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About James Henry "Jim" Lane
James Henry Lane also known as Jim Lane (June 22, 1814 – July 11, 1866) was a partisan during the Bleeding Kansas period that immediately preceded the American Civil War. During the war, Lane served as a United States Senator and as a general who fought for the Union. Although reelected as a Senator in 1865, Lane committed suicide in the following year.
Lane was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where he practiced law when he was admitted to the bar in 1840. He was a U.S. congressman from Indiana (1853–1855) where he voted for the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
He moved to the Kansas Territory in 1855. He immediately became involved in the abolitionist movement in Kansas, and was often called the leader of the Jayhawkers, a leading Free Soil militant group. After the Free Soilers succeeded in getting Kansas admitted to the Union in 1861 as a free state, Lane was elected as one of the new state's first U.S. Senators, and reelected in 1865. During that time he presided over the Topeka convention.
During the American Civil War, in addition to his Senate service, Lane raised a brigade of Jayhawkers known as the "Kansas Brigade". He led this force into action against pro-Southern general Sterling Price in the Battle of Dry Wood Creek as Price began an offensive early in the war to retake Missouri for the pro-Confederate state government that had been deposed by pro-Union forces. Lane lost the battle but stayed behind and attacked pro-South pockets in Missouri behind Price. His raids culminated in the Sacking of Osceola, in which Lane's forces killed at least nine men, then pillaged, looted, and then burned the town; these events inspired the novel Gone to Texas by Forrest Carter, which was the basis for the 1976 Clint Eastwood movie The Outlaw Josey Wales.
On December 18, 1861 Lane was appointed brigadier general of volunteers. On Mar 21, 1862, his commission was canceled in culmination of an argument over whether a sitting U.S. Senator could concurrently hold the rank of general. However on April 11, 1862 he was reinstated as brigadier general of volunteers with the confirmation of the U.S. Senate. During 1862-1863 he served as recruiting commissioner for the state of Kansas.
Lane was the target of the event that became the Lawrence Massacre (or Quantrill's Raid) on August 21, 1863.
In 1864 when Sterling Price invaded Missouri, Lane served as a volunteer aide-de-camp to Samuel R. Curtis, commander of the Army of the Border. Lane was with the victorious Union forces at the battle of Westport.
Death and legacy
Lane had survived many hardships in his life, including fighting in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. But on July 1, 1866 he shot himself in the head as he jumped from his carriage in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was allegedly deranged, depressed, had been charged with abandoning his fellow Radical Republicans and had been accused of financial irregularities. He died ten days later near Leavenworth, Kansas, a result of the self-inflicted gunshot. Edmund G. Ross was appointed to succeed him in the Senate.
The following places were named in honor of the late senator:
Lane University Lane, Kansas Lane County, Kansas