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The Honorable James Henry Lane
(General, Representative, Senator, Lt. Governor)

James Henry Lane (Senator)

Born June 22, 1814 Lawrenceburg, Indiana, USA
Died July 11, 1866 (Lawrence Kansas, burial: City Cemetery)

James Henry Lane AKA 'Jim Lane' (June 22, 1814 - July 11, 1866) was a United States Senator and Union partisan. Lane was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where he practiced law when he was admitted to the bar in 1840. He moved to the Kansas Territory in 1855. He immediately became involved in the abolitionist movement in Kansas. He was often called the leader of "Jay-Hawkers" abolitionist movement in Kansas.

He was a U.S. Congressman from Indiana (1853-1855) where he voted for the Kansas-Nebraska Act. But he abandoned that stance when he moved to the Kansas Territory in 1855. He was elected to the Senate from the state of Kansas in 1861, and reelected in 1865. During that time he presided over the Topeka convention.

Lane suffered a brief hiatus in his political career following a dispute over land claims in 1858 which ended with Lane killing one of his neighbors. But when Kansas entered the Union as a free state in 1861, Lane, by this time a Republican, won election as one of its first United States Senators. He arrived in Washington just as the Civil War broke out, and soon became a staunch ally of Abraham Lincoln.

During the Civil War, he also led the "Kansas brigade" in western Missouri and raised one of the first black regiments in the Union Army.

In a bid to put down the Confederate raiders operating in Kansas, General Thomas Ewing, Jr. issued General Order No. 10, ordering the arrest of anyone giving aid or comfort to Quantrill's raiders. This meant chiefly women and children. Ewing confined those arrested in a make-shift prison in Kansas City. This building collapsed, killing four women. There was debate as to the nature of this collapse, with some claiming it was a deliberate attack on women and children, and others claiming it was merely a tragic accident. These deaths enraged some Missourians, resulting in the August 21, 1863 Lawrence Massacre, also known as Quantrill's Raid, in Kansas, which Lane managed to escape by racing through a cornfield in his nightshirt.

Lane had survived many hardships in his life, he even battled in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. But Lane shot himself on July 1st, 1866 in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was deranged, depressed, and had been charged with abandoning his fellow Radical Republicans and financial irregularities. He died 10 days later, in Crawfordsvile, as a result of the self-inflicted shot.

Places Named after James H. Lane: Lane, Kansas (city) and Lane County, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Military service: US Army

The American soldier and politician James Henry Lane was born at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on the 22nd of June 1814. He was the son of Amos Lane (1778-1849), a political leader in Indiana, a member of the Indiana House of Representatives in 1816-1818 (speaker in 1817-1818), in 1821-1822 and in 1839-1840, and from 1833 to 1837 a Democratic representative in Congress. The son received a common school education, studied law and in 1840 was admitted to the bar. In the Mexican War he served as a colonel under General Zachary Taylor, and then commanded the Fifth Indiana regiment (which he had raised) in the Southern Campaign under General Winfield Scott. Lane was Lt. Governor of Indiana from 1849 to 1853, and from 1853 to 1855 was a Democratic representative in Congress. His vote in favor of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill ruined his political future in his own state, and he emigrated in 1855 to the Territory of Kansas, probably as an agent of Stephen A. Douglas to organize the Democratic party there. He soon joined the Free State forces, however, was a member of the first general Free State convention at Big Springs in September 1855, and wrote its "platform", which deprecated abolitionism and urged the exclusion of negroes from the Territory; and he presided over the Topeka Constitutional Convention, composed of Free State men, in the autumn of 1855. Lane was second in command of the forces in Lawrence during the "Wakarusa War"; and in the spring of 1856 was elected a United States Senator under the Topeka Constitution, the validity of which, however, and therefore the validity of his election, Congress refused to recognize. In May 1856, with George Washington Deitzler (1826-1884), Dr. Charles Robinson, and other Free State leaders, he was indicted for treason; but he escaped from Kansas, made a tour of the northern cities, and by his fiery oratory aroused great enthusiasm in behalf of the Free State movement in Kansas. Returning to the Territory with John Brown in August 1856, he took an active part in the domestic feuds of 1856-1857. After Kansas became a state, Lane was elected in 1861 to the United States Senate as a Republican. Immediately on reaching Washington he organized a company to guard the President; and in August 1861, having gained the ear of the Federal authorities and become intimate with President Abraham Lincoln, he went to Kansas with vague military powers, and exercised them in spite of the protests of the Governor and the regular departmental commanders. During the autumn, with a brigade of 1500 men, he conducted a devastating campaign on the Missouri border, and in July 1862 he was appointed commissioner of recruiting for Kansas, a position in which he rendered faithful service, though he frequently came into conflict with the state authorities. At this time he planned a chimerical "great Southern expedition" against New Mexico, but this came to nothing. In 1864 he labored earnestly for the re-election of Lincoln. When President Andrew Johnson quarrelled with the Radical Republicans, Lane deserted the latter and defended the Executive. Angered by his defection, certain senators accused him of being implicated in Indian contracts of a fraudulent character; and in a fit of depression following this accusation he took his own life, dying near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on the 11th of July 1866, ten days after he had shot himself in the head. Ambitious, unscrupulous, rash and impulsive, and generally regarded by his contemporaries as an unsafe leader, Lane was a man of great energy and personal magnetism, and possessed oratorical powers of a high order.

Father: Amos Lane

U.S. Senator, Kansas (1861-66)
U.S. Congressman, Indiana 4th (1853-55)
Lieutenant Governor of Indiana (1849-53)
Shot: Self-Inflicted (1-Jul-1866)

Is the subject of books:
Life of Gen. Games H. Lane, "The Savior of Kansas", 1896, BY: John Speer

Congressional Biography:

LANE, James Henry, (son of Amos Lane), a Representative from Indiana and a Senator from Kansas; born in Lawrenceburg, Ind., June 22, 1814; attended the public schools; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1840 and commenced practice in Lawrenceburg; member of the city council; served in the Mexican War; lieutenant governor of Indiana 1849-1853; elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-third Congress (March 4, 1853-March 3, 1855); moved to the Territory of Kansas in 1855; member of the Topeka constitutional convention 1855; elected to the United States Senate by the legislature that convened under the Topeka constitution in 1856, but the election was not recognized by the United States Senate; president of the Leavenworth constitutional convention in 1857; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1861; reelected in 1865 and served from April 4, 1861, until his death; chairman, Committee on Agriculture (Thirty-eighth Congress); appointed by President Abraham Lincoln brigadier general of volunteers and saw battle during the Civil War; deranged and charged with financial irregularities, Lane shot himself on July 1, 1866, but lingered ten days, dying on July 11, near Fort Leavenworth, Kans.; interment in the City Cemetery, Lawrence, Kans.


American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Bailes, Kendall. Rider on the Wind: Jim Lane and Kansas. Shawnee Mission, Kans.: Wagon Wheel Press, 1962; Stephenson, Wendell. The Political Career of General James H. Lane. Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society Publications, 1930.

File Created: 2006-Aug-04

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Data contained within this website may only be used with permission of the submitter, for non-commercial research and educational activities, and for personal genealogical information.

Data contained within this website may only be used with permission of the copyright holder(s), for non-commercial research and educational activities, and for personal genealogical information. © 2014 by Karen Zach, and licensed to the Indiana GenWeb (INGenWeb) Project and the USGenWeb Project. May be used in personal research with a citation.

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