Biography of Daniel Read Anthony

Daniel R. Anthony was one of the ablest men of his generation in Kansas. He possessed that ability so generally admired of fighting without quarter in behalf of any movement in which his convictions were enlisted.

His long career touches Kansas history at many points as a pioneer and one of the founders of Leavenworth, as a soldier, and as a public official and a newspaper man.

He came to Kansas in 1854 with the first colony sent out by the New England Emigrant Aid Society of Massachusetts. For nearly half a century he was identified with the City of Leavenworth. In 1861 he was appointed by President Lincoln as postmaster of Leavenworth, and shortly thereafter he entered the Union army. In 1863 he was elected mayor of Leavenworth. As mayor he inaugurated a vigorous policy, but which he believed to be justified in veiw of the strenuous conditions of war time. A number of southern sympathizers were congregated in the outskirts of the town, and taking the law into his own hands and calling to his aid some of the best citizens he went out and burned the buildings to the ground. Somewhat later Gen. Thomas Ewing, who commanded the district of the border placed Leavenworth under martial law. Mayor Anthony, maintaining that his police force was sufficient to keep law and order, opposed this measure and at one time was arrested for interfering with the soldiers.

Refusing to support President Johnson’s policy of reconstruction, he was removed as postmaster in 1866. In 1868 he was elected presiding officer of the Republican State Convention, and thereafter until his death was a member of practically every state convention held in Kansas. He was elected a member of the city council in 1870 and the following year was re-elected. In 1878 he was appointed postmaster. Always active in politics, he had enemies both personal and political, and on May 10, 1875, one of his political opponents shot him, the bullet passing through his shoulder and for a long time his recovery was doubtful.

In 1861 Coloney Anthony established the Leavenworth Conservative. Three years later he bought the Bulletin and in 1871 the Leavenworth Times, and the purchase of the Commercial in 1876 gave him a monopoly of the newspapers of the city. The morning papers were consolidated under one management and published as the Leavenworth Times. He made his newspapers sources of tremendous power and influence, and doubtless it is his achievements in the newspaper field that will give him his permanent distinction in Kansas history.

At the outbreak of the war Colonel Anthony entered the Union army as lieutenant colonel of the First Kansas Cavalry, which subsequently became the Seventh Kansas Regiment. At the battle of the Little Blue in November, 1861, he led his forces to a victory over four times the number of guerrillas. He spent the year 1862 on duty in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama, and in June of that year while in command of Mitchell’s Brigade in Tennessee he issued the noted Order No. 26, which prohibited southern men passing through the Union lines to search for fugitive slaves. General Mitchell requested the countermand of the order, and when Colonel Anthony refused he was placed under arrest. The incident finally reached the attention of the United States Senate, and after investigation General Halleck issued an order restoring General Anthony to duty. About that time he resigned his commission in the army and returned to Leavenworth, but Colonel Anthony’s order No. 26 became the policy of the commanders of the northern armies, antedating as it did President Lincoln’s proclamation of emancipation.

Daniel Read Anthony represented a prominent family and inherited many of the chief characteristics of his own life from his forefathers. He was one of a family of seven children, who sons and five daughters, and one of the daughters was Susan B. Anthony, long the conspicuous figure of the woman’s suffrage movement in America. The family originated with John Anthony who came from Wales and settled in the Massachusetts Colony in 1646. Humphrey Anthony, grandfather of Colonel Anthony, was a Quaker and was noted as a man of indomitable will and strong character. Daniel Read Anthony was born at Adams, Massachusetts, August 22, 1824, a son of Daniel and Lucy (Read) Anthony. His mother’s father, Daniel Read, who served in the Revolutionary war under Arnold, enduring the hardships of the winter campaign against Quebec, and later fighting in the battle of Bennington.

Though noted for his vigorous intellect, his powers of reasoning and his gift of incisive language, Daniel R. Anthony had only a limited education. After he left the public schools at Battenville, New York, at the age of thirteen, his only other regular advantages were a six months’ term in the Academy at Union Village. He was employed in his father’s cotton mill, worked in a flour mill, and at the age of twenty-three removed to Rochester, New York, where he taught school for two years and was also engaged in the insurance business. Those were the chief experiences of his life before he came to Kansas. By nature he was aggressive and radical. Many times he endured personal attack on account of his outspoken views. It is recalled that when the prohibitory law went into effect, there occurred many surreptitious violations in Leavenworth. In fact public opinion was all on the side of the liquor traffic. Though to advocate enforcement of the state law was both dangerous and unpopular, Daniel R. Anthony did not hesitate an instant, and personally and through his papers gave a strenuous opposition to the liquor traffic.

He should also be remembered as one of the founders and a life member of the Kansas State Historical Society, and in the halls of the Memorial Building at Topeka is a large portrait of this eminent Kansas editor. Colonel Anthony died November 12, 1904, when a little past the age of eighty years.

January 21, 1864, he married Annie E. Osborn, whose father was one of the leading ship owners of Edgartown, Massachusetts. One of the daughters of that marriage, Maude, became the wife of Col. L. M. Koehler of the United States army.



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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