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Andrew Frank Schoeppel

Politician. Republican. Born: November 23, 1894, Barton County, near Claflin. Married: Marie Thomsen, June 1, 1924. Died: January 21, 1962, Bethesda, Maryland; buried Old Mission Cemetery, Wichita. Served as 29th Governor of Kansas: January 11, 1943, to January 13, 1947. Served in U.S. Senate: January 3, 1949, to January 21, 1962.

Andres Frank Schoeppel

Andrew Frank Schoeppel was born on a farm near Claflin, Barton County, Kansas, on November 23, 1894, to George J. and Anna (Phillip) Schoeppel. He attended grammar school in Ness County and Ransom High School. After graduation in 1915 he enrolled in the University of Kansas in 1916. While in college he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity, and was elected to the Phi Alpha Delta honorary law society.  With American entrance into World War I, Schoeppel left K.U. in 1918 and enlisted in the Naval Reserve Flying force. After the war he enrolled in law school at the University of Nebraska where he received a law degree in 1922. While in law school Schoeppel played football for University of Nebraska and won an "honorable mention" from Walter Camp's All-American Team.

Following his admission to the Kansas Bar in 1923 Schoeppel established his law practice in Ness City, in a partnership named Peters & Schoeppel; later to become Schoeppel & Smith. He married Marie Thomsen on June 1, 1924.  In Ness City Schoeppel served as city attorney, county attorney, and mayor. In addition he also served as chairman of the Kansas State Corporation Commission.

In his first experience in state-level political campaigns Schoeppel was drafted against his wishes by the Republican Party. He lost a bid for state representative because he made no effort to campaign, though the margin of votes was very small. After this experience Schoeppel vowed it would never happen again.

In 1942 Schoeppel ran for governor. Among all the Republicans in the primary election Schoeppel was the least experienced in politics and at that phase of the election was considered a dark horse. Nevertheless, he won the nomination. Once past the primary, Newsweek stated "It looks like an easy victory for the clean cut and respected lawyer from a small city in Western Kansas." Still, this victory over William H. Burke was a close one, with a margin of only 7,000 votes, and Schoeppel became the 29th governor of Kansas.

His 1944 re-election bid was a different matter. This time it was a Republican landslide in the most sweeping Republican victory at any time in the state's history.

In addition to his gubernatorial duties, Schoeppel also served as the chairman of the Interstate Oil Compact Commission. This commission was formed in 1935 to deal with the problems resulting from oil and gas industries not under the control of either federal or state authority. This body was approved by U.S. Congress in 1935 and ratified by 16 states by 1945.

After leaving the governor's office in January 1947 Schoeppel re-entered private legal practice in Wichita in the firm of Foulston, Siefkin, Schoeppel, Bartlett & Powers, which specialized in corporate, insurance, oil, gas, and real property law.

Schoeppel re-entered politics in 1948 in a bid for U. S. Senate. In another stunning victory he defeated his Democratic opponent by almost 90,000 votes. The seat he filled was that of Senator Arthur Capper. For the most part Schoeppel voted along party lines on most issues debated in Congress. One notable occasion on which he left party lines was his support for Taft as the Republican Party nominee for the 1952 presidential race. He was twice re-elected.

He was a member of a wide variety of fraternities, and civic organizations, including the Masons, the Shriners, Knight Commander of the Court of Honor, the American Foreign Legion and the Forty Eight. He received an honorary LL.D. from Baker University in 1946. He was a member of the Southwestern Kansas Bar Association, the Kansas Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. He was also a member of the Ness City Lions Club, the Rotary Club and men's honorary society known as the Innocents. In addition, he served on the Ness City School Board, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Andrew F. Schoeppel died while in office at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, on January 21, 1962.

Entry: Schoeppel, Andrew Frank

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2011

Date Modified: February 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.