Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866

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James Henry Lane (1814-1866) was a noted military and political leader of Kansas. He was active in his home state of Indiana, serving as a military commander in the Mexican War (1841) and later as Indiana's Lieutenant Governor from 1849-1853. Lane then entered national politics as a Democratic Congressman from Indiana, and served one term (1853-1855). The Free State Movement lured Lane to the Kansas Territory in April of 1855. He became an active leader in the Topeka Movement. In June of 1858, Lane's political career was suspended with his land dispute with Gaius Jenkins, whom Lane killed. Lane temporarily retired from politics. In 1861, the people of Kansas elected Lane as their first U.S. Senator. Upon arriving in Washington, he found the city in great fear of the advancing Southern forces. Lane quickly organized a Kansas "Frontier Guard" which bivouacked temporarily in the White House and won the respect of President Lincoln. Over the years, Lane maintained a close friendship with the President and became one of his most respected confidants. In 1863, Lane recruited, under the President's command, a regiment of black soldiers to guard the Kansas borders. Senator Lane died on July 11, 1866, from self-inflicted wounds received ten days earlier.

From the guide to the Papers, 1841-1923, (University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection)

James Henry ¿The Grim Chieftain¿ Lane, who finished out his Kansas political career as a U. S. senator, was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on June 22, 1814. After studying law in his father''s office, Lane was admitted to the bar in 1840, practiced law, and served with the Indiana Volunteers during the Mexican War. Like his father, Amos Lane, Jim Lane served in the Indiana legislature, and as a Democrat he also served as lieutenant-governor of Indiana and as a member of Congress, during which time he caste a vote for the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. He moved to Lawrence, Kansas Territory, in 1855, where he gained the notoriety that assured him a prominent place in the history of the state and nation. Assessing the situation in Kansas, Jim Lane quickly cast his lot with the free-state forces, despite his Democratic background, and soon became, with Charles Robinson, one of the Free State Party''s most significant if controversial leaders. Lane organized the defense of Lawrence during the so-called ¿Wakarusa War¿ in December 1855; ¿this crisis,¿ according to a twentieth-century biographer, ¿was a turning point in Lane''s career. He was essentially a conservative until the hysteria of exciting events produced the proper background for radical leadership.¿ Lane was the quintessential opportunist, and, wrote another, ¿He had no equal as a ''stump orator'' in Kansas. His thrilling appeals in behalf of freedom, his withering sarcasm, his bitter denunciation of the slavery propaganda, his bold defiance of the slave power, his magnetic influence in organizing forces, were among the greatest influences in driving back the tide of slavery. . . . His name became a terror to pro-slavery men throughout the pioneer settlements of Kansas, as well as among the slavery propaganda of Missouri.¿ Unlike Robinson, Lane was never an abolitionist, however, and he could be ruthless-he shot and killed a neighbor, Gaius Jenkins, another free-state man, in 1858 over a boundary dispute. His detractors, then and now, paint him more the ¿unbalanced,¿ pugnacious jayhawker, whose ¿men committed depredations fully as atrocious as those of the ''border ruffians,''¿ than the free-state crusader who helped wrest Kansas from the infamous slave power. But Lane was indeed a dynamic speaker whose charismatic leadership abilities won him a substantial group of loyal supporters, and he remained a political force to reckon with. He was instrumental in strengthening the position of the antislavery cause by encouraging more free-state supporters to settle in Kansas and assisting with the defense of Lawrence against ¿border ruffians¿ and proslavery sympathizers from Missouri. Lane served as president of the Topeka and Leavenworth constitutional conventions and was elected one of the state''s first U.S. senators in 1861. He raised the ¿Frontier Guard,¿ recruited and commanded ¿Lane''s Brigade¿ (actually, the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Kansas Volunteers), and was responsible for forming the First Kansas Colored Volunteers, the first regiment of African American troops to see action on the side of the Union during the Civil War. Always controversial, Lane was a dominant force in Kansas and to an extent national politics for a decade. He was reelected to the U.S. Senate in 1865. Shortly thereafter, he lost favor in Kansas after backing the reconstruction policies of President Andrew Johnson, including the president''s veto of the Civil Rights Bill. Despondent because of this and perhaps the threatened revelation of some questionable conduct with regard to government contracts, as well as his ill-health (maybe even mental illness), Lane shot himself in the head on July 1 while visiting his brother-in-law near Leavenworth; he died ten days later and was buried in Lawrence''s Oak Hill Cemetery.

From the description of Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10677874

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Letter to Col. Taylor, dated Lawrence, Kans., 1865 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Private correspondence between Gov. Denver and Jno. S. Dougherty : in reference to secret political societies, [Feb.-May] 1858. Kansas State Historical Society
referencedIn Letter, 1891 Mar. 25 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Letter from Sara T. D. Robinson, Oakridge (Lawrence, Kansas), to Professor and Mrs. Charles G. Dunlap, March 5, 1902 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Letters and notes about border raids in Lawrence. New York., 1901 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 1823-1911. Thomas Wentworth Higginson papers [microform], 1855-1860, 1907 (bulk 1855-1860). Kansas State Historical Society
referencedIn Reader, Samuel James, 1836-1914. Samuel James Reader papers [microform], 1853-1955 (bulk 1853-1914). Kansas State Historical Society
referencedIn Notes for a history of the Trinity Episcopal Church, Lawrence, Kansas., 196-? University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
creatorOf Cushman, Charlotte Sanders, 1816-1862. Collection of autographs, [ca. 1797 to ca. 1915]. Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn Robinson, Sara T. L. (Sara Tappan Lawrence), 1827-1911. [Letter from Sara T. D. Robinson, Oakridge, Lawrence, Kansas, to professor and Mrs. Charles G. Dunlap] University of Kansas Archives / MSS / Rare Books, Kenneth Spencer Research Library
referencedIn Correspondence, articles, clippings, etc., 1899-1911 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
creatorOf Carney, Thomas, 1824-1888. Letters, 1863. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
referencedIn Prince, William E., d. 1892. William E. Prince Civil War letter books : Fort Leavenworth, Kan., 1861 Jun 24-Dec 26. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Newspaper Clippings regarding J.H. Shimmons' version of the Lane Jenkins affair, September 26-November 14, 1901 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
creatorOf Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866. Copies of a purported Stonewall Jackson memorandum and Civil War photographs [manuscript], 1958. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Stanton, Thaddeus H., d. 1900. Thaddeus H. Stanton papers, 1835-1929. U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
referencedIn William Elsey Connelly papers, 1883-1914, 1899-1903 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Souza, Ronald J. "Bloody Kansas" : architects of destruction, Sen. J. H. Lane and Gov. C. Robinson, (also Quantrell's raids on Kansas) : newspaper articles about the activities of Lane and Robinson, Jan. 1856 - Oct. 1864 / collected and transcribed by Ronald J. Souza. Kansas State Historical Society
referencedIn Brown, George W. (George Washington), 1820-1915. Papers, 1903-1913. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
referencedIn Prince, William E., d. 1892. William E. Prince Civil War letter books : Fort Leavenworth, Kan., 1861 Jun 24-Dec 26. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Anthony and Havens Family Papers, 1837-1986 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Records of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau (Civil War). 1861 - 1907. Register Showing the Audited Accounts of the Irregular Troops Called Into Service by Senator James H. Lane
referencedIn Gordon, David S. (David Stuart), 1832-1930. General David Stuart Gordon papers, 1892-1925. Historical Society of Washington, Dc
referencedIn [Papers of the Lane family] University of Kansas Archives / MSS / Rare Books, Kenneth Spencer Research Library
referencedIn Scrapbooks, 1857-1894 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Correspondence, 1861-1864 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Thomas Wentworth Higginson correspondence, 1843-1911. Houghton Library
referencedIn Autograph album: Abraham Lincoln, his cabinet, and senators, 1864 and undated. Houghton Library
referencedIn Prince, William E., d. 1892. James Henry Lane letters to William E. Prince, 1861 Aug-Oct. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Papers of the Lane Family, 1857-197-? University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Secretary of War. 1791 - 1948. Copies of Correspondence, Orders, and Requisitions Concerning Gen. James H. Lane's Brigade of Kansas
referencedIn Sterrett, R. W. R.W. Sterrett letter, 1857 Apr. 23. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn Manuscript collection., 1789-196-. University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Reminiscences, told to his daughter, Mrs. E. M. Owen. Lawrence?, October 8, 1912 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Records of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau (Civil War). 1861 - 1907. Letters and Orders Received
referencedIn Correspondence, 1862-1863 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States Commandery of the State of Massachusetts Civil War collection, 1724-1933 (inclusive);, 1861-1912 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Charles Sumner correspondence, 1829-1874. Houghton Library
referencedIn Smith, Henry Rogers, 1842-1919. Papers, 1862-1869. American Antiquarian Society
referencedIn Papers, 1836-1911 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Thompson, Herbert, 1871-1929. Letter, 1891 Mar. 25, Lawrence, Kan., [to] father, [Edwardsville, Kan.] / Herbert Thompson. University of Kansas Archives / MSS / Rare Books, Kenneth Spencer Research Library
creatorOf Newspaper Clippings, 1939-1952 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Newspaper Clippings, September 26-November 14, 1901 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Photographs of Confederate officers, n.d. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Ross, Edmund G. (Edmund Gibson), 1826-1907. Papers ; Hugh Cameron letters (1907), 1856-1933. Kansas State Historical Society
referencedIn "Old Sacramento." Lawrence, Kansas., 1935 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
creatorOf Anthony, D. R. (Daniel Read), 1824-1904. [Anthony and Havens family papers] University of Kansas Archives / MSS / Rare Books, Kenneth Spencer Research Library
creatorOf Papers, 1841-1923 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Baker, W. H., compiler. person
associatedWith Brown, George W. (George Washington), 1820-1915. person
associatedWith Carney, Thomas, 1824-1888. person
associatedWith Connelley, William Elsey, 1855-1930 person
associatedWith Connelly, William Elsey, 1855-1930 person
associatedWith Crawford, Samuel R. person
associatedWith Curtis, Samuel Ryan, 1805-1866 person
associatedWith Douglas County Historical Society, Lawrence, Kansas. corporateBody
associatedWith Gibson, Thomas person
associatedWith Golde, Marcy Lane Johnson person
associatedWith Gordon, David S. (David Stuart), 1832-1930. person
associatedWith Guthrie, Abelard, 1814-1873 person
associatedWith Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 1823-1911. person
associatedWith Holstlander, L. person
associatedWith Hutchings, John, 1836- person
associatedWith Jenkins, Gaius person
associatedWith J. H. Shimmons person
associatedWith Johnson, Anne Lane person
associatedWith Johnson, Arthur S. person
associatedWith Lane, Mary Elizabeth (Baldridge) person
associatedWith Lee, A. L. person
associatedWith Lincoln, Abraham, pres. U. S., 1809-1865 person
associatedWith Livingston, B. F. person
associatedWith Lowrance, Winnie D., comp. person
associatedWith Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Commandery of the State of Massachusetts, collector. corporateBody
associatedWith Miller, William, 1841-1919 person
associatedWith Missouri River Railroad Co. corporateBody
associatedWith National Union Committee for the West. corporateBody
associatedWith Prince, William E., d. 1892. person
associatedWith Reader, Samuel James, 1836-1914. person
associatedWith Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894 person
associatedWith Robinson, Sara T. L. (Sara Tappan Lawrence), 1827-1911. person
associatedWith Rodgers, William Redfield person
associatedWith Ross, Edmund G. (Edmund Gibson), 1826-1907. person
associatedWith Simmons, Nancy R. person
associatedWith Smith, Henry Rogers, 1842-1919. person
associatedWith Stanton, Thaddeus H., d. 1900. person
associatedWith Sterrett, R. W. person
correspondedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith Tappan, Samuel F. person
associatedWith Thompson, Edward D., 1837- person
associatedWith Thompson, Herbert, 1871- person
associatedWith Thompson, Herbert, 1871-1929. person
associatedWith Union Pacific Railroad Co. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Kansas. Libraries. person
associatedWith Ware, Eugene Fitch, 1841-1911 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Leavenworth, Kan.
Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.
Subject
U.S. Army. Kansas Infantry 7th Regt
U.S. Infantry. 18th Colored Volunteers
Kansas. history. Civil War
U.S. History. War with Mexico, 1845-1848
Kansas. History. 1854-1861
Delaware Indians
Kansas--Nebraska bill
U.S. Army. Negro troops
Photographically illustrated book
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1814-06-22

Death 1866-07-11

English

Information

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