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Lyman Underwood Humphrey correspondence

Creator: Humphrey, Lyman Underwood, 1844-1915

Date: 1834-1944

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Ms. Coll. 11 (1834-1944: Humphrey's papers and supplemental family materials)

Unit ID: 40011

Biographical sketch: Civil War soldier, attorney, political figure. Of New Baltimore (Stark County), Ohio; Shelby County, Mo.; Independence, Kan. Details: Lyman Underwood Humphrey was governor of Kansas 1889-93.

Abstract: Papers of Lyman Underwood Humphrey, 1861-1911; 1 item by Lyman Humphrey of Deerfield, Ohio, tanner, attorney, & father of Lyman U. Humphrey, 1834; Humphrey & Humphrey and Humphrey Investments, the firm Lyman U. established in Independence with his son Lyman L. Humphrey, 1912-1934; and Lyman L. Humphrey, Independence businessman, 1930-1944. Lyman U. Humphrey's correspondence consists of Civil War letters to his mother, Elizabeth A. Everhart Humphrey, and a few letters of his brother, John. Lyman U. Humphrey's letters react to news from home, admonish his mother to not worry, express frustration with mail service, and inquire about John. After Lyman U. Humphrey moved to Independence, Kan., in 1871, his correspondence becomes business and politically oriented. During his tenure as governor, 1889-1893, his correspondence mirrors the letters in his official gubernatorial records (state archives, Library and Archives Division, Kansas State Historical Society); correspondents include President Benjamin Harrison, almost all major Kansas Republican political figures, Susan B. Anthony, Charles Curtis, W. E. Stanley, and governors of other states & territories. Personal correspondence deals with business & civic matters, land, loans & financial affairs, effects of the political gains of the Farmers Alliance, and requests for recommendations. Humphrey & Humphrey and Humphrey Investment Co. letters relate to loans and land transactions, primarily in southern Kansas and Oklahoma. Beginning in 1938, the focus of the letters changes from the family business to preserving Lyman U. Humphrey's legacy.


Contents List

Biographical Jim Graves, comp. [Biographical and supplemental information on Lyman Underwood Humphrey and other family members], 1861-2006 (accession no. 2007-202.01)
1834 (Lyman Humphrey Note verifying Ohio Militia service)
1861 (Lyman U. Humphrey Civil War letters to his mother)
1862 (Lyman U. Humphrey Civil War letters to his mother, 1 letter [7 December]
to his brother, 1 letter [18 November] from John Humphrey to his mother)
1863 (Lyman U. Humphrey Civil War letters to his mother, 2 letters [16-21 Aug., 20-22 Sept.]
from John and his mother to Lyman, 1 letter [25 October] from
Capt. Edward Briggs to Lyman)
1864 (Lyman U. Humphrey Civil War letters to his mother, 1 letter [17 Jan.] from John to
Lyman, 2 discharge certificates for Lyman [21 Jan., 13 June])
1865 (Lyman U. Humphrey Civil War letters to his mother, 1 commission [6 Jan.], 2 letters
from John to Lyman [15 Feb., 13 June], 1 letter from Lyman to
John [28 May], Lyman's discharge [15 July])
[1861-1865 undated, fragment]
1866-1867 (Lyman U. Humphrey letters received)
1871-1879 (Lyman U. Humphrey letters received)
1881-1888 (Lyman U. Humphrey letters received)
1889 (4 folders: Jan., Feb., Mar.-Aug., Sept.-Dec.) (Lyman U. Humphrey letters received)
1890 (3 folders: Jan.-May, June-July, Aug.-Dec.) (Lyman U. Humphrey letters received)
1891 (Lyman U. Humphrey letters received)
1892 (4 folders: Jan.-June, July-Oct., Nov., Dec.) (Lyman U. Humphrey letters received)
1893-1896 (Lyman U. Humphrey letters received)
1861-1916 Jim Graves, comp. [Documents on Lyman Underwood Humphrey’s Civil War service and pension (photocopies)] (accession no. 2007-202.01)
[1901] (Lyman U. Humphrey note received)
1911-1919 (Humphrey & Humphrey, Humphrey Investment Co., Lyman L. Humphrey letters
received; 1 letter [24 July 1911] to Lyman U. Humphrey)
1920-1929 (Humphrey & Humphrey, Humphrey Investment Co. letters received)
1930-1938 (Humphrey Investment Co., Lyman L. Humphrey correspondence)
1941-1944 (correspondence between Lyman L. Humphrey and Marie [Mrs. Oliver] Kuhn and others regarding a memorial to Lyman U. Humphrey at his birthplace)
Oversize (rolls) (Lyman U. Humphrey certificates of election, membership, illustration, 76th Ohio Infantry Regiment Muster Rolls, Feb. 1864-Feb. 1865)


Detailed Description of the Civil War Letters

The letters actually begin before Lyman U. Humphrey enlisted when he asked his mother's permission to quit school and join the Ohio troops, arguing that not enlisting and trying to find a teaching job would be problematic given the short amount of time he would have. His mother obviously assents, for in his next letter he tells of traveling by train and his current accommodations in Lancaster (Camp Medill), Ohio. In a later letter, he talks about clothing & equipment and his daily routine.

In a partially dated letter, believed to have been written 17 Feb. 1862, he tells of the reorganization of his company, its assignment to the 76th Ohio Infantry, their movement to Tennessee, and the taking of Fort Donelson from the Confederates. His letters are full of family concerns and assurances that he will be all right. He mentions several times that everyone is sure the war will be over quickly.

By March of 1862 he was at Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., and described skirmishing (Crump's Landing?). The taste of battle appears to have emboldened him. In a May letter, he comments on the erroneous reports that are circulating in his home town and mentions that he and his brother, John, were both engaged in a recent battle (the siege of Corinth, Miss.?). He describes the area, talks about sickness & how "outside" accounts have exaggerated it, and again says they will be home soon.

While at Fort Pickering, Tenn., just outside Memphis, he writes of the food and how life in the city is returning to "normal" after its capture by the Union Army; he also described their Fourth of July celebration.

His next letter was written from Helena, Ark., in August; he discusses pay and his financial situation. In a subsequent September letter, he mentions that the scene is relatively quiet with the Confederates operating primarily as guerrillas. In the collection's next letter, he describes his trip by boat from Helena to Ste. Genevieve, Mo., and gives his assessment of the country he saw; his unit went to Pilot Knob, Mo., to rest and reorganize, and he compares that area favorably to Ohio.

There is also an 18 Nov. 1862 letter from John Humphrey to his mother written from the Convalescent Barracks, Nashville. In it, he describes his current condition and the taking of Nashville by Union troops.

Lyman's 5 December letter is from the Mississippi side of the Mississippi River opposite Helena, Ark.; in it he expresses approval for President Abraham Lincoln's replacement of George B. McClellan by Ambrose Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac. He includes a narrative of his experiences to date. His next letter, two days later, is to his brother; in it, he relates recent experiences and some views on the war to date. In a letter to his mother of the same date, he tells about how the Confederate forces are essentially vanquished in the area and how the soldiers long to go to Vicksburg or Jackson, Miss., to fight.

On 19 Jan. 1863, Lyman was on a steamer at Napoleon, Ark. Writing to his mother, he tells of Sherman's Yazoo Expedition and the assault & capture of Fort Hindman (Arkansas Point), Ark. Unlike sentiments in earlier letters, he now fears the war will last a long time. In his next letter, he tells of landing near Vicksburg, Miss.; the construction of a canal by military forces; the rumored imminent arrival of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's forces; the possibility of cutting Confederate control of the Mississippi River; and their uncertainty whether they will attack Vicksburg. He despairs of a military victory over the South. In a later letter, he implores his mother for more news from home, no matter how trivial. He again talks about the canal they are constructing and how it will bypass Vicksburg and make the Confederate fortifications there useless. He tells of Union ships making forays along the river, but implies that the North doesn't yet control the river.

His 2 June letter tells of fighting at Grand Gulf, the Union capture of Jackson, and their assault on Vicksburg. As Union victories increased, his mood about the war grew more optimistic. In later letters, he tells of the Confederate surrender of Vicksburg, Union control of the Mississippi River, and exults in the series of Northern victories while at the same time denouncing the "copperheads" back in Ohio who are hurting the Union cause.

Letters in the collection for August and September are to Lyman from his brother and mother. John tells Lyman about the imminent fall of Charleston, S.C., to the Union and urges him to try to obtain command of one of the Colored (African American) regiments being formed at Vicksburg. John relates that he is now in the local militia and tells of drilling. He also told about a cholera outbreak and a crime wave in the community; his mother relays local election results and maternal advice. In reply, Lyman says that he's not in the military for himself but does relate that at times he has essentially been the company commander, and the company has been judged outstanding.

By late October, Lyman is at Cherokee Station, Ala., near Tuscumbia, trying to open the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

A 25 October letter is to Lyman from Capt. Edward Briggs, recruiting officer of Company I of the 76th. Written from Massillion, O., he congratulates Lyman on his promotion to first sergeant and provides news about the home front & some of the company's soldiers who are away.

In his 19 November letter, Lyman tells his mother of their 250 mile march through southern Tennessee and northern Alabama. He describes fighting in the Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign, taking Lookout Mountain, assisting at Mission Ridge, capturing an entire Alabama brigade, and conquering Taylor's Ridge (Ringgold Gap, Ga.) The unit, however, took considerable casualties, and Lyman was wounded. He is expecting that they will soon go into their winter encampment. In an undated, incomplete letter believed to have been written about the same time, Lyman comments on election results in Ohio and notes that his regiment is seeing a large number of Confederate deserters.

His first letter of 1864 is from Paint Rock, Ala. He and others in his regiment who re-enlisted are supposed to have a furlough back in Ohio, but staff shortages and unprocessed paperwork have resulted in him still being in the South.

A 17 January letter is from Lyman's brother, John, at that time in Battery M, 1st Ohio Light Artillery, at Chattanooga. His unit has been essentially inactive, but he fears Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will send a large force Lyman's way.

Following the 17 January letter is Lyman Humphrey's first discharge certificate, 21 Jan. 1864.

In Nashville traveling back to the front from his furlough, Lyman describes in a 20 March letter the sights of the city. Leaving home was very difficult for him, and he talks of his fears in the letter.

Lyman—at Woodville, Ala., less than 75 miles away from John—tells in his letter of 9 April about reorganizing and awaiting new recruits. He comments on hearing the news of deaths of his brother's wife and child. In his letter of 20 May, he tells of marching to Chattanooga, joining Gen. William T. Sherman's forces, and their march toward Savannah; he describes the Battle of Resaca (Ga.) and says they next expect to fight at Atlanta. In a subsequent letter dated 30 May, he talks about fighting at Dallas, Ga., and daily skirmishes as they move southward.

Following the 30 May letter is Lyman's second discharge certificate as an enlisted man, dated 13 June. At this time, he was promoted to second lieutenant.

His next letter is written from Kenesaw Mountain, site of another major confrontation. In it, he describes the constant fighting to which they are exposed. In the following letter, 23 July, he tells of the battles in the Atlanta area, the horrendous casualties they inflicted on the Confederates, the large number of casualties they suffered in return, and the death of Brig. Gen. James B. McPherson.

His next letter, 12 August, is from Atlanta as well, and in it he continues his description of being in command on the front lines. He expresses surprise at his mother's favorable impression of John Charles Fremont, whom he sees as an enemy of President Abraham Lincoln and the preservation of the Union. He fears people at home have forgotten their "hometown troops" so far away. The soldiers are seeing large numbers of Southern deserters.

The following month, Lyman writes with relief from East Point, Ga., that he has continued to survive the relentless Atlanta Campaign and that the city is now in Union hands. He described how they concentrated on taking the railroads first, then fought continuously and decimated the Confederate forces. Union casualties have been heavy as well. He saw his brother on 2 September, and Lyman concludes by saying this Campaign has worn him down more than anything else. In a later letter, he talks of prisoner exchanges, being reviewed by Gen. Sherman, being in command of his company, and hoping his mother did not interpret his fatigue as losing his patriotism.

By October, Lyman's regiment was on the move; he wrote on the thirteenth from Rome, Ga. His final letter of 1864 is from near Savannah; in it, he describes being part of Gen. Sherman's "march to the sea" through Macon, Ga., to Savannah destroying everything of strategic importance and living off the land.

By 5 Jan. 1865, Lyman's regiment is in Savannah, and he is commanding his company.

Included in the file is a photocopy of Lyman's commission as a first lieutenant from Ohio Gov. John Brouch, 6 Jan. 1865.

His next letter, dated 20 January, was written from Garden's ("Gardner's") Corner, S.C. He relates leaving the Georgia coast by ship and being ferried to Beaufort, S.C.

On 15 February, John—in Dalton, Ga.—wrote to Lyman. John told his brother that, contrary to the latter's supposition, John's battery did not pursue Gen. John B. Hood in Nashville, but instead remained in Chattanooga. He noted that Southern guerrillas do not pose much of a threat.

By the end of March, Lyman was near Goldsboro, N.C. In a subsequent letter, he expressed his belief that he will be home soon, though they were leaving Goldsboro the next day. By 19 April they had taken Raleigh, N.C.; in his letter, he comments on Gen. Lee's surrender & President Lincoln's assassination and states how tempting it is to now wage a war of annihilation against the South in retribution.

Lyman writes his brother on 28 May from Washington, D.C. From Raleigh, their forces went to Richmond and, finding no resistance, on to Washington. Lyman describes some of the sights he saw there including Mount Vernon and government buildings. He defends Gen. Sherman's actions regarding the surrender of Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnson.

By 13 June, he is in Louisville, Ky., on his way home.

John writes Lyman from Dalton on the same day stating his views on Sherman.

Lyman's last letter to his mother was written from Louisville on 27 June. In it, he promises to not let the idleness there lead to bad behavior and gives details about a box with his papers that he has shipped to her. The Civil War file ends with a copy of his discharge, 15 July.

Space Required/Quantity: 0.55 cubic feet

Title (Main title): Lyman Underwood Humphrey correspondence

Titles (Other):

  • Lyman Underwood Humphrey papers
  • Correspondence [Portion of title]


Biog. Sketch (Full):

Lyman Humphrey was born in Connecticut in 1799. As a young man, he moved to the Western Reserve of Ohio, locating in Deerfield. He operated a tannery for many years then became an attorney. He married Elizabeth A. Everhart in Niles, Ohio. He was a colonel in the militia and died in 1853.

Elizabeth A. (Everhart) Humphrey was born in 1812 to John & Rachel (Johns) Everhart. She married Lyman Humphrey at Niles, Ohio. In her later years, she lived with her son Lyman U. Humphrey in Independence, Kansas and died there in 1896.

John E. Humphrey, son of Lyman & Elizabeth A. (Everhart) Humphrey, grew up in New Baltimore (Stark County), Ohio. He enlisted in the 19th Ohio Infantry at the beginning of the Civil War, was severely wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, and was subsequently discharged. Later, he re-enlisted in the 1st Ohio Light Artillery and served until the end of the War. He was an early settler of Montgomery County, Kansas where he died in 1880.

Lyman Underwood Humphrey was born 25 July 1844 at New Baltimore (Stark County), Ohio, to Lyman Humphrey and Elizabeth A. (Everhart) Humphrey. Lyman U. had one brother, John. Their father died in 1853 when Lyman U. was only nine years old.

He was a student at Massillon High School when the Civil War erupted. He quit school and joined Company D of the 76th Ohio Infantry; later he transferred to Company I. The latter unit participated in battles at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Arkansas Post, & Jackson; the siege of Vicksburg; a march from Memphis to Chattanooga; conflicts at Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold, Resaca, & Kenesaw Mountain; the battle near Atlanta; Sherman's march to the sea; and fighting at Savannah & the Carolinas. He was wounded several times but none seriously. He was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., in July 1865. He attained the rank of first lieutenant. During the War he wrote faithfully to his widowed mother.

After the war, he attended Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, and studied law at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was admitted to practice law in Ohio in 1868, but soon thereafter he went to Shelby County, Missouri. There he taught school, worked at a newspaper, and continued studying law. He was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1870.

The following year, he came to Kansas, settling in Independence. He founded the Commercial Bank of Independence and the South Kansas Tribune as well as practiced law & operated a land business with Col. A. M. York.

On 25 Dec. 1872, he married Amanda Leonard. They had two sons, Lyman Leonard and A. Lincoln.

Lyman U. Humphrey was an ardent Republican, and he ran unsuccessfully for the Kansas Legislature in 1872, losing because of his opposition to the issuance of railroad bonds. Four years later, he was elected by a large majority; he served on the Judiciary Committee. Before his term was over, he was appointed lieutenant governor, and he was elected to the post in 1878. He served in this capacity from 1877 until 1881. In 1884, he successfully ran for the Kansas Senate; during his tenure, he was elected president pro tem.

He ran for governor in 1888 and was elected by the largest plurality to that time, defeating John Martin, P. P. Elder, and J. D. Botkin. He carried all but two counties.

A hallmark of his administration was his enforcement of Kansas' prohibition laws. At the time, to ensure that local opposition to prohibition did not prevail, the governor appointed police commissioners for all first-class cities. Unlike some of his predecessors, Humphrey appointed men who would uphold the law, thus making himself unpopular with opponents of prohibition. He was re-elected in 1890 over Democratic, Prohibition, and People's Party candidates, though by a lesser majority than in 1888.

In his second term, Governor Humphrey promoted the successful passage of a law establishing Labor Day as the first Monday in September, the first State to do so, and issued the first proclamation making the day an official holiday. Other States followed suit. He was responsible for starting a grain inspection program. He personally visited state institutions to ensure they were being governed prudently. He spent little of his expense allowances and took almost no time away from his work. His administration, lasting from 1889 until 1893, was one of quiet efficiency.

He ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from the Third District of southeast Kansas in 1892 at the close of his second gubernatorial term but was defeated by T. J. Hudson, the Populist candidate.

He returned to Independence at the end of his term and supervised farm loans in Kansas and Oklahoma for the Union Central Life Insurance Company. He also continued his business interests in the community, later in partnership with his son Lyman L. as Humphrey & Son, Humphrey & Humphrey, and Humphrey Investment Co.

Lyman U. Humphrey was a Mason and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic & the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. He was a member of the Congregational Church.

He died in Independence on 12 Sept. 1915 and was buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery there.

Lyman Leonard Humphrey, the son of Lyman U. & Amanda (Leonard) Humphrey, was born 3 July 1876. He graduated from Independence High School and attended the University of Kansas for two years.

He received training in the banking business at Citizens National Bank of Independence. He joined his father in business, a partnership that lasted until his father's death in 1915. Lyman L. continued the business and later made Carl R. Guilkey, one of his sons-in-law, his partner. Ultimately, Guilkey took over the firm.

On 2 Dec. 1902, he married Elsie A. Anderson. They had two children, Martha Isabel born 6 Nov. 1908, and Mary Louise, born 21 Dec. 1914.

He was treasurer of the Board of Education in Independence and president of the Board of Trustees of the First Presbyterian Church. He was also a Knight Templar.

He died 22 Jan. 1945.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

The collection is essentially a continuous series of correspondence, arranged chronologically, incorporating four entities: Lyman Humphrey (1834); Lyman U. Humphrey (1861-1911); Humphrey & Humphrey/Humphrey Investment Co. (1912-1938), the firm he operated with his son Lyman L.; and Lyman L. Humphrey (1930-1944).

The earliest item in the collection is a note, 20 Sept. 1834, signed by Lyman Humphrey, father of Lyman U. Humphrey, certifying the military service of Joseph Pound in the 2d Rifle Regiment, 2d Brigade, 4th Division, of the Ohio Militia.

There are no letters for the years 1835-1860.

Lyman U. Humphrey's correspondence can be divided into two components: letters he wrote his mother during the Civil War and letters he received afterwards.

Lyman U. Humphrey's Civil War letters are almost exclusively to his mother, by that time a widow, during his service in the 76th Ohio Infantry. The surviving letters in the collection are photocopies of originals retained by the donor. Lyman U. Humphrey's handwriting, coupled with less than ideal photocopying, make reading some of the letters difficult. They are approximately monthly and relate his experiences. Included with Lyman's letters to his mother are a few letters by his brother, John, to their mother; from John and his mother to Lyman; from Lyman to John; from John to Lyman; and from Capt. Edward Briggs to Lyman. There are also copies of Lyman's discharge certificates and his commission. In addition, there is what appears to be an incomplete letter from Lyman whose date cannot be determined; it, and an undated military order, are filed after the 1865 correspondence.

As is expected, the letters consistently react to news from home, admonish his mother to not worry, express frustration with slow or disrupted mail service, and inquire about his brother, John, a soldier in the 19th Ohio Infantry and the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Battery.

The letters actually begin before he enlisted when he asked his mother's permission to quit school and join the Ohio troops; she assents. He then tells of organizing their company, daily routine at camp, and their assignment to the 76th Ohio Infantry. He mentions several times that everyone is sure the war will be over quickly. He tells of their first fighting, in the Pittsburg Landing, Tenn./Corinth, Miss., area and describes Memphis after its capture by the Union Army.

In his letters, Lyman relates how he is moved to Helena, Ark., where they would stay for some time seeing little action. Meanwhile John, recovering from injuries suffered in the Battle of Shiloh, writes from a military hospital in Nashville.

Lyman next sends letters from Vicksburg, Miss., where he assists with construction work to render Confederate defenses useless. At this point, he despairs of a military victory over the South. As Union victories increased—including his own at Vicksburg and Jackson, Miss.—his mood about the war grows more optimistic. John, now back in Ohio, relates to Lyman that he is now in the local militia and tells of drilling.

With William T. Sherman's army, Lyman describes marches through southern Tennessee, northern Alabama, and northwest Georgia, ultimately fighting in the Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign. He re-enlists, is granted a furlough to return to Ohio, then returns to the South to continue the campaign. Meanwhile, his brother John is with the 1st Ohio Light Artillery and writes from Chattanooga.

Sherman's army, including Lyman, moves on to Atlanta and Savannah, hard-fought Union victories the entire route, which Lyman describes in detail. From there, they are transported to South Carolina where Confederate resistance crumbles. At War's end, Lyman, now a first lieutenant, is at Raleigh, N.C. From there, his regiment goes to Richmond; Washington, D.C.; and to Louisville, Ky., where he is discharged. His letters talk about the sights he saw in Washington and arrangements he made to have his possessions shipped home.

A more detailed description of the family's Civil War letters is in the Appendix to this fining aid.

Following the war, there is a letter of recommendation on Lyman Humphrey's behalf to the University of Michigan law school and a letter from a colleague who is returning to the school giving Lyman information about the situation and housing there.

No correspondence exists for the years 1868-1870.

After he moved to Independence, Kans., in 1871, Humphrey's correspondence becomes business and politically oriented. There is an eclectic mixture of subjects in the surviving documents from the 1870s including a letter to Amanda Leonard, later his wife, regretting that he cannot be with her because of a business meeting; letters from his partner & Kansas Sen. A. W. York concerning charges against U.S. Sen. Samuel Clarke Pomeroy and correspondence received from other political figures such as U.S. Senators John J. Ingalls & Preston B. Plumb and U.S. Rep. Henry Haskell regarding appointments and other matters, land patents, and Humphrey's commission as lieutenant governor. There are no letters for 1876.

During the 1880s, while Humphrey was lieutenant governor and a Kansas state senator, some of the letters he received were political in nature. Others, however, were from old brothers in arms from the Civil War with updates or recollections, including a letter (photocopy), 2 Apr. 1886, from Gen. Sherman. Years represented in the collection are 1881, 1883, 1886, 1888, and 1889.

After his election as governor in November 1888 and prior to his inauguration in January of 1889, the retained correspondence increased notably. Included is a 26 Dec. 1888 letter from Gen. Sherman clarifying his status and giving his views on his troops, the Civil War & its aftermath, and the state of the nation. Other letters relate to state positions and liquor.

During his tenure as governor, January 1889 through January 1893, his correspondence mirrors the letters in his official gubernatorial records in the Archives Dept. Letters sent to him include topics such as prisons; legislation; requests for jobs, commissions, appointments, recommendations, pardons, railroad passes, funding, & other favors; affairs of counties & cities; law enforcement, extraditions, rewards, & criminals; prohibition; elections & woman suffrage; invitations; political matters, Republican Party affairs & election campaigns; a Deep Harbor Convention at Topeka; the chancellorship at the University of Kansas; livestock quarantines; international trade; free coinage of silver; the World's Fair in Chicago (1893); and resignations. Probably the most unusual letter invites the governor to name the first set of triplets born in Nemaha County. An undated "Petition" to Gov. Humphrey is filed after the January 1893 correspondence. Most of this correspondence is actually official rather than personal and appears to be items that, for some reason, were not kept with his gubernatorial files; perhaps they were written from individuals viewed as notable or people Gov. Humphrey knew personally. Writers include President Benjamin Harrison; almost all the major Kansas Republican political figures of the time; Susan B. Anthony; Charles Curtis, later a U.S. senator and vice-president; W. E. Stanley, a future governor; and governors of other States & territories.

Some of his personal correspondence during the period dealt with business & civic matters in Independence, land in Oklahoma Terr., loans & financial affairs, effects of the political gains of the Farmers Alliance on the credit rating of the state, and requests for information about financial companies.

After he left office, Humphrey continued to receive requests for recommendations, letters pertaining to politics in Kansas, and correspondence about his business interests, particularly land matters.

There are no letters for the years 1894-1895 or 1897-1900.

There is an undated acknowledgment of condolences from the family of President Benjamin Harrison, presumably received in 1901.

No correspondence exists for the years 1902-1910.

With the exception of a 24 July 1911 letter to Lyman U. Humphrey from Charles Curtis asking Humphrey's advice on pension legislation, all of the correspondence between 1910 and 1931 is addressed to either the business—Humphrey & Humphrey or Humphrey Investment Co.—or Lyman L. Humphrey, the son of the former governor. The letters relate to loans and land transactions, primarily in southern Kansas and Oklahoma. Of interest is a letter from Will Rogers, received 11 Feb. 1927, and the firm's reply, 19 February, relating to Rogers's desire to purchase land being foreclosed adjacent to his farm. No letters exist for 1912-1914, 1918, or 1922.

There are no letters for the years 1932-1937. Beginning in 1938, the focus of the letters changes from the family business to preserving the legacy of Lyman U. Humphrey.

On 23 May 1938, Marie Kuhn of rural Hartville, Ohio, wrote the postmaster in Independence asking for information on Lyman U. Humphrey's life in Kansas. The postmaster, in turn, forwarded the letter to Lyman L., who responded. Mrs. Kuhn represented residents who wanted to place a plaque at the site of Lyman U. Humphrey's birth. Their correspondence continued, each informing the other of anecdotes and information about Lyman U. Humphrey's residence in each of the states. Mrs. Kuhn kept Lyman L. abreast of progress on the memorial and occasionally requested copies of documents and other information. Included in the file are correspondence with the Canton Labor Federation (Ohio); newspapers; and Kirke Mechem, secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, regarding Lyman U. Humphrey's first Labor Day proclamation and news stories commemorating the event. Because of World War II and declining interest, no memorial had been placed by the end of their correspondence in August 1944, but Mrs. Kuhn told Lyman L. that she was working hard to inform residents of Ohio about the centennial of Lyman U. Humphrey's birth, 25 July 1944. There are no letters for the years 1939-1940 or 1942-1943.

Undated & partially dated letters and fragments have been inserted into the chronological sequence of letters at what appears to be the most logical place based on the contents of the letter. Documents for which the year but not the exact date could be ascertained are at the end of the correspondence for that year. Civil War items that could not be sequenced in this way follow the 1865 correspondence. Later items that cannot be dated by content are at the end following the 1944 correspondence; they include notes about property, fragments of letters, a letter to Amanda Humphrey from a friend, reasons why a Mrs. Kemp wants a divorce from her husband, and a newspaper clipping titled "How Gov. Humphrey Walloped an Indian."

Oversize documents in the collection consist of certificates of election to the Legislature and as governor, a membership certificate in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, a printed engraving of the Battle of Resaca, and photocopies of Muster Rolls of companies D and I of the 76th Ohio Infantry Regiment.

Individual letters from Lyman U. Humphrey appear in the the John Guthrie, George Washington Martin, and Riley County history collections. A number of letters, 1884-1892, from Lyman U. Humphrey to Eugene Fitch Ware are in the Ware collection (no. 86); there is a list of correspondents with dates of letters in the first box of the collection. One item, a 21 Jan. 1888 letter from Lyman U. Humphrey, Commercial National Mortgage Co., Independence, to D. W. Wilder, Topeka, has been moved from the former Lyman U. Humphrey miscellaneous collection to this collection. Other collections that may have related material include the papers of Charles & Anna E. Curtis (no. 22), John J. Ingalls, Preston Bierce Plumb, Samuel Clarke Pomeroy, the William Eugene Stanley miscellaneous collection, and the Woman Suffrage history collection.

Lyman U. Humphrey's official records as governor are in the Archives Dept.: http://www.kshs.org/archives/226134

Photographs of Lyman U. Humphrey are in the Kansas State Historical Society's photo collection.

Electronic images of individual Lyman U. Humphrey documents donated on a compact disk in 2006 have been copied to Kansas State Historical Society file servers for preservation. Researchers interested in them should check the Kansas State Historical Society's Kansas Memory website, http://www.kansasmemory.org.

Other correspondence, documents, and memorabilia, 1872-1906, of Lyman Underwood Humphrey are at the Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas (Lawrence), collection RH MS 27.


Locator Contents
000-00-00-00  Digital material relating to Lyman Humphrey and family, 1864-1915. acc. 2007-202.01 
002-08-04-08  Manuscripts Collection 11 
013-07-04-11  Ohio muster rolls 
014-12-03-02  1877-1878: certificates of election for Lieutenant Governor 
110-04-04-17  1864-1915: Ohio muster rolls and CD of material relating to Lyman Humphrey and family 

Related Records or Collections

Associated materials:

Other correspondence, documents, and memorabilia, 1872-1906, of Lyman Underwood Humphrey, 0.5 linear ft. (1 document case containing 325 items) are at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas (Lawrence), Kansas Collection, RH MS 27: https://archives.lib.ku.edu/repositories/3/resources/757

Records from Humphrey's term as governor of Kansas are in the state archives holdings of the Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka): http://www.kshs.org/archives/226134

Other Finding Aid/Index: Finding aid available from the Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka) and on its website, http://www.kshs.org.

Index Terms


    Kansas. Governor (1889-1893 : Humphrey)
    Humphrey & Humphrey
    Humphrey Investments
    Kansas State Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union
    Republican Party (Kan.)
    Independence (Kan.)
    Kansas -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950
    Shelby County (Mo.)
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
    Humphrey, John E., 1840-1880
    Humphrey, Lyman, 1799-1853
    Humphrey, Lyman L. (Lyman Leonard), 1876-1945
    Humphrey, Lyman Underwood, 1844-1915
    Businessmen -- Kansas -- Independence
    Commercial correspondence -- Kansas -- Independence
    Lawyers -- Kansas -- Independence
    Lawyers -- Missouri -- Shelby County
    Mortgage loans -- Kansas
    Mortgage loans -- Oklahoma
    Politicians -- Kansas
    Real estate business -- Kansas
    Real estate business -- Oklahoma
    Soldiers -- Ohio -- New Baltimore
    Soldiers -- United States

Creators and Contributors

Additional Information for Researchers

Use and reproduction: Information on copyright available from the Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka).

Add'l physical form: Some Lyman Underwood Humphrey Civil War letters and other documents: Digital images available; Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka).


With: With this is filed: Graves, Jim, comp. [Biographical and supplemental information and documents on Lyman Underwood Humphrey and other family members], 1861-2006. -- 0.1 ft. (2 folders + 1 optical disk (CD-ROM)). -- Gift: Jim Graves, 2006; accession no. 2007-202.01.