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Solon Otis Thacher

Politician. Born: August 31, 1830, Hornellsville, New York. Married: Sarah M. Gilmore. Died: August 11, 1895.

Born in Hornellsville, Steuben County, New York, on August 31, 1830, S. O. Thacher was the son of a county judge (Otis Thatcher) and a graduate of Union College at Schenectady, as well as the Albany Law School. Thacher was in 1856 admitted to the bar in New York, where he practiced law and served in the 1857 legislature, before moving with his wife Sarah M. Gilmore and infant daughter to Kansas in July 1858. Thacher settled at Lawrence, where he acquired a half interest in the Republican (co-owner, T. D. Thacher?). In 1859 he proved to be one of the most active and influential delegates at Wyandotte and delivered "the great speech of that convention" against "Negro" exclusion. Previously, Thacher had defended the raids of James Montgomery and other such extreme activity and was a radical voice at the convention. On May 19, 1860, Thacher left the Lawrence Republican, but he remained politically active, winning a judgeship in 1861 (Fourth Judicial District), running for governor in 1864 (anti-Lane candidate), and serving in the state senate in the 1880s. In 1882 he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor, losing to John P. St. John. He also maintained a successful and lucrative law practice in Lawrence and served as a regent of the state university. S. O. Thacher was appointed to a diplomatic mission that toured South America in 1883 and was president of the Kansas Historical Society at the time of his death, August 11, 1895. "He is dead," reported the Lawrence Daily Journal, "and in his death we have lost a noble, honest, true, man."

Entry: Thacher, Solon Otis T

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: May 2012

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