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Samuel Clarke Pomeroy papers

Creator: Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891

Date: 1855-1953

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Ms. Coll. 476
View selected items on Kansas Memory

Unit ID: 40476

Biographical sketch: Businessman; railroad president; U.S. senator, 1861-73 (Kan.) (Republican). Of Lawrence, Atchison, Kan.; Washington, D.C.

Abstract: The collection includes business and political correspondence to and from Pomeroy, a variety of legal instruments regarding property in Kansas, court records regarding the case State of Kansas vs. Pomeroy for the charge of bribery of a state official, financial accounting notes, a published circular from Pomeroy backing Salmon Chase for president from the 1864 elections, and other such materials. Much of the territorial correspondence is to and from Theodore and/or Thomas Hyatt and the New England Emigrant Aid Company. The collection also includes index cards with detailed information about Pomeroy's movements and actions, mostly arranged in chronological order and mostly focusing on the territorial and early statehood era of Kansas.

Space Required/Quantity: 2 ft. (3 boxes)

Title (Main title): Samuel Clarke Pomeroy papers

Titles (Other):

  • S. C. Pomeroy papers


Biog. Sketch (Full):

Born at Southampton, Massachusetts, on January 3, 1816, Samuel C. Pomeroy attended Amherst College (1836-38) and held several local offices in Southampton before serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1852-53. He became active in the antislavery movement and, after the enactment of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, served as general agent for the New England Emigrant Aid Company. Pomeroy moved to Kansas Territory at the head of one of the company's early parties and resided first in Lawrence and then in Atchison, where he served as mayor (1859). Pomeroy was president of the Relief Committee during the famine of 1860-61.

From the beginning, Pomeroy pursued a variety of investment and business opportunities, as well as politics. Over the years he was involved in organizing several railroads, including the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, as well as coal mines, private roads, bridge and ferry companies, and other enterprises that transported people and freight through Kansas. In the 1860 federal census for Atchison, Pomeroy was enumerated as a "Speculator."

In part, at least, because of the highly visible role he played throughout his years in Kansas, Pomeroy had his loyal supporters and vehement detractors. In commenting Pomeroy’s prospects for election in March 1861, John J. Ingalls wrote: "If abdomen was a test he [Pomeroy] would be sure to triumph, but as brains enter into the contest some what, his chances are small." Selected one of the states first two U.S. senators, nevertheless, Pomeroy served in that capacity from April 4, 1861, to March 3, 1873. He sought reelection in 1873 but was opposed by a Republican faction, which included most of the rest of the Kansas congressional delegation. Pomeroy was accused of buying votes in the legislature, and, although he denied that he had given a legislator a bribe, he lost his support and was replaced by John J. Ingalls. So unseemly were many of Pomeroy’s dealings that he served as a fictionalized model for Mark Twain's Senator Dilworthy, the archetypal corrupt politician in the novel, The Gilded Age.

He lived in Washington, D.C., for a number of years after being defeated for reelection and eventually returned to Massachusetts where he died in 1891. Pomeroy died at Whitinsville, Worcester Co., Mass., on August 27, 1891, and was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston.

Scope and Content

Portions of Collection Separately Described:


Locator Contents
007-03-05-09 to 007-03-05-11   


Finding Aid Bibliography: "Biographical Sketch - Samuel Clarke Pomeroy," Territorial Kansas Online, http://www.territorialkansasonline.org/~imlskto/cgi-bin/index.php?SCREEN=bio_sketches/pomeroy_samuel (accessed 7 July 2010).

Index Terms


    New England Emigrant Aid Company
    Kansas -- History -- 1854-1861
    Kansas Territory
    United States
    Washington (D.C.)
    Hyatt, Thaddeus
    Hyatt, Theodore
    Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891 -- Archives
    Businessmen -- Kansas
    Businessmen -- Washington (D.C.)
    Executives -- United States
    Legislators -- Kansas
    Legislators -- United States
    Political corruption -- Kansas
    Real property, Exchange of -- Kansas
    Real property -- Ownership -- Kansas

Creators and Contributors

Additional Information for Researchers

Add'l physical form: Selected items: Also available via Kansas Memory, Electronic resource. Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society, c2007-18; http://www.kansasmemory.org/category/4693