History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs


Historic People of Kansas - "P" - Page 3

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Samuel Clark PomeroySamuel Clark Pomeroy (1816-1891) - Pioneer and United States Senator, Pomeroy was born at Southampton, Massachusetts on January 3, 1816, was educated at Amherst College, and in 1840 became an enthusiastic opponent of slavery. He was present when President Franklin Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and remarked to the president: "Your victory is but an adjournment of the question from the halls of legislation at Washington to the prairies of the freedom-loving West, and there, sir, we shall beat you." To assist in carrying out his prophecy, he left Boston in August, 1854, with 200 people bound for Kansas of the Free-State cause; was one of a party arrested by Colonel Cooke on the Nebraska River in October, 1856, but was released by Governor John Geary upon his arrival at Topeka. He was a member of the Osawatomie Convention in May, 1859 that organized the Republican Party in Kansas, and served on the first State Executive Committee of that party. In connection with his management of the aid committee for the relief of the people of Kansas in the great drought of 1860 he was charged with irregular conduct, but was exonerated in March, 1861. On April 4, 1861, he was elected as one of the first United States Senators from Kansas, and was re-elected in 1867. During the troubles over the Cherokee Neutral Lands, many of the people of the state lost confidence in Pomeroy, and in 1873 he was defeated for re-election to the senate by John J. Ingalls. It was in connection with this senatorial election that State Senator A. M. York, of Montgomery County made his sensational charges of bribery against Senator Pomeroy. The charges were investigated by a committee of the United States Senate and also by a joint committee of the Kansas Legislature. On March 3, 1873, a majority of the former committee reported that "the whole transaction, whatever view be taken of it, is the result of a concerted plot to defeat Mr. Pomeroy." Three days later, the committee of the State Legislature reported Pomeroy "guilty of the crime of bribery, and attempting to corrupt, by offers of money, members of the legislature." He was arraigned for trial before Judge Morton at Topeka on June 8, 1874, but a change of venue was taken to Osage County. After several delays and continuances the case was dismissed on March 12, 1875. On October 11, 1873, while the political opposition to  Pomeroy was at its height, he was shot by Martin F. Conway in Washington, the bullet entering the right breast, inflicting a painful but not serious wound. Conway claimed that Pomeroy had ruined him and his family. After the bribery case against him was dismissed Pomeroy returned to the East and died at Whitinsville, Massachusetts on  August 27, 1891.


Catholic Church at Osage MissionPaul M. Ponziglione (1818-1900) - One of the early Catholic missionaries in Kansas, he was born on February 11, 1818 in the city of Cherasco, Piedmont, Italy. He was of noble descent, his father having been Count Felice Ponziglione di Borge d'Ales, and his mother Countess Terrero Castelnuoro. After his preliminary education, he attended the Royal College of Novara and subsequently the College of Nobles at Turin, both Jesuit institutions, taking his degree at Turin. He then studied law for over a year, but seemed to turn naturally to the priesthood and in 1839, entered the Society of Jesus at Chieri, near Turin. In 1848 he was connected with the Jesuit College at Genoa, during a period of disturbance in Italy, and at one time, 18 of the priests in the college were arrested by one of the political factions. They were sent to Spenzia but managed to escape to Modena, where most of them took to the mountains. Father Paul determined to go to Rome and thence to the United States. He reached Rome, where he was ordained a priest on March 25, 1848 and soon after that came to the United States. From New York he went to St. Xavier's College at Cincinnati, Ohio for a short time, but before leaving Italy he had made up his mind to spend his life as a missionary among the Indians. Following out his resolve, he offered himself to Reverend Anthony Elet, the Superior of the Western Jesuits of the United States, and was assigned to the Missouri Mission.For two years he worked in Missouri and Kentucky, and then returned to St. Louis.


In March, 1851, he left St. Louis for the region west of the Missouri River. While his home was to be at the Osage Mission and that tribe his special charge, his labors extended from Fremont Peak, Wyoming to Fort Sill, Indian Territory. For twenty years, Father Paul's work was with the Osage Indians, and this was one of the brightest periods in the history of the tribe. He was an honored guest among them, baptized and taught their children, and ministered to both their bodily and spiritual needs. The particular scope of his work in Kansas was from Cherokee County north to Miami County, then west to Fort Larned in Pawnee County, along the southern border of the state. He also penetrated the wild regions of Indian Territory and established mission stations at the Indian agencies and military posts. Within forty years, he established over 100 missions -- 87 in Kansas and 21 in Indian Territory. In 1870, the Osage tribe withdrew from Kansas, but Father Paul still watched over them, making the trip by wagon from the old mission to their new home in the Indian Territory. The beautiful church at the Osage Mission, known as St. Francis, next to the cathedral at Leavenworth, was the finest in the state. It was built through the efforts of Father Paul and dedicated on May 11, 1884. In 1889 he was asked to go as a peacemaker to the Crow Indians in Montana and did not return to Kansas. The next year he became historian of St. Ignatius' College in Chicago, Illinois and assistant pastor of the Jesuit church. His sympathies were so broad that he also became chaplain of St. Joseph's Home for Deaf Mutes. He died in Chicago on March 28, 1900.




Noble PrentisNoble Lovely Prentis (1839-1877) - Journalist and author, he was born on April 8, 1839 in a log cabin three miles from Mount Sterling, Illinois. His parents died at Warsaw, Illinois of cholera during the epidemic of 1849, leaving him an orphan at the age of ten. He went to live with an uncle in Vermont and remained there until he was 18, when he moved to Connecticut and served an apprenticeship in the printer's trade. He then came west and worked for a time in a newspaper office at Carthage, Illinois. At the opening of the Civil War, he enlisted as a private in the Sixteenth Illinois Infantry and served four years when he was honorably discharged. Prentis married Maria C. Strong on May 13, 1866. He published a paper at Alexandria, Missouri until Captain  Henry King of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat induced him to come to Topeka in 1869 and assist him on the Record. He next worked on the Commonwealth and then on the Lawrence Journal. From 1873 to 1875, Prentis edited the Junction City Union, then returned to the Topeka Commonwealth, and about 1877 began to work on the Atchison Champion. He remained with that paper during Colonel Martin's term as governor and in 1888, took charge of the Newton Republican. In 1890, he accepted a position on the editorial staff of the Kansas City Star, which he held until his death. In 1877 he went to Europe. His observations during the trip were published in book form, entitled A Kansan Abroad, which ran through two editions. He also wrote Southern Letters, Southwestern Letters, Kansas Miscellanies, and in the last year of his life, wrote a History of Kansas, which became his best known work. His first wife died in 1880 and he re-married in 1883 to Carrie E. Anderson of Topeka. Noble Prentis died at La Harpe, Illinois at the home of his daughter, on July 6, 1900.




William C. Quantrill (1837-1865) - After serving as a teacher at Lawrence, Quantrill began to lead gangs of Border Ruffians in the Kansas-Missouri Border War, became a Confederate soldier during the Civil War, and was responsible for the Lawrence Massacre in 1863. See full article HERE.



Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated September, 2015.


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