Biography of William Patrick Hackney

William Patrick Hackney was born in Iowa, in 1842; migrated with his father to Illinois in 1850. Entered the United States Army in 1861 as a private and mustered out as captain of his company four years after. Was in many battles; and wounded twice.

Came to Kansas in 1870; was a member of the lower house of Legislature in 1872 and 1874, from Sumner County; and from Cowley County in 1876 and 1905; was in the upper house from 1881 to 1885.

Owes no man a cent, nor a grudge. Wishes all men well, and enjoys every one of his waking hours.

The foregoing is all that Mr. Hackney desired in this work. His position in Kansas, however, nas been one of prominence, and it is believed that there shotdd be some additional material concerning Mr. Hackney’s life in Kansas. He has taken a large part in public affairs and in favor of the best interests of the state. He was the first man to publiely announce himself in favor of the election of Preston B. Plumb as United States senator. He was frequently a member and sometimes chairman of the state conventions of the republican party, and his services were in demand in the party councils and the campaigns. As a lawyer Mr. Hackney has always occupied a prominent place in the Kansas bar.

Mr. Hackney wrote a scholarly pamphlet entitled “The American Merchant Marine.” It was written in reply to an editorial in the Saturday Evening Post. When it was completed it was too long for a newspaper article, and he feared that in the quotations they might make from it the true intent of the pamphlet would not be made clear. He then addressed it to Congress and had it printed. sending copies to the President and all heads of departments, and also sending a copy to each senator and congressman. He supplied civic bodies of the coast cities from Portland, Maine, to Seattle, Washington, with copies of this treatise. He sent copies to the leading newspapers of the country.

As a result of his efforts, a wide discussion of the matters treated was had throughout the country. The sentiment created by the pamphlet and these discussions, no doubt caused the present Congress to pass a law for the upbuilding of our American merchant marine, and the appropriation of $50,000,000 to aid in that important matter. In the future history of ship building in America, the work of Mr. Hackney will be considered as a beginning of the agitation for the rehabilitation of the shipping industry. It is a complete review of the whole question. The book was timely and important to a people with a coast line of 25,000 miles, and the largest overseas freightage in the history of the world.

Mr. Hackney tells of the day when we had statesmen instead of politicians, and how these statesmen legislated for us and gave us the greatest marine tonnage per capita in the history of the world. He also makes plain how their succeasors permitted England to influence our Legislation on marine subjects until we had been deprived of our shipping facilities and privileges.

It is the opinion of his friends that something more ought to be said of his army rocord. No better soldier ever lived in Kansas than W. P. Hackney. He was in the battles of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Nashville, Altoona Pass, Wise’s Forks and in many other battles. He was wounded at Altoona Pass on the 5th of October, 1864, one ball passing through his right cheek and one through his body. He was not mustered out of the service until July, 1865. He is an influential member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is one of those who fashioned the State of Kansas–one whose memory the people will ever cherish.–Editor.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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