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John Pierce St. John Papers, 1859-1917

John P St JohnManuscript Collection no. 494

St. John's Exoduster and Prohibition correspondence is available on Kansas Memory.



Kansas governor, Prohibition Party presidential candidate, Prohibition lecturer; of Olathe, Kans.

John Pierce St. John (1833-1916) was a well-known Kansan during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He was born in Indiana in 1833, and later moved to Illinois with his parents. After living a short time in Missouri, he moved to Kansas with his wife and children in 1869, working as an attorney in Olathe. He represented the Ninth District in the Kansas State Senate from 1872 to 1874. After declining the Prohibition Party’s nomination for governor of Kansas in 1876, he accepted the Republican Party’s nomination in 1878. He served two terms as governor of Kansas from 1879 to 1883. St. John then reluctantly accepted the Prohibition Party’s nomination for president of the United States in the 1884 election. St. John garnered more votes than any previous Prohibition Party candidate and won the State of New York, yet did not win the election. Following his failed presidential bid, St. John threw himself into his Prohibition and other reform activities, speaking at 4,500 engagements, and traveling over 350,000 miles. He passed away in 1916.

Personal and political correspondence and scrapbooks and a great deal of biographical material on John P. St. John and his family. The collection contains considerable material on Prohibition and activities of reform groups during the Progressive Era. Correspondents include Susan B. Anthony; U.S. President Chester A. Arthur; Kansas U.S. Senator S. C. Pomeroy; Reverend Levi Sternberg, patriarch of the famous fossil hunters of Kansas; and Francis E. Willard of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

However, this collection is better suited to the social historian looking for information on activities of reform groups during the Progressive Era.




2 ft. (4 boxes)


St. John, John Pierce, 1833-1916.


John Pierce St. John papers


Manuscript collection no. 494


Text is in English


This finding aid describes materials held by the Kansas State Historical Society. Materials may be used in the Research Room in the society’s Center for Historical Research during regular research hours. Support for telephone, mail, and online reference and research is limited.

In a continuing effort to improve the completeness and accuracy of finding aids, revisions are made as more or new information becomes available. Consequently finding aids in paper format and on the society’s web site may differ slightly.


Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka)


John Pierce St. John was born at Brookfield, Franklin County, Indiana, on February 25, 1833. He was the second son of Samuel St. John and Sophiah Snell. His education consisted primarily of attendance to local public schools, and whatever other means he had at his disposal.

Both Samuel and Sophiah were born in New York State, and moved along with a large group of community members to Franklin County, Indiana. It was during their time in Indiana that both married for the first time. These marriages dissolved for unknown reasons, either death or divorce.

Samuel was born to Reverend Daniel St. John and Mary Oakley on February 10, 1802. His first marriage was to Martha Marcy. Samuel St. John was a farmer, with natural ability, and some attainments. However, at some point Samuel developed a drinking problem, which would later inspire John Pierce St. John in his Temperance campaigns. One might infer there were other issues as well, since St. John was a prominent advocate of women’s rights, primarily suffrage.

Sophiah Snell was the daughter of Captain Michael Snell, who fought in the War of 1812. She was born April 21, 1797. Her first marriage, in 1817, was to Matthew McClain. This marriage resulted in the birth of at least one child, Ida McClain in 1819. John deeply loved and cared for his mother, whom he credited with inspiring his love for education.

Samuel St. John and Sophiah Snell married on February 19, 1824. Their oldest son, Matthew “Mack” St. John was born on December 25, 1826. John Pierce St. John was their second child. The youngest, Judith Emily or “Emmer,” was born October 24, 1835.

In 1848, John moved 150 miles with his parents, sister Judith Emily, and brother Matthew to Olney, Richland County, Illinois. Hardship forced John to quit school at first to help with the farming. Eventually, he took a job as a store clerk for six dollars per month. Their mother, Sophiah, died in June of 1851.

John P. St. John married Mary Jane Brewster March 28, 1852 in Olney, Illinois. Their son, Henry Clay St. John was born February 11, 1852.

Sometime in 1852, he took a job driving an oxen team, and he crossed the plains to California, where he worked as a miner and lumberjack as well as a clerk. He also made extra money by selling deer he killed to the local miners. During 1853 and 1854, he also fought in the Modoc Indian Wars in northern California and southern Oregon. It was through his participation in this conflict that John experienced battle for the first time. He also suffered battle wounds on two separate occasions during the conflict, and carried a flint arrowhead tip in his leg for the rest of his life.

During these harsh experiences, he rediscovered his passion for law, saved enough money to buy a set of law books from a Sacramento attorney, and studied at night. He also visited the Hawaiian (Sandwich) Islands, parts of South America, as well as Mexico and Central America. Once young St. John explored all these areas, he was ready to return home and study law full time.

In 1859, he returned to Illinois. Sometime immediately following his return to Illinois, he and Mary Jane Brewster divorced. At this time, he completed his law studies at Charleston under the tutelage of the law offices of Starkweather and McLain. He gained admittance to the Illinois Bar in 1860. It was in Charleston that he met and married Susan Jane Parker on March 28, 1860. Susan was the daughter of Nathaniel “Old Uncle Max” and Elizabeth “Betsy” Parker. William St. John, born in 1861 and the couple’s first child, died during infancy. John and Susan celebrated the birth of their next son John St. John, Jr. on February 9, 1862.

Shortly after the birth of his son, John Pierce St. John enlisted for military service on June 23, 1862 as a captain. He served with the Illinois 68th Infantry Regiment, Company C, from Camp Butler, Illinois. The organization of this regiment resulted in response to a call for men willing to serve three months as state militia. However, a petition circulated among the men and officers requesting a change from militia to volunteer status and that the regiment be sent to serve in the field. The regiment received their marching orders July fifth, and left Camp Butler by rail. They traveled to Wheeling, West Virginia, and then went on to Washington, D.C., where they served the remainder of their enlistment in the Alexandria, Virginia, area. John P. St. John had the honor of assisting Virginia’s military governor, Brigadier General John P. Slough, as his aide-de-camp and assistant adjutant general during the company’s time in Virginia. Company C mustered out on September 26, 1862.

St. John then worked to organize the Illinois 143rd Infantry Regiment, Company S, where he re-enlisted on the eleventh of June 1864 as a lieutenant colonel. The regiment moved to Memphis, Tennessee, on June sixteenh. On June nineteenth, the regiment was assigned to the 3rd Brigade. They then received orders to report to Helena, Arkansas, to see Brigadier General Buford, where he assigned the group to garrison duty. The regiment began their return trip to Mattoon on September tenth. Company S mustered out on September 26, 1864, in Mattoon, Illinois.

John and Susan welcomed their second child, a daughter they named Lula, on February 8, 1865. In April of the same year, the family moved from Charleston, Illinois, to Independence, Missouri, where John practiced law for four years in partnership with Susan’s brother Martin V. E. Parker. However, John’s ardent Republicanism and defeatist sentiment in this Southern-leaning part of Missouri did not mix. In the Presidential election of 1868, General Ulysses S. Grant won the Presidency. Amid threats to their persons and business, the family moved to Olathe, Kansas, in April 1869.

St. John practiced law in Olathe. He also worked as an investor, speculating in mines and other economic ventures. Business and law partners of St. John’s included his brother in-law Martin Parker and I. O. Pickering, among others. For several years, St. John operated his law firm independently and practiced on his own.

He entered the political arena when he championed a movement in 1872 to displace U.S. Senator Samuel E. Pomeroy, a former friend, in favor of his opponent John J. Ingalls. In 1872, citizens of the Ninth District elected St. John to the State Senate, where he represented them from 1873 to 1874. In 1876, the Prohibition Party solicited him to run for governor on their ticket. However, St. John refused the nomination. In 1878 and 1880, he won the gubernatorial election, and represented the Republican Party as governor of the State of Kansas.

In his inaugural speech of 1878, St. John raised the issue of Prohibition, stating that the money spent on alcohol in Kansas would pay for the operation of that State’s government for a year. Viewing alcohol as a social and economic pariah, St. John advocated its elimination as a source of evil from the state, and eventually the country as a whole. St. John advocated social rights be offered to all people, regardless of their gender, race, or economic status.

Governor St. John faced several high profile crises while in office. Federal troops left the South after the end of the Reconstruction period, and racial discrimination resumed. From 1878 to 1879 the “Great Exodus” of African Americans, mainly former slaves, arrived from the Southern states in search of a better life. The term “Exodusters” came to represent the freedmen who believed Kansas was their “promised land.” Advertisements spread by Benjamin “Pap” Singleton and others telling of the opportunities to own land in Kansas prompted their migration. The 1862 Homestead Act provided 160 acres of land to anyone who paid the filing fee and lived there for five years. The Desert Land Act of 1877 also provided for the

Many people arrived by boat - having traveled up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri, and then by steamboat on the Missouri River across the state of Missouri - to arrive in the city of Wyandotte. This city was located at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, and is now part of present day Kansas City, Kansas. This was a trip of almost one thousand miles for those traveling from Louisiana. Today that trip would take fourteen hours to drive, however, in 1879 the trip took at least six days if done non - stop. For most “Exodusters,” due to lack of money and the slow speed of their vessels, the trip took somewhere around twenty days to complete.

Several thousand refugees arrived in Wyandotte in one month; fifteen thousand arrived in 1879 alone. The number of refugees became so large and so disproportionate to the number of permanent residents, that Wyandotte’s residents begged for assistance in sheltering, clothing, and feeding the poor and homeless, who often spent everything they had just to get to Wyandotte. Wyandotte’s residents donated food, clothing, and shelter for the refugees, but their resources were limited, and quickly stretched beyond their limits. At one point the situation was so desperate, that steamboats were banned from landing in Wyandotte, on the Kansas side of the Missouri River, and forced to land in Kansas City, on the Missouri side. Other cities in the region - such as Leavenworth and Atchison, Kansas - found themselves inundated as well. Militant citizens even made threats against the boat captains who continued to provide passage for refugees. The federal government denied assistance, and the State of Kansas found itself responsible for thousands of homeless and impoverished people.

To assist the Exodusters and the citizens of Wyandotte, Governor St. John established the Freedman’s State Central Association, which he headed. St. John knew the refugees were trustworthy and could not help being poor and homeless. The African American refugees were sent to neighboring towns and communities until, finally, Governor St. John advocated bringing them all to Topeka by train and establishing a camp to help them. Many of the refugees were sick with diseases such as measles; pneumonia; pleurisy, an inflammation of the lungs; and the bloody flux, intestinal bleeding, a form of dysentery.

On top of the large influx of new citizens, St. John was also dealing with disturbances in the southern part of the State. “Indian” raiders were attacking settlers along the southern border with Indian Territory, now present-day Oklahoma. St. John received messages from many citizens concerned about the situation. St. John sent a mounted guard to protect this part of the State from the unwanted visitors.

St. John, besides averting disaster with his forethought and cool head in many chaotic situations, also strove to improve the State’s infrastructure. He opened coal mines at the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing to help make the facility more self-sufficient. St. John also oversaw the addition of the west wing to the Statehouse in Topeka, as well as rebuilding the State Normal School in Emporia, now Emporia State University, following a disastrous fire.

During the summer of 1879, United States President Rutherford B. Hayes visited the state, and Governor St. John took him to the Woodson County Fair. In June of 1880, Governor St. John hosted United States President Ulysses S. Grant during his visit to Kansas. However, these famous and influential visitors were not the only ways that Governor St. John brought notoriety to the State of Kansas.

In 1880, with the support of the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) Governor St. John proposed an amendment to the State constitution that would prohibit the “manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors” in the State. A majority of Kansas’ voters approved the amendment, and the Legislature and House ratified the Prohibition amendment in November 1880. This legislation, while not adequately enforced, paved the way for other states to prohibit alcohol, and eventually in 1919, with the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibition of alcohol was nationwide. Kansas would remain “dry” if only in law until 1948 when laws regarding alcohol became a local option once again.

He was defeated for a third term as Governor in 1882 by George W. Glick. This defeat was due mostly to the population’s distaste for third terms. However, this unintended slight coupled with a broader party-wide reluctance to advocate a nation-wide ban on saloons and alcohol. This situation came to a head following a disrespectful reception for Frances E. Willard at the Republican National Convention, and St. John’s affiliation with the Republican Party ended.

St. John was a Republican until 1884. He then officially joined the Prohibitionist Party and was reluctantly the Prohibitionist candidate for President of the United States in that year. While already a national figure among temperance advocates, St. John began to gain notoriety as a prohibitionist and national political figure due to the 1884 presidential election. Vocal members of the public widely criticized St. John during and after the election.

Mobs burned him in effigy, he received death threats, was openly mocked in the press, and his earlier marriage and divorce was publicized in a less than flattering manner. Republicans felt he was a traitor to his former party. St. John anticipated this reception by some Republicans, and took some persuading to accept the nomination. The election was close, decided by only 26,000 votes.

Following his failed Presidential bid, St. John engaged in numerous temperance activities. On December 3, 1887, St. John and a group of followers bought 10,000 acres of land in Newhall, California, to establish a “dry” community. Land sales for this project were minor, probably due to the terms of the contract, which stipulated that purchasers forfeited their land if authorities caught anyone imbibing alcohol there, even trespassers.

During this period of his life, St. John traveled some 350,000 miles and made over 4,500 speeches on behalf of Prohibition, women’s suffrage, “free silver,” and direct election of U.S. senators by citizens. St. John spoke in large halls and small communities. He was hailed everywhere as the “father of Prohibition” in the United States.

Henry Clay St. John, John’s eldest son from his first marriage with Mary Jane Brewster, died in 1889. John’s daughter, Lula, married Henry L. Page of Fort Scott, Kansas, sometime between 1880 and 1900 and died on April 8, 1903, possibly due to complications associated with childbirth. From 1880 to 1916 John Pierce St. John, Jr., moved around the country, living in Missouri, Texas, Washington, and eventually returning to Kansas. J. P. St. John, Jr., married Rose J. Enloe of Missouri after 1900. Their first child, a daughter they named Lula, in memory of John Jr.’s sister, was born in 1905. Their second child, Ruth E. was born in 1907, while they were living in Texas. In 1916 John Pierce St. John, Jr., was working for the State penitentiary, in Lansing, Kansas.

At some point during his Prohibition campaigns John Sr. began suffering from Bright’s Disease. Now known to be one of many forms of kidney failure, St. John experienced bouts of extreme fatigue, back pain, and water retention. These symptoms alternated with periods of miraculous recovery.

Following a June 26, 1916 speech on Prohibition in Jetmore, Kansas, St. John suffered from heatstroke and exhaustion. He spent several weeks recovering and then traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota, on July 30th to attend the National Prohibition Party Convention. The stress of the trip reversed his recovery, and he was bedridden thereafter. He died at his home in Olathe on August 31, 1916. His wife, Susan Jane Parker St. John, and his son John Pierce St. John, Jr., survived him. Former Kansas Governor George H. Hodges; the then current Governor of Kansas Arthur M. Capper; as well as H. O. Farfa of Chicago, the representative for the National Prohibition Party, eulogized John Pierce St. John, Sr.

Scope and Content

There are four letterpress books contained in the collection. Susan B. Anthony, the noted women’s rights advocate; members of the Parker and St. John Families; I. O. Pickering, a Civil War veteran and Kansas lawyer and politician; and Francis E. Willard, the temperance and suffrage activist, were among the recipients of John Pierce St. John’s letters. These letters are primarily personal in nature, but deal with a wide variety of subjects, including temperance, conflicts with Native Americans in southern Kansas, and women’s rights. The letters are sometimes difficult to read, as the handwriting is variable depending on the secretary writing it as well as fading of ink and water damage. However some of the letters are typewritten. These letters are an excellent resource for those interested in social, cultural, economic, and political history. Most of the books have name indexes at the front, however the completeness of these indexes are questionable. Entries are not by recipient, but sometimes there are individual notations for each letter; at other times recipients’ names and letter abstracts are listed together.

Other items in the collection include copies of speeches, a collection of quotations, and some correspondence that is not bound. There are sixteen scrapbooks in the collection, making up the bulk of the materials. These scrapbooks were apparently compiled during St. John’s illness, as most appear to be a collection of letters and clippings that he pasted in to books with no real sense of order that is immediately apparent. However, a few scrapbooks are in chronological order. Occasionally related items are together. It appears that St. John read an article about something in the past, and he then tried to find any primary information he had about that event. However, this is not always true, and browsing the scrapbooks will lead the researcher to interesting discoveries.

This collection is well suited for the social historian looking for information on activities of reform groups during the Progressive Era.

St. John's official gubernatorial records are in the state archives holdings of the Kansas Historical Society, record group 252. An on-line finding aid is available.

Contents List

Series Descriptions

Series 1. LETTER PRESS BOOKS, 1879 - 1899. 0.4 ft. (4 v.) (Box 1)

These letters cover a wide range of subjects, dealing primarily with John Pierce St. John’s personal business, family, and political ties. St. John corresponded with a number of prominent and influential persons throughout his political career. While only a number of the letters he received from these persons are still existing, the tone and subject of his correspondence in response to their letters gives the reader an idea of the subject and relationship between the individuals. Correspondents include Susan B. Anthony; U.S. President Chester A. Arthur; Kansas U.S. Senator S. C. Pomeroy; Reverend Levi Sternberg, patriarch of the famous fossil hunters of Kansas; and Francis E. Willard of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

Volumes arranged chronologically.

Series 2. QUOTATIONS AND UNBOUND MSS., 1885 - 1917. 0.2 ft. (1 v. + 1 folder) (Box 2)

This series consists of a bound volume of quotations and a folder of unbound manuscripts. Most of the unbound materials relate to memorials and honors being arranged for St. John following his death in 1916. There is some early correspondence in this folder, as well as a biography and obituary.

Series 3. SCRAPBOOKS, 1859 - 1916. 1 ft. (16 v.) (Boxes 2 - 4)

Contains various newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and fliers related to the interests of the St. John family. Most of the articles relate to crime, temperance, family life, religion, politics, military conflict, and the St. John & Parker families. Most of the articles are not marked as to their source or date. The information contained in these books will give the researcher an excellent idea as to the topics that attracted the St. Johns. The information relating to the St. John and Parker families is varying in nature, covering their acclaims as well as their criticisms. There are some letters pasted in the books, some with famous or influential persons.

Some volumes with identifiable dates arranged chronologically.

Box List

Box 1

Vol. 1

Letters Written by John Pierce St. John to Listed Recipients

Jan. 13, 1879 - Jan. 15, 1880

Susan B. Anthony (women’s rights advocate), members of the Parker and St. John Families, I. O. Pickering (Civil War veteran and Kansas lawyer & politician), and Francis Willard (temperance and suffrage activist) are among the recipients of these letters. These letters are primarily personal in nature, but deal with a wide variety of subjects from temperance, to conflicts with Native Americans in southern Kansas, to women’s rights. These letters are sometimes difficult to read, as the handwriting is variant depending on the secretary writing it, as well as fading of ink and water damage. There are 523 numbered pages, not including those added out of sequence. These letters are an excellent resource for those interested in social, cultural, economic, and political history. Book has an index at the front, however the completeness of this index is questionable. Index entries are not by recipient, but instead sometimes entries exist for each letter or recipients are listed together.

Vol. 2

Letters Written by John Pierce St. John to Listed Recipients

July 29, 1881 - Feb. 17, 1882

Chester A. Arthur (U.S. president), Albinus Nance (governor of Nebraska), Dudley C. Haskell (namesake for Haskell Institute, now Haskell Indian Nations University), S. C. Pomeroy (United States senator from Kansas; 2nd president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad), and Governor Lionel A. Sheldon of New Mexico are among these letters’ recipients. These letters are mostly typewritten and are therefore considerably more legible than those in v. 1. There are 500 numbered pages, not including those added out of sequence. While they lack the flair and individuality of the handwritten letters, their historical value is in no way diminished by this fact. Governor St. John signed all of these letters in ink as well as the handwritten letters. These letters are dealing again with some personal and some state matters, mostly temperance. This book also has an index at the front with questionable accuracy. These letters are indexed by first letter of the last name, and then split by the second letter at A, E, I, O, and U.

Vol. 3

Letters Written by John Pierce St. John to Listed Recipients

July 5 - Sept. 19, 1882

Sidney Clarke (U.S. congressman from Kansas, member of Kansas House of Representatives, resident of Lawrence), D. E. Cornell (representative of the Kansas Division of the Union Pacific Railroad), J. R. Detwiler (owner of the Chanute Chronicle), Major Henry Hopkins (captain in the 3rd Kansas Battery & major in the 2nd Kansas Calvary during the Civil War and longtime Kansas public servant), Reverend Levi Sternberg (father of famed paleontologist Charles H. Sternberg and grandfather to George F., Charles M., & Levi Sternberg, all prominent paleontologists), as well as C. C. Wheeler (general manager of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad). These letters are mostly typewritten. There are 454 numbered pages, not including those added out of sequence. The subjects of these letters vary, but seem to deal with the railroad a majority of the time. Most of the letters are either requests for passes, or responses to those asking for or objecting to the issuance of free passes. St. John dealt with a number of accusations about his relationship with the railroad companies during this period.

Vol. 4

Letters Written by John Pierce St. John to Listed Recipients

Mar. 1 - Sept. 3, 1899

There are various recipients for these letters. Most of this correspondence is entirely hand written and at times difficult to read. Unlike the earlier books, which St. John compiled during his two terms as governor of Kansas, there is no index to the recipients. This volume contains at least 500 numbered pages not including those added out of sequence, all falling within the aforementioned timeframe. Most of the letters deal with St. John’s activities as a temperance speaker, his associated travels, and related issues.

Box 2

Folder 1

Collected Quotations (Red bound volume)

Dated August 16, 1885

Contains a compilation of quotations collected by John Pierce St. John beginning in 1885. The quotations cover a variety of subjects, but tend to focus on the condition of the world or society and how it might improve through religion, education, and the perseverance of the better side of humanity.

Folder 2

Unbound Papers

1890 - 1917

Biography - Unknown Author. September 20, 1898.

Correspondence - Scott, George R., New York Witness. December 26, 1890

Correspondence - Fayette County, Illinois; County Court Clerk. Request for St. John to speak at Decoration Day. Signed by Jos. F. Jamis, Chas. F. Johnson, J.F. Maddox, Fred Reinaun [?], Robb W. Ross, Geo. B. Muck. May 29, 1891.

Resolutions - 10th Judicial Court, Johnson County. Resolution to honor John P. St. John. September 6, 1916

Correspondence - Pickering, I. O. Letter to Mrs. St. John in California after John’s death, regarding a verse written about John by Hon. Nelson Case of Oswego, Kans. February 12, 1917.

Correspondence - Hudson, Mrs. L.E. Letter to Mrs. St. John regarding St. John memorial to be built in Olathe, memorial service, etc. March 20, 1917.

Correspondence - Hodges, Frank. Letter to Mrs. St. John regarding Mr. Gilliland’s hesitation to part with money for St. John Memorial, and Topeka’s desire to claim all good things for itself. April 20, 1917.

Speeches - Theodore Roosevelt. Unknown Date.

Eulogy/ Obituary - Unknown Author. September 1916.

Scrapbook 1 (Blue bound volume: “Scrap Book”)

1877 - 1916

Contains various newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and fliers related to the interests of the St. John family beginning in December 1877 and lasting until John Pierce St. John’s death. Most of the articles relate to crime, temperance, family life, religion, politics, military conflict, and the St. John & Parker families. Most of the articles are not marked as to their source or date. The information contained therein will give the researcher an excellent idea as to the threads which attracted the St. Johns. The information relating to the St. John and Parker families is varying in nature, covering their acclaims as well as their criticisms.

Scrapbook 2 (Red bound volume: “Post Cards”)

1886 - 1916

Contains various newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and fliers related to John P. St. John in the political arena. Most of these materials relate to St. John’s political policies dealing with temperance, and the Exodus movement. Includes letter dated Sept. 13, 1891, from Frances Willard, president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. There are also pamphlets and information related to Luther Burbank (famed horticulturalist) and the Luther Burbank Society. These clippings also seem to reveal Mr. & Mrs. St. John’s burgeoning interest in spirituality and their experiences with psychics. In addition, there is a letter from Mr. & Mrs. J. G. Briggs relating to the death of Lulu St. John Page (daughter) dated 1904.

These materials do not appear to be in chronological order. However, very few of the articles are actually dated, and the dated letters and other materials are inserted in a manner that makes determining date difficult without more research. Some of the sections of clippings are also upside down, as if the book was turned the wrong way while they were pasted in.

Box 3

Scrapbook 3 (Red bound volume: “Post Cards”)

1884 - 1915

This book appears to be composed primarily of telegrams St. John received from various senders. One, July 1884, related to his presidential nomination by the Prohibition Party. Draft of telegram dated July 22, 1884, by St. John declining nomination, indicating that Republicans would say he left the party to get this nomination. Several more telegrams of same date indicating that the candidacy will hinder his efforts, and he wants someone else in the limelight. By July 25th telegram, St. John agrees to “do his duty.”

Scrapbook 4 (Brown tortoise shell cover: “Scrapbook”)

1881 - 1909

Includes: Clippings relating to the Free Silver movement, Prohibition, general politics, Exodusters, the 1909 Payne - Aldrich Tariff Act, etc. One letter is from Lieutenant General Nelson A. Miles, dated March 27, 1902. There is also a card from Frances Willard in this scrapbook as well. Again, these clippings appear to be in no recognizable order and are mostly undated.

Scrapbook 5 (Red alligator print cover: “Post Cards”)

1884 - 1914

Includes: Letter from Arthur Capper Dated Dec. 18, 1913, regarding editorial in Topeka Daily Capital written by Capper about Pancho Villa’s activities in Mexico. Letter from United States Senator Samuel C. Pomeroy dated Jan. 21, 1884. Letter from William Allen White at the Emporia Gazette dated Apr. 13, 1914.

Scrapbook 6 (Red print cover: “Post Cards”)

1913 - 1916

Includes letter from William Jennings Bryan dated July 5, 1915.

Scrapbook 7 (Red print cover: “Post Cards”)

1888 - 1915

Includes: Letter from William Jennings Bryan dated July 17, 1901. Letter marked “Confidential” from U.S. House of Representatives member James Baird Weaver of Iowa dated May 27, 1888. Letter from George A. Hodges, governor of Kansas, dated Mar. 21, 1913.

Scrapbook 8 (Red print cover: “Post Cards”)

1908 - 1916

Includes: Letter from Margaret V. Greever (wife of Kansas State Senator G. W. Greever from Wyandotte County) thanking him for his depiction of events surrounding Greever’s vote for the Kansas Prohibition Amendment in a contemporary newspaper article, dated Oct. 28, 1915. Kansas State Historical Society Certificate of Membership #222 dated June 30, 1916, issued to John Pierce St. John by John N. Harrison and William Elsey Connelley. Letter from William Jennings Bryan dated Sept. 22, 1915, regarding the 18th Amendment (Prohibition). Telegram to Charles W. Bryan (younger brother of William Jennings Bryan, governor of Nebraska as of date of letter, and mayor of Lincoln) dated Sept. 30, 1915. Information related to the changing of St. John County to Logan County in 1887, sent to St. John in 1915.

Scrapbook 9 (Brown matte cover with rural scene)


Includes: Letter from former U.S. President William Howard Taft pledging $8,000 to temperance cause, dated Apr. 18, 1912. Articles from 1912 concerning St. John’s illness and recovery. A great proportion of the articles in this scrapbook deal with Theodore Roosevelt, his policies, and political dealings. Telegram and correspondence from the 1912 national Prohibition Party Convention. Article detailing how St. John was victim of con artist.

Scrapbook 10 (Red print cover: “Post Cards”)

1859 - 1915

Includes: Original 1859 copy of John Pierce St. John’s Letter of Recommendation and Notice for Examination for License to Practice Law. St. John’s official appointment by Arthur Capper as delegate to the 1915 convention of the Anti-Saloon League. Most of these materials relate to the years 1912 - 1915.

Box 4

Scrapbook 11 (Gray alligator print cover: “Scrap Book”)


Includes: Mostly political cartoons and editorials related to the presidency and policies of Theodore Roosevelt. Article at back regarding the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic.

Scrapbook 12 (Gray alligator print cover: “Post Cards”)

1862 - 1912

Includes: 1912 biographical sketch of John Pierce St.John by Kansas City Star. Article regarding his older brother M. M. St. John falling on ice and fracturing shoulder. Letter addressed to Kansas Governor John Whitnah Leedy dated Apr. 25, 1898. Letter of recommendation for St. John after acting as aide-de-camp and acting assistant adjutant general by Brigadier General John P. Slough dated Sept. 16, 1862. A letter addressed to Capt. St. John as chief of staff for the military governor (John P. Slough) accompanying the August 1862 monthly report of the 68th Illinois Volunteers signed by H. L. Taylor, dated Sept. 10, 1862. Letter from John J. Ingalls regarding St. John’s perspective on senatorial aspirations of George T. Anthony, requesting St. John let people know he supports Ingalls, dated Nov. 10, 1878. Letter from Anthony requesting St. John visit Leavenworth County, Kans., to assist in campaign there, dated Oct. 18, 1876. Letter to Mrs. St. John from Frances E. Willard requesting a photograph of her to place next to that of her husband, dated May 23, 1887. Obituary for Reverend Charles H. M. St. John, Ph.B, M.D., with whom John P. St. John corresponded while governor of Kansas, dated after 1901. Demit of membership to the A.F.&A.M. (Masonic) Lodge in Independence, Mo., dated June 15, 1869.

Scrapbook 13 (Multicolor ladyfinger pattern cover)

1880 - 1891

Includes: Correspondence and clippings related to: Prohibition in Vineland, N.J.; Prohibition in Maine; Prohibition in Kansas; letter dated Mar. 21, 1917, whereby Mrs. St. John inquires about A. A. Hopkins writing her husband’s biography through a mutual friend. Most materials dating from 1880 to 1891.

Scrapbook 14 (Black cover: “Scrap Book”)

1880 - 1911

Prohibition and campaign related correspondence and clippings.

Scrapbook 15 (Purple or blue cloth cover)


Clippings, correspondence, and a few photographs related to St. John’s Prohibition activities and subsequent travels.

Scrapbook 16 (Black and red cover: “Scrap Book”)

1879 - 1915

Includes: Letter dated January 1879 whereby the citizens of Olathe gave John P. St. John a cane. Telegram from Charles W. Bryan dated Sept. 30, 1915. Certificate of honorary appointment by the governor dated November 1911 granting John P. St. John status as delegate to the National Conference on Interstate Liquor Traffic. Most materials dealing with Prohibition.

Related Records and Collections

 Related Papers

Arthur Capper collection, no. 12

George W. Glick misc. collection

George H. Hodges collection, no. 58

Carry Amelia Nation collection, no. 744

Temperance history collection, no. 645

 Other Finding Aid

Copies of this finding aid are available in the Kansas State Historical Society’s Library and on its web site, http://www.kshs.org.

 Indexes to the Papers

Each letterpress book (ser. 1) contains a name index to recipients of letters.

Index Terms


Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906.*

Arthur, Chester Alan, 1829-1886.*

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

St. John, John Pierce, 1833-1916.

St. John, John Pierce, 1833-1916-Family.

Sternberg, Levi, 1814-1896.*

Willard, Frances E. (Frances Elizabeth), 1839-1898.*

* Co-creators and subjects

Family Names

Saint John family.

Geographic Names


Kansas-Politics and government-1865-1950.

Olathe (Kan.)

United States.

United States-Politics and government-1881-1885.


Progressivism (United States politics)


Prohibition-United States.

Social problems-United States.

Document Types




Lecturers-United States.

Presidential candidates-United States.

Additional Information for Researchers

 Restrictions on Access


 Restrictions on Use

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The user is cautioned that the publication of the contents of this collection may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the copyright law of 1976 as amended, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right; the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of a user or his or her publisher to secure the permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing.

It is presumed that these documents entered the public domain on 1 January 2003 in conformance with applicable provisions of copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Custodial History

Scrapbooks, letter press v. 4: Previously owned by John P. St. John’s niece, Effie Parker.

Preferred Citation

St. John, John Pierce. Papers, 1879 - 1917, ms. collection 494, Kansas Historical Society.

Acquisition Information

Letter press v. 1-3: Gift, Emil Hurja, 1938.

Remainder of collection: Gift, Effie Parker, 1938.

Processing Information

Described by Samantha L. Harper, Lela Barnes intern, 2006.


No additional donations of papers are anticipated.