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James Madison Harvey

Gov. James Madison Harvey

  • January 11, 1869 - January 13, 1873
  • Republican
  • September 21, 1833
  • April 15, 1894
  • Virgin Islands
  • Married Charlotte Richardson Cutter; nine children
  • Senator
  • National Guard


JAMES MADISON HARVEY, the fifth governor of Kansas, was born near Salt Sulphur Springs, Virginia on September 21, 1833. His education was attained in the public schools of Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana, where he specialized in civil engineering and surveying. During the Civil War, he served as captain of the 4th and 10th Regiments of the Kansas Volunteer Infantries, and rose to the rank of captain, commanding the 14th Regiment, Kansas State Militia. Harvey entered politics in 1865, serving as a one-term member of the Kansas House of Representatives. He also served as a member of the Kansas State Senate from 1867 to 1868. Harvey won the 1868 Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was sworn in the governorship on January 11, 1869. He won reelection to a second term in 1870. During his tenure, the development of roads throughout the state was advanced, the board of agriculture and the Freedman University were created, several new towns were founded, bribery law amendments were recommended, county boundaries were established, and the position of state librarian was authorized. Also, new judicial districts were developed, the military and contingent fund was re-established with the proceeds from bond sales, construction started on the Capitol building, and the Union Pacific Railroad was completed from the state to Denver. A year after leaving the governor’s office, Harvey was elected and served in the U.S. Senate from February 2, 1874 to March 3, 1877. After his senatorial term, Harvey retired from politics, and returned to his agricultural and ranching interests. He also worked as a government surveyor in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Governor James M. Harvey, who had suffered from Bright’s disease, passed away on April 15, 1894. He was buried at the Highland Cemetery in Junction City, Kansas.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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