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Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Lyman Underwood Humphrey (1889-1893)

Creator: Kansas. Governor (1889-1893 : Humphrey)

Date: 1889 Jan. 14-1893 Jan. 9

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Material Type: Government record

Call Number: (RG 252: 1889-1893 (Humphrey))

Unit ID: 226134

Restrictions: None.

Biographical sketch: Eleventh governor of the State of Kansas, 1889 – 1893 (Republican); of Independence,

Abstract: Records specific to Governor Lyman U. Humphrey's administration consist of 1 series of Correspondence Files, 1889-1893 (no. 193420). Correspondence received includes general letters, official response letters from & letters concerning State agencies, and subject files; some proclamations are also included. Subject files include applications, endorsements, & remonstrances relating to candidates for appointments to normal school, penitentiary, judicial, & other positions; county organizational papers; and letters relating to counties, crime & criminals, justices of the peace, lands, military affairs, relief aid, and the law of Prohibition. Records of multiple governors that record activities of the Humphrey administration may be found in the series Executive proclamations, 1861-1980, no. 193450; Pardon and parole files: Women's Industrial Farm, 1863-1919, no. 193660; Letter press books, 1865-1904, no. 193403; Applications for requisitions, ca. 1870-1953, no. 194090; Letter register, 1871-1895, no. 193463; Death sentence warrants, 1872-1908, no. 193781; Requisitions on governor from governors of other states for persons accused of crimes, 1873-1960, no. 193814; Prisoners in Kansas State Penitentiary, ca. 1875-ca. 1897, no. 193784; Citizenship pardons, 1876-1960, no. 193802; Executive messages and proclamations, 1877-1914, no. 195959; Extraditions, 1877-1994, no. 191789; Final discharge of paroled prisoners, 1879-1913, no. 193772; Miscellaneous volumes, 1885-ca. 1929, no. 193470; Officers of state institutions register, 1887-1889, no. 193461; and a Record of pardons and commutations, 1887-1911, no. 193793.

Space Required/Quantity: 18 ft. (15 boxes)

Title (Main title): Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Lyman Underwood Humphrey (1889-1893)

Titles (Other):

  • Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : Lyman Underwood Humphrey administration, Jan. 14, 1889-Jan. 9, 1893.
  • Records of the Office of the Governor of Kansas : administration of Governor Lyman Underwood Humphrey (1889-1893).
  • Kansas Governor Lyman Underwood Humphrey correspondence received
  • Correspondence received
  • Correspondence files

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

Language note: Text is in English.


Biog. Sketch (Full):

Lyman Underwood Humphrey, eleventh governor of the State of Kansas, was born on 25 July 1844, at New Baltimore, Ohio. Humphrey was the son of a tanner who later became a lawyer and a district judge and was also a colonel in the local militia. Lyman Humphrey the elder was born into progenitors of America who settled in New England in the early seventeenth century. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1799. When Lyman the elder was still a young man, the family moved to the Western Reserve of Ohio, and moved again further west to Deerfield, Ohio. There the family engaged in the tannery trade. The tannery farm in Deerfield was purchased from Jesse Grant, the father of General Ulysses S. Grant. Lyman the elder died in 1853 at the young age of 54 years. Lyman's mother, Elizabeth Everhart Humphrey, was the daughter of prominent iron industrialists from Niles, Ohio. Elizabeth was incredibly gifted with exceptional intellect, warmth, and personality. She was highly patriotic in the American cause of keeping the Union intact; her two sons served heroically in the Union Army during the Civil War. Elizabeth lived to the age of 84. She passed away in 1896 at the home of her son Lyman in Independence, Kansas.

Lyman U. Humphrey was also highly intelligent, most likely inherited from his mother. He began his early education at common schools in New Baltimore, and exceedingly excelled through Massillon High School.

At the outbreak of national civil strife in 1861, at age 17, Lyman left school to enlist in the Union Army's Company I of the 76th Ohio Infantry, then part of the Army of the Tennessee. To his misguided luck, he was embattled in many of the most ugly slaughters of the war, among them Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Chickasaw Bluffs, Arkansas Post, Jackson, the siege of Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge. It was during a small skirmish at Ringgold, Georgia, on November 27, 1863, that he was mildly wounded. However, he quickly recovered and battled on with his unit at Resaca, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, and on through the fight to Atlanta. Somewhere near the Decatur woods of Georgia, on July 22nd, General James Birdseye McPherson fell fatally wounded from a sudden volley fire from a Confederate line hidden in the wood, and not very far from where Lieutenant Humphrey was positioned. Lyman continued on through the battles of Ezra Chapel, Jonesboro, and the onward march with General William T. Sherman to the sea. He fought in the campaign through the Carolinas in the battle of Bentonville. There at Bentonville, North Carolina, was the final surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston's army. Lyman was promoted to first sergeant of his company, and then, by special recommendation of his company commander, to second and first lieutenant, all during his final year of service. He was even given command of a company in the Atlanta campaign on Sherman's final march to the sea. Lyman had completed nearly four years of battle worn service to his country before being mustered out of the Army at Louisville, Kentucky, on July 19, 1865.

Lyman's younger brother, John E. Lyman, enlisted and served in the 19th Ohio Infantry. John was severely wounded at the Battle of Shiloh in 1864, and was subsequently medically discharged from the Army. After recovery, John reenlisted in the 1st Light Artillery of Ohio, and served until the close of the War. Later, John Humphrey settled in Montgomery County, Kansas, to become a pioneer settler. He died there in 1880 of natural causes.

Lyman Humphrey had developed rather exponentially during the war years. His newly found self - confidence had enticed him to reach for a higher education. He attended Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, and remained there for one term. From thence, he went on to complete one year in the law department at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor before running out of money [some sources state that he graduated in 1867]. He was admitted to the legal bar of the Ohio courts.

Soon after that he decided to relocate to Shelby County, Missouri, where he taught school and assisted in publishing the Shelby County Herald newspaper to earn some desperately needed cash. All the while he continued the study of law. In 1870, he was admitted to the bar in Shelby County.

In the year 1871, he decided to change course and build a new law practice in Independence, Kansas, where land was plentiful and cheap. There he also became the founder and publisher of the South Kansas Tribune, along with a successful legal practice in partnership with Colonel A. M. York. On January 1, 1884, Lyman Humphrey decided to embark in the commercial banking business with two enterprising partners, George T. Guernsey and P. V. Hockett, both of whom had helped him organize the business in the preceding month of December. It wasn't long before Humphrey was president of the Commercial Bank of Independence, Kansas.

In 1872, Humphrey met on his travels Captain L. C. Mason, a Civil War pontoon engineer who helped bridge many of the streams from Chattanooga to Atlanta for Sherman's army. Humphrey was impressed with Mason's business and fiscal expertise and encouraged him to settle in southern Kansas. Mr. Mason was a leading business entrepreneur of the day, and would become by 1887 a loan broker, a huge stockholder, and consultant and vice president of the First National Bank. In 1891, after Humphrey restructured the bank, it was renamed the Commercial National Bank. The bank later became one of the largest banking institutions in southern Kansas. Lyman Humphrey resigned as president of the bank to assume the duties of governor in 1889.

Humphrey embarked in Kansas' politics as a staunch Republican in 1872 when he unsuccessfully ran for the Kansas Legislature. This defeat was primarily a result of his opposition to the issue of State railroad bonds, which he later regretted.

He married Amanda Leonard on Christmas Day, 1872. They had four children; two died in infancy.

In 1876, he ran for and was elected to the lower house of the Kansas Legislature representing Montgomery County. He also served reputably as a member of the Judiciary Committee and served as a one - term member of the Kansas Senate.

In 1877, he was selected to replace Lieutenant Governor Melville J. Salter who had resigned to become register of the Independence Land Office. Humphrey also served as judge pro-tempore of the District Court. In the general State election of 1878, Humphrey was elected by a margin of 40,000 votes to serve a two - year term as lieutenant governor. In 1885, he was re-elected to the Kansas Senate, and while there began flirting with the idea of running for the office of governor in 1888.

When Lyman Humphrey announced his candidacy for governor that year, little did he know that he would acquire the largest nomination plurality of any governor in the State of Kansas with 180,841. He was elected governor with a plurality of over 73,000; every county but two in the State had given him a majority vote.

In his first term of office, he advocated for tighter management of State agencies, curtailing interest rates, establishing new labor laws, and securing appropriations for the advancement of agriculture. In 1890, he was re-elected, but this time only by a plurality of about 8,000.

In 1891, the tide began to turn, noting his unpopular and flip - flopping support on the laws of Prohibition as opposition among constituents grew stronger. Nonetheless, Humphrey stood firm on Republican values that supported Prohibition. It was, however, Governor Humphrey who adopted the first Monday in September as the Labor Day holiday. Kansas was the first State in the Union to sanction the Labor Day holiday, and was soon followed by many other States. Humphrey was also responsible for enforcing the periodic inspection of state grain. Governor Humphrey was noted for conducting the affairs of state with frugality, dignity, and due diligence. His ultimate goal was to move Kansas in a peaceful, and prosperous direction, and that he successfully did. Humphrey disliked any pomp and parade, and preferred to work quietly behind the scenes. During his entire governorship, he was only absent twice, once to visit Colorado, and once to attend his regiment's reunion.

In 1892, while wrapping up his business as governor, he decided to run for the United States Congress from the Third District. However he confronted a fusion of Democrats and Populists that resulted in his defeat.

After Humphrey retired from the governorship, he became the financial correspondent for the Union Central Life Insurance Company of Cincinnati; one of his duties was placing loans on farmlands in Kansas and Oklahoma. In semi-retirement, Lyman Humphrey resided quietly with his wife in Independence looking after his business interests. He was also an active Mason, a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

He died on 12 September 1915, at his home in Independence and is buried there at Mount Hope Cemetery.

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 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 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 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. He was authorized to hire a private secretary, pardon attorney, and other staff as appropriations permitted.

At the beginning of Lyman Humphrey's term, the governor had the power to appoint National Guard officers; members of part - time boards of directors, trustees, or regents of the State Penitentiary (now Lansing Correctional Facility), schools of higher education, the State insane asylum (now Osawatomie State Hospital), and schools for deaf and blind students; a Board of Visitors for the State Agricultural College (now Kansas State University); the Bureau of Immigration; the Commission for Care of Destitute Orphans and Children of State Soldiers; the State librarian; the superintendent of insurance; boards of Health, Dental Examiners, and Pharmacy; and a number of minor commissions. He was also an ex officio member of the State Board of Canvassers, boards of directors of the Agricultural College and the Normal School (the present Emporia State University), the Bureau of Immigration, the Board of Treasury Examiners, and other committees.

During Humphrey's tenure in office, the position of oil inspector, appointed by the governor, was created. The office of commissioner of fisheries was abolished and a three-member Board of Managers, appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate, was created along with a fish warden. The Industrial School for Girls was established in 1889. Two years later the governor was given appointment authority for commissioners of elections in each first class city, a three member Board of Public Printing, and a three member Charter Board. Two years later the jobs of bank commissioner and grain inspector, to be appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate, were established. The position of state architect, appointed by the Executive Council, was added in 1891 as well.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

Records specific to Governor Lyman U. Humphrey's administration consist of one series of Correspondence Files, 1889-1893 (no. 193420) in excess of 349 folders divided into four sub-series: (1) the General File, (2) the State Departments and Agencies File, (3) Applications and Endorsements, and (4) a Subject File. Additional information is available in the record for this series: http://www.kshs.org./archives/193420

Documents that may have been addressed to Governor Lyman Humphrey but dated or pertaining to the time period after his term expired in 1893 may be filed with the records of his successor, Governor Lorenzo D. Lewelling.

Additional files that record activities of the Humphrey administration may be found in the series Executive Proclamations, 1861-1980, no. 193450; Pardon and Parole Files: Women's Industrial Farm, 1863-1919, no. 193660; Letter Press Books, 1865-1904, no. 193403; Applications for Requisitions, ca. 1870-1953, no. 194090; Letter Register, 1871-1895, no. 193463; Death Sentence Warrants, 1872-1908, no. 193781; Requisitions on Governor from Governors of Other States for Persons Accused of Crimes, 1873-1960, no. 193814; Prisoners in Kansas State Penitentiary, ca. 1875-ca. 1897, no. 193784; Citizenship Pardons, 1876-1960, no. 193802; Executive Messages and Proclamations, 1877-1914, no. 195959; Extraditions, 1877-1994, no. 191789; Final Discharge of Paroled Prisoners, 1879-1913, no. 193772; Miscellaneous Volumes, 1885-ca. 1929, no. 193470; Officers of State Institutions Register, 1887-1889, no. 193461; and a Record of Pardons and Commutations, 1887-1911, no. 193793. These series, described below, contain records of a number of governors.

Some of the files in the series Pardon and Parole Files, 1863 – 1919, number 193660, are from the Humphrey administration. The records are arranged alphabetically by inmates’ names, so identifying records for this period would require looking at each file and determining its date. There are restrictions on access to these records.

Entries in the second and third volumes of Pardons, 1865 – 1889, series 193789, contain information about pardons possibly issued by Governor Humphrey.

Letter Press Books, 1865 – 1904, series 193397, contain copies of letters and telegrams sent. Recipients included citizens of Kansas and other States, other elected officials, heads of State institutions and departments, the adjutant general, members of the Kansas congressional delegation, other governors, members of the Legislature, railroad officials, newspaper editors, military officers, local officials, and the president and vice president. Topics addressed included State institutions, departments, and programs; appointments; events; counties, investigations; the cattle trade; land; claims; the military; State funds; immigration; Native American issues; laws and legislation, pardons; and other topics mirroring letters received by governors. Secretaries and other staff wrote some of the letters. Some volumes have alphabetical indexes by recipient and subject.

Entries in the Letter Register, 1871 – 1895, series 193463, for individual letters received contain the dates the letter was written and received, the name and city of the writer, and a brief summary of the contents. There is an alphabetical index at the front of each volume.

A Record of Death Sentences, 1872 – 1906, series 193782, begins with an alphabetical index and then initially lists the convicted, the court and county, the date convicted, whose murder they were found guilty of, and the date of the warrant and of the filing. Remarks are usually referenced to a later page. The format quickly switches out of list form and devotes pages to each condemned person in turn. While the same information is usually covered, the jury’s verdict and other related documents that may be found in Death Sentence Warrants, series 193781, are usually handwritten onto these pages.

A volume of Prisoners in Kansas State Penitentiary, circa 1875 – circa 1897, series 03784, contains information about inmates such as name, county, date of sentence, crime, and term of sentence. The first letter of the inmate’s last name arranges entries.

Citizenship Pardons, 1876 – 1960, series 193802, are declarations of pardon, which contain information about the crime committed and the date of the pardon. During the Humphrey administration, citizenship pardon stubs that cover the period January 1889 through January 1893 were created and retained rather than copies of the full pardon documentation.

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 Humphrey administration.

The Kansas State Historical Society also has a collection of Humphrey's personal papers, 1834-1844 (manuscript collection no. 11); there is an on - line guide to the collection at http://www.kshs.org/p/lyman-underwood-humphrey-papers/14046 If you need further assistance, please ask the reference staff to assist you.


Records specific to this administration:

Records including this administration:

Portions of Collection Separately Described:


No Locators Identified

Related Records or Collections

Finding Aids: Paper copies of this finding aid are available in the Research Room of the Center for Historical Research.

Related materials:

  • Records of the Kansas Attorney General's Office. Record Group 82 (UID 214224)

  • Records of the Kansas Secretary of State's Office. Record Group 622 (UID 216312)

  • Lyman Underwood Humphrey papers, 1834-1944. Ms. Collection 11 (UID 40011)


Finding Aid Bibliography:

Connelley, William Elsey. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago: Lewis, 1918. Available in the Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS) Library: Reference shelves; also available on the Internet: http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/archives/1918ks/toc.html.

Drury, James W. The Government of Kansas. 3d ed. Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, c1980. Available in the KSHS Library: 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, c1982. Available in the KSHS Library: Call no. SP 378 Z C172 pam.v.1 no.1.

McKay, Jack F., and Howard Hallman. A Survey of State Governmental Organization in Kansas, 1865-1950 . [Lawrence, Kans.] : Bureau of Government Research, University of Kansas, [1950]. Available in the KSHS Library: Call no. SP 378 Z G74c no.8.

Socolofsky, Homer E. Kansas Governors. Lawrence, Kans.: University Press of Kansas, c1990. Available in the KSHS Library: call no. K BB So13.

Index Terms


    Kansas. Governor (1889-1893 : Humphrey) -- Archives
    Kansas. Governor (1889-1893 : Humphrey) -- Records and correspondence
    Kansas -- Economic conditions
    Kansas -- Officials and employees -- Selection and appointment
    Kansas -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950
    State agencies -- Kansas
    Humphrey, Lyman Underwood, 1844-1915
    Governors -- Kansas -- Archives
    Administrative agencies -- Kansas
    African Americans -- Kansas
    Bureaucracy -- Kansas
    Civil-military relations -- Kansas
    Community information files -- Kansas
    County government -- Kansas
    Criminal justice, Administration of -- Kansas
    Criminals -- Kansas
    Education and state -- Kansas
    Education -- Kansas
    Federal government -- Kansas
    Government correspondence -- Kansas
    Justices of the peace -- Kansas
    Liquor laws -- Kansas
    Prohibition -- Kansas
    Public institutions -- Kansas
    Public lands -- Kansas
    Public records -- Kansas
    Public welfare -- Kansas
    State-local relations -- Kansas
    Taxation -- Kansas

Creators and Contributors

Agency Classification:

    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Humphrey, Lyman Administration.

Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions: None.

Use and reproduction:

This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

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.

Cite as:

Note: [document, folder, subseries, or series description], Humphrey administration (1889-1893), Records of the Kansas Governor's Office, State Archives Record Group 252, State Archives & Library, Kansas Historical Society.

Bibliography: Kansas, Governor's Office, Humphrey administration (1889-1893). Records, 1889-1893. State Archives Record Group 252, State Archives & Library, Kansas Historical Society.

Action note: Inventory written by David F. Manning, volunteer, 2008.

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

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