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Walter R. Stubbs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walter R. Stubbs
18th Governor of Kansas
In office
January 11, 1909 – January 13, 1913
LieutenantWilliam J. Fitzgerald
Richard J. Hopkins
Preceded byEdward W. Hoch
Succeeded byGeorge H. Hodges
Member of the Kansas House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
BornNovember 7, 1858
Wayne County, Indiana
DiedMarch 25, 1929 (aged 70)
Topeka, Kansas
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Stella Stubbs (née Hostettler)
EducationUniversity of Kansas (Did not graduate)
Professionclerk, farmer, mule driver, banker, politician

Walter Roscoe Stubbs (November 7, 1858 – March 25, 1929) was 18th Governor of Kansas. Stubbs, a progressive Republican, was known for his prohibitionist beliefs, as well as for having signed the nation's first blue sky law into effect.


Early life

Stubbs was born in Wayne County, Indiana, near the city of Richmond, to a family of Quaker heritage.[1] He moved to the small town of Hesper (located about two and a half miles southeast of Eudora) with his family in 1869 and was educated in the Douglas County public school system. For a time, he briefly attended the University of Kansas, but he did not graduate with a degree.[2][3][4] He married Stella Hosteller in 1886, and they had five children, one of whom died on the same day that he was born.[4] In his early life, Stubbs held a few odd jobs, such driving mules and being a clerk, before becoming a railroad contractor.[4][5] After submitting a bid to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Company to build a railroad connecting St. Louis to Kansas City, Stubbs profited around $250,000. His prowess as a contractor continued, and eventually his business was securing contracts totaling around $3–5 million a year.[1][4][5]


During his middle-age, Stubbs decided to enter into politics, and in 1902, he secured a spot in the Kansas House of Representatives, serving the district in which Douglas County was situated.[1] He quickly emerged as the dominant leader of the progressive wing of the Republican Party, and after his re-election in 1904, he became the Speaker of the House, serving from 1905 to 1906. He won a third term in 1906, and served from 1907 until 1909, until he was elected Kansas governor.[1][6]

Stubbs served two terms as governor, from January 11, 1909 to January 13, 1913. Upon ascending to the gubernatorial position, he made a name for himself by calling for the "recall of unworthy or incompetent public officials."[1] As a prohibitionist, he also made it a priority to stamp out illegal bootlegging. Specifically, he focused his attention on Crawford County, Kansas (then nicknamed the "Little Balkans"), where at the time a number of immigrants were making bootleg whiskey to supplement their meager incomes as strip miners.[4][7] According to the criminal justice scholar Ken Peak, "The [Little] Balkans drove him absolutely nuts. He had his hands full and sent people down to the Balkans to clean it up".[7] Despite this immense crack down, however, the governor was unable to eradicate the crime completely from the state.[7] During the Stubbs administration, Kansas also enacted the nation's first state blue sky law, which was promoted by Joseph Norman Dolley, the Kansas state banking commissioner, who had been appointed by the governor on March 3, 1909.[8]

Near the end of his second term as governor, Stubbs won his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate. However, in the general election in November 1912, Democrat William H. Thompson, defeated Stubbs in his bid for the office.[5][9] Stubbs was again a candidate for the Senate in 1918, but was narrowly defeated in the Republican primary by Arthur Capper.[10]

W. R. Stubbs's mansion, which is now the Sigma Nu fraternity house at the University of Kansas (2018).
W. R. Stubbs's mansion, which is now the Sigma Nu fraternity house at the University of Kansas (2018).

Upon leaving the governor's office, Stubbs returned to his mansion on Windmill Hill in Lawrence, Kansas, situated just west of the University of Kansas campus. The building, which had been constructed in 1907, was sold by Stubbs in 1922 to KU's Sigma Nu chapter, and to this day, it is still used as their fraternity house.[11][12]


After suffering with heart trouble for some time, Stubbs died on March 25, 1929 in Topeka, Kansas at the age of 70. He is interred at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence.[6]

Electoral history

Governor of Kansas

Governor's election in Kansas, 1908[13]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican W. R. Stubbs 196,692 52.49
Democratic Jeremiah D. Botkin 162,385 43.33
Socialist George F. Hibner 11,721 3.13
Prohibition Alfred L. Hope 3,886 1.04
Independence John W. Northrop 68 0.02
Total votes 374,752 100.0
Republican hold
Governor's election in Kansas, 1910[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican W. R. Stubbs 162,181 49.76
Democratic George H. Hodges 146,014 44.80
Socialist S. M. Stallard 15,384 4.72
Prohibition William C. Cady 2,373 0.73
Total votes 325,952 100.0
Republican hold

Senator of Kansas

Senator's election in Kansas, 1912[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic William Howard Thompson 172,601 49.34
Republican W. R. Stubbs 151,647 43.35
Socialist Allan W. Ricker 25,610 7.32
Total votes 349,858 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican


  1. ^ a b c d e Blackmar, Frank, ed. (1912). "Stubbs, Walter Roscoe". Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc. Chicago, IL: Standard Publishing Company. pp. 772–3.
  2. ^ Higgins, Cindy (2017). "Fun Trivia". EudoraKSHistory. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  3. ^ "Walter R. Stubbs". National Governors Association. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e Connelley, William (1918). "Walter Roscoe Stubbs". A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Governors". Kansas Historical Society. November 2001. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Walter R. Stubbs". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  7. ^ a b c "Booze Brothers". Lawrence Journal-World. May 1, 2006. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  8. ^ "Walter R. Stubbs". Blue Skyways. Archived from the original on October 11, 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  9. ^ Titus, Charles (1935). "Voting in Kansas, 1900-1932". Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  10. ^ Kansas Secretary of State Office (1918). Biennial Report of the Secretary of State. Kansas State Printing. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  11. ^ Rafferty, Carole (May 31, 1984). "Restoring Historic Fraternity Houses". New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  12. ^ "Fraternity Members Share Supernatural Tales". October 29, 2003. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  13. ^ "KS Governor [1908]". Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "KS Governor [1910]". Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  15. ^ "KS US Senate [1912]". Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 29, 2018.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Edward W. Hoch
Republican nominee for Governor of Kansas
1908, 1910
Succeeded by
Arthur Capper
First Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Kansas
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
Arthur Capper
Political offices
Preceded by
Edward W. Hoch
Governor of Kansas
Succeeded by
George H. Hodges
This page was last edited on 11 September 2020, at 02:09
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