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Lyman Underwood Humphrey
Union Civil war Veteran and Former Governor of Kansas. Served in Co. I, 76th OH. Volunteer Infantry.
He was born at New Baltimore, Stark County, Ohio, July 25, 1844, and died at his home in Independence September 12, 1915. He had a worthy ancestry. His father Lyman Humphrey was born in Connecticut of English descent in 1799. The Humphrey ancestors located in New England during the early part of the seventeenth century. Lyman Humphrey as a young man moved out to the Western Reserve of Ohio, locating at Deerfield. That village had among its shops and other institutions a tannery, formerly owned by Jesse Grant, the father of Gen. U. S. Grant. This tannery was bought by Lyman Humphrey, but after engaging in the business for some years he took up the law as a profession. He filled a place of usefulness and influence in his community, served as a colonel of the militia, and died at the age of fifty-four. At Niles, Ohio, he married Elizabeth A. Everhart, daughter of John and Rachel (Johns) Everhart, a native of Pennsylvania. Mr. Everhart was connected with the iron industry at Niles. It is said that Mrs. Lyman Humphrey was the inspiration and encouragement to both her sons, and spurred them on to unusual accomplishment even as young men. She was in fact a woman of strong personality and character, of great native intelligence, and the devotion which she gave to her family in her years was well rewarded when she saw her son, after many other public honors were bestowed upon him, occupy the chair of governor in Kansas. She spent her last years at the home of Governor Humphrey in Independence, where she died in 1896 at the age of eighty-four. She was left a widow in 1853, and for a number of years had heavy responsibilities in connection with the rearing and training of her children. She gave two sons as soldiers to the Union. One of these sons, John E. Humphrey, was in the Nineteenth Ohio Infantry, was severely wounded at Shiloh, and on that account discharged from the army, but subsequently re-enlisted in the First Light Artillery of Ohio and served until the end. He was also a pioneer settler of Montgomery County, Kansas, where he died in 1880.
Nine years of age when his father died, Lyman U. Humphrey spent his early years at the old home in Ohio, attended the public schools of New Baltimore, and had begun his course in the high school at Massillon when his education was interrupted for the sake of serving his country.
October 7, 1861, at the age of seventeen, he enlisted in Company I of the Seventy-sixth Ohio Infantry. It has been well said that probably no man in Kansas had a more brilliant army record, and yet in his later career he never boasted of what he did on the field of battle, never exploited his record for the sake of advancement in politics, and it is probable that many of his stanch admirers were never aware that he had served with so much credit during the War of the Rebellion. With the Seventy-sixth Ohio, in the First Brigade, First Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, be participated in twenty-seven battles, sieges and minor engagements, including Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Chickasaw Bluff, Arkansas Post, Jackson, Champion Hills, Black River Bridge, the siege of Vicksburg, the forced march from Memphis to Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold, Resaca, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, the battle before Atlanta on July 22, 1864, Ezra Chapel, Jonesboro, Lovejoy Station, the march to the sea, Savannah, the campaign through the Carolinas, and up to and including the battle of Bentonville and the surrender of Johnston’s army. At Ringgold November 27, 1863, he received his first and only wound, but lost no time from duty on that account. All this service of nearly four years, it should be noted, was rendered before he reached his majority. He was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, July 19, 1865, just six days before his twenty-first birthday. During the war he sent his monthly wages home to support his widowed mother, and though a youth without special influence, his faithful service gained him promotion to first sergeant of his company, and then on special recommendation from his colonel was promoted to second and first lieutenant, and was in active command of a company during the Atlanta campaign and march to the sea. A biographer has called attention to the report of an inspecting officer on the back of an old muster roll of the company he commanded. The notation follows: "Discipline, good; inspection, good; military appearance, good; arms and accoutrements, good; clothing, very bad." Undoubtedly the qualities of determined courage and devotion to duty which he exemplified in the stern times of war stood him in good stead as governor of Kansas when he was frequently called upon to face and fight more insidious enemies and influences than confronted him in warfare of arms.
Sep 14, 1915
HONORED HIS MEMORY
Last Rites for Gov. Humphrey Largely Attended
MANY PAY TRIBUTE
Rev. Appleby Delivered the Funeral Address- Floral Offerings Very Profuse
The funeral of ex-Governor Lyman U. Humphrey was held from the family residence at 10:30 o’clock this morning and was largely attended by the old friends and residents. Only a portion of those present could obtain admission to the spacious rooms. The casket was placed in the living room in front of vast banks of flowers. It was wrapped in an American flag and covered with beautiful lilies. The floral offerings were the most beautiful and elegant ever seen in the city. In the room containing the casket they appeared in artistic symbols and emblems and great clusters and extended out onto the porch in their profusion. It was beautiful and appropriate and testified to the affection felt for one of the city’s and state’s most distinguished citizens.
The following Knights Templar acted as pallbearers: Dale Hiebrank, Hoyt Cates, Ernest Sewell, T. B. Henry, T. E. Wagstaff, J. M. Jacoby.
The members of McPherson post, G. A. R., attended the services in a body and were invited into the house.
The court house, city hall and the banks of the city were closed this morning out of respect to the memory of the deceased.
The funeral services were very impressive in their simplicity and dignity. Mrs. Frank Stoops sang with deep feeling – "I Shall See Him Face to Face," Rev. Appleby of the First Congregational church paid a fine tribute to the life and services of the deceased. Mr. Appleby stood in the reception hall when delivering his address so that he could be heard by both those in the house and those standing on the lawn. He said:
Independence today mourns the loss of her most distinguished citizen. There is no need that on this occasion I should give his biography. It is already written for the generations to come in the history of the state that honored him, and that he, in turn, so highly honored. Would I pronounce a eulogy, it is already written in your hearts.
Some one has said reputation is fleeting, honor is temporary, fame is a burden, only character endures. It is therefore fitting that we should pause at the end of a career that has been so honored and consider for a brief time some of the elements of character that made Governor Humphrey one of the great men of the state. He was born in that portion of Ohio known as the Western Reserve, a region that for decades has furnished much of the leadership of the nation. His ancestral lines ran back to Puritan New England, and his boyhood being spent in a pioneer state , he imbibed patriotism with his mother’s milk, and he breathed freedom with the air of his native hills. When the great crisis of our country’s history came and the drum beat of the nation was heard in 1861, he joined the mighty army that to the rhythm of marching feet were singing: "We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand strong."
He entered the army a boy of 17. When he was mustered out in the summer of 65, not yet 21 years of age, he was in command of a company. The same force of character that made him a soldier brave and true when he fought at Shiloh and Corinth, and Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge and a score of other battles as he followed Sherman when he went marching down from Atlanta to the sea abided with him in civil life. It was inevitable that the boy who attained an officer’s commission in the army should receive recognition as a man of leadership in the years that followed.
For a few years after the Civil war Governor Humphrey lived in Shelby county, Missouri, where he in turn was teacher, editor, and lawyer. He came to Independence in 1871. He was not yet 27 years old, and Independence was only a crude pioneer town. In the forty-four years that have passed no man has made a more varied contribution of his talent and strength to the making of his adopted city. Together with Charles and Thomas Yoe and certain Missouri friends he established the South Kansas Tribune, which abides to this day as one of the strong influential journals of the state. Governor Humphrey was editor and W. T. Yoe was business manager. In 1872, after having been connected with the paper for a little over a year he left the editorial tripod and engaged in the practice of law. A dozen years later in connection with George T Geuernsey and others he engaged in the banking business and was the first president of the Commercial National bank, serving in that company for six years.
The same interest in public affairs that made him a soldier in the sixties led him into political life in the seventies and later. He was a member of the legislature serving both in the lower house and in the senate later becoming lieutenant governor. In 1888 he received the highest honor in the gift of the state, being elected governor by the largest plurality ever given to a candidate for a state office. Two years later the people testified to their approval of his administration by electing him for a second term. On his retirement from office he reentered business life and through the years has been honored by the community as its first citizen.
This is not the time or place to make extended remarks concerning Governor Humphrey’s political career; but it is certainly entirely in keeping with the proprieties to say that he gave the state a clean administration, free from scandal, and that, in the face of threats against his political life, he stood steadfastly for prohibition as the established attitude of the state toward the liquor traffic; and for this alone he should be held in in grateful and everlasting remembrance by every loyal son of Kansas.
A cultured gentleman, a successful businessman, an honored public official blessed with many warm and enduring friendships, he failed to find in all these things that which satisfied his soul’s highest longings. His attitude toward happiness was that of President Garfield as revealed in this story.
On election night, in November, 1880, there was gathered in General Garfield’s political headquarters a group of personal friends who were anxiously awaiting the election returns. The reports, fragmentary at first, soon began to point to the election of General Garfield. Finally there was no doubt about it. The waiting friends began to tender congratulations. Other congratulations began to come in over the wires from friends throughout the nation. Suddenly the pastor of the triumphant candidate said: "General Garfield I want to preach next Sunday morning from a text suggested by the president elect. Give me a text." Then this man, who had won honors in the scholastic world and on the field of battle and in the halls of congress he who had found the tow path a highway leading to the door of the White House- he, with the highest honor in the gift of the nation his turned and instantly replied:
"Take this: from the last verse of the seventeenth Psalm: "I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness."
Even though a man attain to the highest earthly honor, nothing short of likeness to a Son of God will satisfy him. That same heart craving for more than this earth can give even to the highly successful found expression in the life of Governor Humphrey in his membership in the Congregational church and the confession of faith that it implied. For some years he was chairman of our board of trusties and he had a keen appreciation of the work of the church and all it stood for.
Today his memory is honored by city and state, a multitude of friends find inspiration in his career; his home darkened by death is brightened by flowers from many sources; but that which brings the most solid and enduring comfort to the bereaved hearts of his dear ones is the message of the church that he loved and served the words of the Lord, Jesus Christ, his Master, who said: "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall live; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die."
The sufferings of Governor Humphrey extended through many months and there is suggested the problem of the meaning of pain. The best brief answer I have found in the words of another:
The cry of man’s anguish went up to God:
"Lord take away pain–
The shadow that darkens the world thou hast made,
The close coiling chain
That strangles the heart, the burden that weighs
On wings that would soar
Lord, take away pain from the world thou hast made,
That it love Thee the more."
Then answered the Lord to the cry and His word:
"Shall I take away pain,
And with it the power of the soul to endure,
Made strong by the strain?
Shall I take away pity, that knits heart to heart,
And sacrifice high?
Will you lose all your heroes that lift from the fire
White brows to the sky?
Shall I take away love, that redeems with a price
And smiles at its loss?
Can ye spare from your lives, that would climb into mine–
The Christ on his cross?"
Pain, suffering, sorrow and bereavement are common to all. We can not escape them. Our only hope is to find comfort when they do come. This comfort will be just in proportion to our faith in Jesus Christ. If in our hearts we believe in Him, we will reckon the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed.
Amanda Lowman Bartholomew, one our own Kansas writers has beautifully expressed this faith in these words which I close:
The river’s not wide,
And the other side
Seems nearer than ever before;
The waves once so dark,
Recede from the bark
As I list for the dip of the oar.
I shudder no more,
For the splash of the oar
Falls in rythmical cadence so sweet,
It seems but a part
Of the peace of my heart,
As the waters flow nearer my feet.
Now yet do I shrink,
Though close to the brink
The breath of the river grows chill,
For through the deep roll
His voice in my soul
Bids the waves and all my fears be still.
In the fast ebbing sand
Uplifted I stand
By a hand pierced for me long ago,
My sins all confessed,
On his bosom I rest,
He will bear me safe over I know.
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