When Daniel Read Anthony finds his way into the history books, he is most often mentioned as being the younger brother of famous Suffragette Susan B. Anthony. This is true, but his life story independent of his sister is itself compelling and his accomplishments impressive. Unfortunately, this story has been very sparsely documented by historians of the last half-century. He lacks a definitive biography and there hasn’t been a major publication to cover him extensively for nearly forty years.
Born in 1824 in Adams, MA to a Quaker father and non-Quaker mother, Anthony, like his sister, was marked from the beginning as a remarkable individual. His childhood was spent in Western Massachusetts and upstate New York before moving to Leavenworth, KS as an adult. He first went to Kansas as part of Eli Thayer’s Emigrant Aid Society in 1854, and moved there permanently in 1857. As a prominent Leavenworth citizen, he played a critical role in making Kansas a state free of slavery. When the Union was torn asunder by war, Anthony fought to restore her, bringing to the battlefield great conviction and hatred for the Confederacy, and of slavery. As a Lt. Col. in the 7th Volunteer Kansas Cavalry regiment, Anthony took emancipation into his own hands well before the Emancipation Proclamation, risking his position in the process.Besides his war on behalf of the African-Americans, Anthony worked as a newspaper editor and owner. Over the course of the 1860s-1870s, he built for himself a newspaper empire in Leavenworth that three subsequent generations of his family would control. One of the strongest personalities to ever put pen (or type) to paper, Anthony waged journalistic blitzkrieg against the everything from drunkenness to Democrats. Though a staunch Republican, he never hesitated to apply his own harsh principles to fellow members of the Party of Lincoln. No wonder, after he died in 1904, it was written on his gravestone that “He was no Hypocrite.”
This website is devoted to telling some of these stories in order to document a portion of the extraordinary life D.R. Anthony led. He deserves a place in the pages of American history as force that endured and shaped nearly fifty years of Kansas affairs. His enemies, and his supporters and detractors were equal in their passion. He was a man of purpose, willing to seize whatever opportunity would enable him to further his goals, traits that are similar to his older sister.