LORENZO D. LEWELLING, the twelfth governor of Kansas, was born in Salem, Iowa on December 21, 1846. His education was attained at Knox College, the Eastman Business College in New York, and at Whittier College, where he graduated in 1867. Before finishing his education, he held various jobs. He worked as a newspaper publisher, a carpenter, a teacher in a black school, a railroad bridge-builder, and a towpath worker on the Erie Canal. During the Civil War, Lewelling was discharged from an Iowa regiment, due to the fact that he was not of legal age and also because of his relative’s religious objections. After his military release, he served as superintendent of the Iowa Women’s Reform School, a position he held for fourteen years. He also edited an “anti-ring” Republican paper in Des Moines from 1880 to 1882. In 1887, he relocated to Wichita, Kansas, where he established a loan business and commission firm. He entered politics serving as chairman of the Sedgwick county People’s party, which had deep-seated feelings of integrating with the Democratic Party. Lewelling won the 1892 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was sworn into the governorship on January 9, 1893. During his tenure, the Australian ballot was sanctioned, an eighteen-month compensation allowance was authorized on mortgages, a coal strike was negotiated, and the appointment of Mary Elizabeth Lease as superintendent of the state board of charities was challenged. Lewelling lost his reelection bid and left office on January 14, 1895. He later served as a member of the Kansas State Senate from 1896 to 1900, was a member of the State Railway Commission from 1897 to 1899, and served as a land agent for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1900. Governor Lorenzo D. Lewelling passed away on September 3, 1900, and was buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Wichita, 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.