board of Trustees of Charities & Corrections, judges of district courts, boards overseeing education, the grain inspector, misc. positions, normal school vacancies, penitentiary positions, jobs at the Industrial Reformatory at Hutchinson, oil inspector, Supreme Court justices, U.S. senator, and Soldiers Home positions. There are also petitions from citizens of Kansas City in regard to racial segregation in schools. Additional records of Governor Hoch are in separate series common to several governors, described in the Contents section of this record.

Space Required/Quantity: 9 ft. (22 boxes)

Title (Main title): Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Edward Wallis Hoch (1905-1909)

Titles (Other):

  • Kansas Governor Edward Wallis Hoch correspondence
  • Kansas Governor Edward Wallis Hoch records
  • Records
  • Records of the Office of the Governor of Kansas : Edward Wallis Hoch administration (1905-1909)
  • Edward Wallis Hoch administration, Jan. 9, 1905-Jan. 11, 1909
  • Correspondence

Part of: Records of the Kansas Governor's Office.

Language note: Text is in English.


Biog. Sketch (Full):

Edward Wallis Hoch, the seventeenth governor of the State of Kansas, was born 17 March 1849 in Danville, Kentucky. Edward was the son of a local baker, Edward C. Hoch, and his mother Elizabeth Stout Hoch. He was raised with two brothers and one sister. His early education was at local common schools, and he later attended Central College of Danville, where he studied general education.

Edward, without any external influence, decided to leave Central College before graduating to take up the printing trade. That was not so unusual given that he was already a renowned public speaker and writer around Danville.

He relocated to the state of Kansas in 1871, temporarily settling at Pawnee Rock before moving to Marion County to claim some acreage of land near Florence. With little on his mind of the future, he settled in the farming trade at Marion County. In 1874, at age twenty-three years, he permanently moved to Marion to take over the Marion Record newspaper as a repayment of debt from an associate. He was also the paper’s publisher until his death in 1925. Mr. Hoch endured some initial hardships in his newspaper business, but he eventually, and not surprisingly, turned it into a financial success. This was largely due to his eloquent writing style and compellingly telling stories kindling the public’s interest in the State. He always had a convincing argument and a mighty fine pen to reinforce that argument.

Edward Hoch married Sarah Louisa Dickerson on 23 May 1876, and they had two sons and two daughters.

Being a country newspaper publisher wasn’t really enough for Mr. Hoch’s curiosity regarding the affairs of state. He simply needed more to fulfill his life’s ambitions, so he decided to enter politics in 1889 as a Republican in the Kansas House of Representatives. He was elected and reelected a second term in 1893. The political events going on in the chamber at the time were contentious to say the least, with events dominated by the “Legislative War” between the Populists and the Republicans. Representative Hoch was also the speaker pro tem of the Republican House. Being a Kansas speaker pro tem in that day was indeed a contentious predicament for any Republican House member to be in, but Hoch’s delicate discretion and judgment toward the ruling party brought the right mix of peaceful alternatives for the fractious issues of the day.

Hoch had the distinct ability to argue both sides of an issue with reason and depth. On at least two occasions many of his political contemporaries had urged him to run for Congress, and a propitious trend of positive public opinion to pursue that goal only accelerated. On 8 March 1894, the political and public apparatus, so impressed with his ability to communicate and lead, caused the Republican state convention to nominate Hoch by acclimation for governor of the state of Kansas.

Edward Hoch was endorsed by what many in the day considered the progressive wing of the Republican Party, better known as the “boss busters.” The progressive movement was spawned at the federal level by President Theodore Roosevelt’s new policy for personal and economic growth for the twentieth century. Hoch was considered a reformer of the same stripe, and for many constituents, a breath of fresh air compared to the incumbent Willis Joshua Bailey. Hoch won the election by large margin over his Democratic opponent, David M. Dale of Wichita.

In Governor Hoch’s first term, while enjoying the active support of the progressive wing of the Republican Party, many changes occurred in the administrative affairs of Kansas. Among the largest issue on the agenda was his gutsy fight with the Standard Oil Company. Standard Oil was operating rather aggressively throughout the country, and it also vied for the control of Kansas’ natural resources. These operations of glut were prior to any controls mandated by the State or the federal governments.

Governor Hoch’s determined devotion to principle led his movement to oust the Standard Oil Company from Kansas. At the time of the Governor’s inauguration, one of the legislative conflicts involved the State of Kansas and Standard Oil. With virtually no regulation in place to limit the monopolizing of natural resources, the company’s aggressive business plan was to pipe natural gas out of the state all the way to the eastern seaboard. The governor believed that any monopoly that threatens the state's organic gas and oil resources was a misuse of the public’s domain. In a message to the State, he said, “I am a firm believer in the competitive system, and entertain with caution any proposition tending to the centralization of governmental power over commercial enterprises which should, as far as possible, be left to individual control. ... Moreover, I have been a student of these subjects for years, and am grounded in the philosophy of the competitive system in contradistinction to the socialistic idea of government absorption of business enterprises.”

Governor Hoch on 17 February 1905, proposed an act to the Legislature. The bill directed the warden of the State Penitentiary to construct a new oil refinery to be operated in Peru, Kansas, as a branch of the Penitentiary “for the refining of crude oil, market the same and its by-products, keep the refinery in repair, and furnish therefore requisite machinery and equipment, and the necessary facilities and instrumentalities for receiving, manufacturing, storing and handling crude, and refined oil and its byproducts.”

The Governor succeeded in his first term in persuading the Legislature to enact seven laws in the interest of producing, preserving and controlling petroleum products; all but one of those laws stood the test of time. The Kansas Supreme Court, however, declared the law appropriating $410,000 for construction of a State refinery unconstitutional. The decision to nullify the appropriation was rendered by the Associate Justice Adrian Lawrence Greene. The constitution, Greene declared, said “the state shell never be a party in carrying on any works of internal improvement.” However, the Governor’s bold move to curb such monopolies resulted in some substantial compensation from the oil industry operating in the state.

Governor Hoch also worked effectively with the Legislature to liquidate a $240,000,000 mortgage debt after lingering for over fifteen years weighing down the State’s budget. He also urged the assembly to pass a primary election law to model that of Wisconsin providing that candidates for the United States Senate run for nomination at a primary election. The Governor worked tirelessly to reapportion the State into eight congressional districts. The census of 1890 called for eight members of Congress from Kansas, but the State wasn’t divided into eight districts. The Governor was also in favor of a public depository system where public revenues would earn interest for the benefit of the State. He also advocated a separate juvenile court system, strict child labor laws, establishing a State printing plant, a pure food law, no regression on Prohibition, and a thorough revision of the tax laws to include using county assessors responsible for property assessments in each township.

The summer of 1906 ushered in the first markings of the Santa Fe Trail by the Daughters of the American Revolution. In September that year Kansas, recognizing the significance of the Trail, held its first centennial celebration. The celebration also marked the 100th anniversary of the raising of the American flag on Kansas soil by Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike in 1806. Mr. Pike would later have some claim to fame in the state of Colorado when Pike’s Peak was named after him.

Governor Hoch was nominated for a second term in 1906 and won re-election, but narrowly. At one point he trailed another Republican candidate because of suspected internal factionalism that resembled the old political machine in power in the late 1800s. Hoch’s firm Prohibition stand was rapidly losing steam in the public view, and his failure to induce a vigorous economy sent him tumbling in the polls. That said, much of his reform legislation did pass in the second term, although he did not get the direct primary law he wanted. He convened a special session of the Legislature in January 1908 that forced that measure through. This emergency session also passed a bank guaranty law, a kind of primitive deposit insurance.

The Governor in his second term also succeeded in passing an anti free-pass act, a single party primary law, a pure food act, a child labor law, and a maximum freight rate bill. He also established a three-person commission to review railroads, taxation methods, juvenile courts, and State institutions to recommend improvements.

The first party primary in Kansas was held in August 1908, and a new candidate for governor emerged on the stage, Walter Roscoe Stubbs. Stubbs had more public appeal for the electorate, and was perceived less of an inside party politico; consequently, he was elected the next governor.

Governor Hoch left office on 11 January 1909 and returned to his beloved Marion Record as its editor and publisher. Hoch also enjoyed some occasional lecturing on the Chautauqua circuit. For his superb oratorical style, the University of Kansas in Lawrence honored Mr. Hoch by naming a large auditorium after him. Governor Hoch served on the State Board of Administration from 1913 to 1919, an agency that administered to all public institutions except the State Capitol. His son also served in public service becoming a longtime congressman and a State Supreme Court justice.

E. W. Hoch died on 1 June 1925 of a rather lengthy illness that culminated in severe kidney failure. He is buried at Highland Cemetery in Marion.

Administrative History

Administrative History:

The Wyandotte Constitution of 1859 established the office of the governor of the State of Kansas. Some of the more important duties, functions, and responsibilities of the governor are to see that the laws are faithfully executed, to require written explanations from other executive officers—at that time the lieutenant governor, secretary of State, auditor, treasurer, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction—upon any subject relating to their respective duties, convene by the Legislature by proclamation on extraordinary occasions, communicate in writing such information as the governor may possess in reference to the condition of the State at the commencement of every legislative session, recommend such measures as he/she may deem expedient, and commission officers of the State.

No formal qualifications for the governor have been legislated, aside from the provision that no member of Congress or officer of the State, or the United States, can serve. The governor is elected by a plurality, not necessarily a majority of votes cast. The governor takes office the second Monday in January following election. The governor is authorized to hire a private secretary, pardon attorney, and other staff as appropriations permit.

At the beginning of Edward Wallis Hoch’s term, the governor had the power to appoint Militia officers; members of part-time boards of directors, trustees, regents, or directors of a large number of State penal, educational, medical, custodial, and mission specific agencies and commissions. The governor was also an ex officio member of other boards, commissions, and committees.

During the four years of Governor Hoch's administration, a new Printing Commission replaced the Board of Public Printing, and a fish-and-game warden, a gubernatorial appointee, replaced the fish warden, both in 1905. In 1907, a Tax Commission of three members appointed by the governor replaced the Board of Railroad Assessors and the State Board of Equalization. The Garden City Branch Station of the Agricultural Experiment Station, Manhattan, was established, as were the State Entomological Commission and State Boards of Veterinary Examiners and Embalming; one member of the Entomological Commission and members of the other two boards were appointed by the governor.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

Governor Edward Wallis Hoch's records consist of one series of Correspondence Files consisting of 115 folders in twenty-two boxes. The files are divided into four sub-series: a General File; State Departments Files; Applications, Recommendations, and Endorsements; and Petitions from Citizens of Kansas City in Regard to Racial Segregation in the Schools.

Items in the series are primarily letters received by Governor Hoch; however the series also may contain proclamations, reports, copies of letters sent, and other types of documents in addition to the letters and petitions received. Some proclamations may have been interfiled with other items received relating to the subjects of the proclamations.

Documents that may have been addressed to Governor Hoch but dated or pertaining to the time period after his term expired in 1909 may be filed with the records of his successor, Governor Walter Roscoe Stubbs.

Detailed information about the Correspondence Files may be found at http://www.kshs.org/archives/195404

Additional files that record the actions of the Hoch administration may be found in a number of series containing records of multiple governors. These are listed in the "Contents" section of this record.

Selected records from Governor Hoch's administration have been posted on Kansas Memory, the Kansas Historical Society's digital archives. These can be found at http://www.kansasmemory.org/locate.php?categories=4894-4796-4909&

Records of other offices of Kansas’ government—particularly the secretary of State, Record Group 622, and attorney general, Record Group 82—will give additional information about State activities during this period. Papers of other prominent political figures of the time, most of which are held by the Kansas State Historical Society, may also offer insights about Kansas politics and government during the Hoch administration.

The Kansas Historical Society does not have a collection of Hoch's personal papers, but letters from him may be found in several manuscript collections including the papers of Albert H. Horton, http://www.kshs.org/archives/40391 ; Harrison Kelley, http://www.kshs.org/archives/40408 ; and J. C. Ruppenthal, http://www.kshs.org/archives/40493


Records specific to this administration:

Records that include this administration:

Portions of Collection Separately Described:


Locator Contents
027-06-03-05 to 027-06-06-03  Correspondence files 

Related Records or Collections

Related materials:


Finding Aid Bibliography:

Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1918; Open Library website; https://archive.org/details/standardhistoryo00conn (viewed 23 July 2014).

Drury, James W. The Government of Kansas. 3d ed. Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, ©1980. Available in the Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS) Reference Room: Call no. K 350.7 D845 1980.

Harder, Marvin A. The Governor of Kansas: An Analysis of Decision-Making Opportunities, Constraints, and Resources. Topeka, Kans.: Capitol Complex Center, University of Kansas, 1981, ©1982. Available in the KSHS Reference Room: Call no. SP 378 Z C172 pam.v.1 no. 1.

Socolofsky, Homer E. Kansas Governors. Lawrence, Kans.: University Press of Kansas, ©1990. Available in the KSHS Reference Room: Call no. K BB So13.

Index Terms


    Republican Party (Kan.)
    Kansas. Governor (1905-1909 : Hoch) -- Archives
    Kansas. Governor (1905-1909 : Hoch) -- Records and correspondence
    Kansas. Legislature
    Kansas -- Officials and employees
    Kansas -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950
    Hoch, Edward Wallis, 1849-1925
    Civil-military relations -- Kansas
    County government -- Kansas
    Criminal justice, Administration of -- Kansas
    Criminals -- Kansas
    Finance, Public -- Kansas
    Government correspondence -- Kansas
    Governors -- Kansas -- Archives
    Governors -- Kansas -- Records and correspondence
    Justices of the peace -- Kansas
    Patronage, Political -- Kansas
    Public institutions -- Kansas
    Public lands -- Kansas
    Public officers -- Kansas
    Public records -- Kansas
    Public welfare -- Kansas
    State-local relations -- Kansas

Creators and Contributors

Agency Classification:

    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Main Office.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Hoch, Edward Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Main Office. Pardon and Extradition Attorney.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Main Office. Pardon Attorney.

Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions: None.

Use and reproduction:

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The user is cautioned that the publication of the contents of these records may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the copyright law of 1976 as amended, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right; the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of a user or his or her publisher to secure the permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing.

Most documents created by governmental entities, including the State of Kansas, are considered in the public domain, although copyright to documents found in public records that were written by individuals or organizations and sent to government agencies may be owned by the writers or their heirs.

Add'l physical form: Selected items: Also available on Kansas Memory, electronic resource. Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society, c2007-14; http://www.kansasmemory.org/locate.php?categories=4894-4796-4909&

Cite as:

Note: [document description], Edward Wallis Hoch administration (1905-9), Records of the Kansas Governor’s Office, Record Group 252, State Archives, Kansas Historical Society.

Bibliography: Kansas, Governor’s Office, Edward Wallis Hoch administration (1905–9), Record Group 252, State Archives, Kansas Historical Society.

Action note: Inventory written by David F. Manning, volunteer, 2009.

Accumulation/Freq. Of Use: No additional records are expected.

Holder of originals: State archives, Kansas Historical Society (Topeka).