1888 Kansas Republican Convention

Lyman Underwood Humphrey would defeat a strong field of candidates, including D.R. Anthony, to become the Republican nominee, and eventual 11th Governor of Kansas. The field he faced contained both politicians, and men of more humble backgrounds. Being a Farmer was considered advantageous, and appealing to voters. However, the most critical thing for a viable Republican candidate was to have served in the Union military during the Civil War. More than one newspaper pointed out that every candidate had faithfully served. (Image courtesy, wikipedia)

In the 1888 race for the Republican nomination for Governor of Kansas, Anthony’s chief opponents included veteran Kansas politicians A.W. Smith, Lyman U. Humphrey, and George T. Anthony. The last of these was Daniel Anthony’s own cousin, and himself ex-Governor. They may have been family, but there was no love lost between the two. Anthony made some efforts at campaigning, mainly through the influence of his friends such as Morrill and Beck, as well as Kansas Senator John Ingalls. He also paid visits to newspapers, such as the Kansas City (Kansas) Gazette, and delivered speeches at events like that held in Junction City on May 2nd. By the end of May, Anthony appeared to be in third place, based on those delegates whose choices had already been announced.

The convention was held in Topeka, opening on July 25th. That day, after arriving at the Copeland hotel, the longtime rivalry between cousins Daniel and George Anthony produced what must have been the single most talked about incident of the day. The cousins arrived at nearly the same time, and while George Anthony was inside the hotel shaking hands, a passel of his cousin’s supporters from Leavenworth gathered outside. A cry went up went up for “Anthony” but, the cheering throng neglected to specify which one they would have. The Wichita Eagle describes what happened next:

 “when the cry for “Anthony” went up there arose a sort of half perplexed, wholly pleased expression settled on [George Anthony’s] face and with a hasty apology he withdrew to ascertain the meaning of the call. As he passed through the main entrance under the front balcony of the hotel his ears were ravished by the dulcet tones of his hated cousin, who had just uttered the words ‘citizens of my home, I thank you for this wholly unexpected and distinguished honor.’ An expression of unmistakable rage supplanted that…on the governors face, and he hastily returned to the hotel…the cousins met afterwords in the hotel corridor, but they never spoke as they passed by.”

Surname-based confusion aside, the primary storyline of the rest of the convention was the dominance of Lyman Humphrey. The first ballot was the closest, with Humphrey outpacing Smith by about thirty votes. Anthony collected 27 votes, placing 7th. He was 6th in the second ballot, before falling several places in the third and final ballot, in which Humphrey finally swept away the competition. Despite the fact that he was never a contender, Anthony must have taken some satisfaction in faring better than his cousin, who never received more than 2 votes from the delegates.

The Copeland hotel in Topeka was the site of the 1888 Republican State Convention. This image was taken after the grand old hotel suffered a devastating fire in January of 1909. Note the spectators close to the building and horse-drawn fire wagons. (Courtesy, Kansas Memory)

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