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If you think that the political situation in Washington D.C. is a mess today, then you should look into the political situation in Kansas during its territorial period. Especially when it comes to the office of Territorial Governor who was appointed by the President of the United States. For example, the first Territorial Governor of the state, Andrew H. Reader, was sworn into the office on 7 July 1854 in Washington D.C., but didn't arrive in Kansas until October 7th of that year to take up his duties.

Not counting the various acting Governors of Kansas Territory, there were six territorial governors of Kansas appointed by the President of the United States.  Each of these men faced a daunting task of governing the territory and preparing it for statehood. This may sound easy, but Kansas territory became ground zero for the main issue of the day, should States be allowed to determine for themselves if they would enter the Union as either a Free State or as a Slave State.  

image courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society

1. Reeder, Andrew H. (July 12, 1807 - July 5, 1864)

Commissioned June 29, 1854, took the oath of office 7 July, arrived in Kansas Territory on October 7, served to April 17, 1855.

Party Affiliation: Democrat, became a Republican after he left Kansas Territory.

Time in Office: July 7, 1854, to August 16, 1855.


image courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society

2. Shannon, Wilson (February 24, 1802 - August 30, 1877)

Commissioned August 10, 1855, sworn in September 7; served until June 24, 1856

Party Affiliation: Democrat.

Time in Office: September 7, 1855, to June 24, 1856: July 7 - August 18, 1856 (sworn in the 2nd time June 13, 1856)


image courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society

3. Geary, John White (December 30, 1819 - February 8, 1873)

September 9, 1856 - March 12, 1857; resigned March 4 to take effect March 20.

Party Affiliation: Democrat from Pennsylvania.

Time in Office: September 9, 1856, to March 12, 1857 ( On July 31, 1856, Geary was appointed governor of Kansas Territory. He resigned March 12, 1857, leaving at night to escape assassination by members of his political party.)


image courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society

4. Walker, Robert (July 23, 1801 - November 11, 1869)

Sworn in May 9, 1857; served May 27 - November 16, 1857

Time in Office: May 27, 1857, to December 15, 1857 (President James Buchanan appointed Walker governor of Kansas Territory on March 26, 1857. Walker arrived May 27, 1857, in Lecompton to deliver his inaugural address. He urged free staters to take part in the election of delegates to the Lecompton Constitutional Convention, with the assurance that it would be conducted fairly. With all proslavery delegates elected in Lecompton, free-state supporters vowed to hold their own convention in Topeka. Walker continued to encourage free staters to participate in the election process even though his push for justice angered the proslavery supporters. He was finally forced to resign his position as territorial governor on December 15, 1857.)


image courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society

5. Denver, James W. (October 23, 1817 - August 9, 1892)

December 21, 1857 - May 12, 1858 (acting); appointed and served May 12 - July 3, 1858

Party Affiliation: Democrat.

Time in Office:  December 1857, to November 1858. (He was U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs in December 1857 when President James Buchanan appointed him secretary of Kansas Territory. He immediately took over as acting governor and took the oath of office as territorial governor on May 12, 1858.) ( During his administration, the present capital of Colorado (then Kansas Territory) was founded and named “Denver” for the chief executive of the territory. Denver resigned October 10, 1858.)


image courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society

6. Medary, Samuel (February 25, 1801 - November 7, 1864)

Took the oath December 1, 1858; commission dated December 22; served December 18, 1858 - August 1, 1859

Party Affiliation: Democrat from Ohio.

Time in Office: December 20, 1858, to December 10, 1860 ( In December 1858 he was appointed governor Kansas Territory. He resigned that position in December 1860 and returned to Columbus and to establish the Crisis, which he continued to publish until his death.)