Skip to main content

Special Collections & Archives Preston Plumb

Preston B. Plumb

"I shall be off in the morning on a buffalo hunt.... I have seen some portions of Nebraska and Iowa, and I admire both very much, but Kansas far surpasses either. The soil is richer, the water better, the timber equally as good, and Kansas abounds in mineral wealth. The future Kansas, if consecrated to Freedom, will be glorious." -Preston B. Plumb, October 3, 1856

Born in Ohio on October 12, 1837, Plumb moved to Kansas in 1856 to support the Free-State movement. He was one of the original founders of Emporia, where he established the Kanzas News, the first newspaper in Emporia. He was active in Territorial politics, and was elected to the newly formed Kansas House of Representatives in 1862. He served with the Union Army in Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas during the Civil War. As commander of a Kansas City unit in 1863, he participated in the pursuit of Quantrill after the Lawrence Massacre. Plumb served as speaker of the Kansas House in 1868, became president of the Emporia National Bank in 1873, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1877, where he served until his death in Washington in 1891.