Biography of Robert G. Elliott

Robert G. Elliott was one of the founders of Kansas as a free territory and state. He was born in Union County, Indiana, July 23, 1828, of South Carolina parentage, and was graduated from the University of the Hoosier State in 1850. Among his classmates were the son and three nephews of Henry A. Wise, governor of Virginia. After teaching four years in Indiana and Tennessee, and becoming thoroughly educated and aroused in his absorption of the prevailing issues of the ante-war days, he became associated with Josiah Miller in the establishment of the Kansas Free State newspaper at Lawrence. They were college mates, brave and in perfect accord. The first number of the paper was issued January 5, 1855, but the plant was destroyed at the sacking of Lawrence on May 21st of the succeeding year. Soon afterward Mr. Elliott was appointed one of the delegates to the Philadelphia convention that established the precedent of admitting the territories to equal representation with the states. His trip East to attend the convention was also to buy a new printing press, but the closing of Missouri to northern travel prevented the re-establishment of the paper until the spring of 1857. Only two numbers of the paper were issued thereafter, its place of publication being Delaware, just below Leavenworth, then the county seat. Mr. Elliott took a leading part in the Fremont campaign of 1856, and at his election to the Territorial Legislature of 1857-58 sold his newspaper press to the Delaware Town Company. The succeeding five years were spent as a resident of Lawrence in the discharge of duties connected with the offices of assessor, city and county treasurer and state senator. Then came three years as president of the State Agricultural Society and a like period as regent of the State University. During that period, under the immediate direction of Gen. John Fraser, the chancellor, the university fairly rose to the dignity of its name. His highest position of honor, however, was as commissioner, named by the statute of 1865, with Governor James McGrew and Danial Howell, of Atchison, to adjust the claim of the contractor of the penitentiary building, who was confronted with ruin and the impossibility of fulfilling his contract by the sudden depreciation of greenbacks. The judgment of the commission was satisfactory to both contractor and state.



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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