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Title | Creator | Date Made Visible | None

Elisha J. Scott

Elisha J. Scott, 1890-1963, was raised in Topeka's Tennesseetown. As a youth, he possessed a strong drive and a quick wit, which attracted the eye of prominent Topeka minister Charles M. Sheldon. With financial support from Sheldon and his own abilities to succeed, Scott earned his law degree from Washburn College in 1916. During his long career as an attorney, he argued many civil rights and school segregation cases throughout Kansas and the Midwest. Two of Scott's sons, John and Charles, joined him in his law firm of Scott, Scott, Scott, and Jackson. Together they helped to prosecute, at the local level, the landmark civil rights case of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education.

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William Alfred Peffer

Leonard, J. H.

William Alfred Peffer was the first Populist senator elected to U.S. Congress. He was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 1831. As a young man he traveled across the country, living in California, Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois. After the outbreak of Civil War, Peffer enlisted in the 83rd Illinois Infantry, entering as a private and working his way up to the rank of second lieutenant. He read law while still in the military, and after his discharge in 1865 he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Clarksville, Tennessee. Five years later he moved to Fredonia, Kansas, where he established another practice and edited the Fredonia Journal. Peffer served as a state senator from 1874 to 1876, and during his tenure he relocated to Coffeyville, Kansas, where he assumed editorial control of the Coffeyville Journal. Then, in 1881, he launched the Populist publication Kansas Farmer, one of his best-known contributions to this agrarian reform movement. Peffer was instrumental in the creation of the People?s (Populist) Party, serving as a Populist U.S. Senator from 1891 to 1897 and running again (unsuccessfully) for re-election in 1896. Two years later, he ran an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Kansas, losing the election to Republican William Stanley. Peffer died in 1912 in Grenola, Kansas, at the age of 81.

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