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William Eugene Stanley

Gov. William Eugene Stanley

  • January 9, 1899 - January 12, 1903
  • Republican
  • December 28, 1844
  • October 13, 1910
  • Ohio
  • Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Married Emma Lenora Hills; four children


WILLIAM E. STANLEY, the fifteenth governor of Kansas, was born in Knox County, Ohio on December 28, 1844. His education was attained in the Ohio public school system and at Ohio Wesleyan University, where he left before graduating. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1868, and established a legal career in Jefferson County, Kansas. Stanley entered public service in 1871, serving as Jefferson County attorney, an office he held until 1872. He also served as Sedgwick County attorney from 1874 to 1880, and was a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, serving from 1881 to 1883. Stanley declined an appointment by Governor Morrill, to serve as judge in the court of appeals. In 1898, he won the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was sworn into the governor’s office on January 9, 1899. He was reelected to a second term in 1900. During his tenure, a traveling library commission was authorized, the elimination of unproductive state offices was recommended, a U.S. prison revolt at Fort Leavenworth and a 1901 convict penitentiary strike were dealt with, the supreme court was increased to seven justices, and funds were appropriated to finish construction on the state house. After leaving office on January 12, 1903, Stanley returned to his law practice. From 1903 to 1904, he served on the Dawes Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Governor William E. Stanley died on October 13, 1910, and was buried at the Highland 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.

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