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Gilbert L. Laws

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gilbert Lafayette Laws
Gilbert L. Laws (Nebraska Congressman).jpg
The Aurora Republican (Aurora, NE), October 25, 1889
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nebraska's 2nd district
In office
December 2, 1889 – March 3, 1891
Preceded byJames Laird
Succeeded byWilliam A. McKeighan
Secretary of State of Nebraska
In office
GovernorJames W. Dawes
John Milton Thayer
Preceded byEdward P. Roggen
Succeeded byBenjamin R. Cowdery
Personal details
Born(1838-03-11)March 11, 1838
Olney, Illinois, U.S.
DiedApril 25, 1907(1907-04-25) (aged 69)
Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.
Resting placeLincoln, Nebraska
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Josephine Lawrence Laws
ChildrenGertrude H. Laws
Theodosia C. Laws
Helen Lucile Laws
Alma materHaskell University
Milton College
Newspaper publisher
Military service
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Branch/serviceUnion Army
Unit5th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Gilbert Lafayette Laws (March 11, 1838 – April 25, 1907) was an American politician, newspaper publisher and businessman. He served as the Nebraska Secretary of State and as a member of the United States House of Representatives during the 1800s.

Early life

Born on a farm near Olney, Illinois, Laws was the son of James Laws and Lucinda (Calhoun) Laws.[1][2] In 1845, he moved to Iowa County, Wisconsin, with his parents. He attended Haskell University and Milton College which he financed by working in the lumber business during the summers.[1] After graduation, he taught school until 1861 in Richland Center, Wisconsin.[1]

During the American Civil War, Laws enlisted in the 5th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment. His left leg was amputated below the knee as a result of being wounded in the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5, 1862. He was discharged in July 1862 and settled in Richland County, Wisconsin.[1][3]


Laws was elected as the Richland County Clerk in 1862 and reelected twice.[1] While serving as county clerk, he also published the Republican newspaper, "Richland County Observer".[4] After selling his share of the newspaper in 1864,[5] he manufactured lumber, wagon materials and bedsteads. He was a member of the Richland Center, Wisconsin city council in 1868 and 1869, and the city's mayor in 1869. In 1869 and 1870, he was the chairman of the county board of supervisors and from 1866-1876 the postmaster. He resigned his posts in 1876 and moved to Orleans, Nebraska.

Laws moved to Nebraska in 1876.[1] In 1883, Laws was appointed register of the United States Land Office in McCook, Nebraska. He served in that position until November 1, 1886 when he was elected Secretary of State of Nebraska. He was Secretary of State until 1888.[1]

Elected as a Republican candidate to the 51st United States Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James Laird, Laws served as a United States Representative for the second district of Nebraska from December 2, 1889 to March 3, 1891.[1][6]

He did not run for reelection, instead moving to Enid, Oklahoma, where he sold real estate. He returned to Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1895, and became secretary of the State board of transportation from 1896 to 1900.


Laws died on April 25, 1907 (age 69 years, 45 days) in Lincoln, Nebraska.[1][7] He is interred at Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln.

Personal life

Laws married Josephine Lawrence on October 25, 1868. They had three daughters, Gertrude H. Laws, Theodosia C. Laws and Helen Lucile Laws.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Gilbert L. Laws Is Dead". The Nebraska State Journal. April 26, 1907. p. 5. Retrieved June 28, 2018 – via open access
  2. ^ Hayes, Arthur Badley and Cox, Samuel D. (1889). History of the City of Lincoln, Nebraska: With Brief Historical Sketches of the State and of Lancaster County. Higginson Book Company. p. 41.
  3. ^ Laws, Gilbert. Publications - Nebraska State Historical Society. Nebraska State Historical Society. p. 439.
  4. ^ Nebraska State Historical Society (1902). Publications - Nebraska State Historical Society. Nebraska State Historical Society. p. 439.
  5. ^ Laws, Gilbert. Early Events in Richland County. Richland County History. pp. Chapter 35.
  6. ^ Laws, Gilbert. A Biographical Congressional Directory: With an Outline History of the National Congress. United States. Congress. pp. 798–799.
  7. ^ "Gilbert L. Laws of Nebraska Dead". Stevens Point Journal. April 26, 1907. p. 2. Retrieved June 27, 2018 – via open access
  8. ^ Hayes, Arthur Badley and Cox, Samuel D. (1889). History of the City of Lincoln, Nebraska: With Brief Historical Sketches of the State and of Lancaster County. Higginson Book Company. p. 41.

External links

  1. "Laws, Gilbert Lafayette". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved January 28, 2006.

Political offices
Preceded by
Edward P. Roggen
Secretary of State of Nebraska
Succeeded by
Benjamin R. Cowdery
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
James Laird (R)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nebraska's 2nd congressional district

December 2, 1889 – March 3, 1891
Succeeded by
William A. McKeighan (P)
This page was last edited on 27 January 2021, at 01:59
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