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St. John, John Piercelocked

(25 February 1833–31 August 1916)
  • Jon C. Teaford

Extract

St. John, John Pierce (25 February 1833–31 August 1916), governor of Kansas and Prohibitionist, was born in Brookville, Indiana, the son of Samuel St. John and Sophia Snell, farmers. He attended country schools in Indiana, receiving a rudimentary education. Owing to his father’s fondness for alcohol, the family suffered economically, and during his teens he was forced to support himself by working in a store. Later in life St. John recalled, “Boy as I was, I hated the demon, Drink, that had made such a change in my father, had broken my mother’s heart, and darkened my boyhood’s home” (Headley, pp. 776–77). In 1847 he moved with his parents to Olney, Illinois, where at the age of nineteen he married Mary Jane Brewer. Two months after the marriage St. John left his wife and departed for California. This marriage produced one child and ended in divorce in 1859....

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