Reeder (1807-1864) - The first governor of the Territory of
Reeder was born at Easton, Pennsylvania on July 12, 1807. He received an
academic education at Lawrenceville, New Jersey before studying law and
practicing in his native town. He quickly won distinction as a lawyer, in a
district noted for its eminent members of the bar. At an early age, he
became an active participant in political affairs and from the beginning was
associated with the Democratic Party, although not always in harmony with
In 1831 Reeder was united in marriage with Amelia Hutter, of Easton,
Pennsylvania and the couple would eventually have eight children, but only
five would survive.
Reeder was never an office seeker
and when he was appointed Governor of Kansas
Territory by President Franklin Pierce in June, 1854, was not
an applicant for the position. His appointment was confirmed
by the United States Senate on June 30, 1854; he took the oath
of office before Justice Daniel of the United States Supreme
Court on July 7; arrived at
on October 7, and there established temporarily the executive office.
Andrew Horatio Reeder
A week later, in company with two of the Territorial Judges --
William Johnston and Rush Elmore -- he started on a tour
through the territory, which occupied his time until November
7th. Upon the slavery question, Governor Reeder was in
sympathy with Stephen A. Douglas, United States Senator from
Illinois, and supported the
On March 30, 1855, one of the
biggest voting frauds in the nation took place, when
neighboring Missourians came into Kansas
Territory to vote illegally on the issue of Kansas
being admitted into the U.S. as a free state or a slave state.
The incident would eventually lead to the territory closer
Kansas-Missouri Border War.
Holloway, in his History of
Kansas, said: "Governor Reeder came into the territory, a
lifelong Democrat, and it appears to have been assumed that he
would allow himself to be manipulated by the slave owners and
their tools. It is not certain that President Pierce
entertained such an idea, but it is known that when complaints
were made by the slave owners and their friends against
Governor Reeder, the chief executive made very little delay in
decapitating the offender."
Meanwhile, a new town association, comprised of
developing the site of Pawnee,
military reservation. Reeder, who owned stock in the town association, land
in the area, and had recently built himself a grand log house there, proclaimed that if
the the necessary buildings were completed, he would convene the first
legislature at Pawnee.
The town association quickly went to work and in May, 1855, Reeder issued his proclamation for the legislature to
meet there. The
pro-slavery supporters, which comprised the vast majority of the
legislators, were incensed. They felt that placing the new capitol at Pawnee,
some 150 miles from the Missouri border gave an advantage to the Free-State
advocates in Kansas
Territory. However, Governor Reeder refused to back down.