Wilson Shannon Becomes Kansas Territorial Governor

Friday, September 7, 1855

Governor Wilson Shannon. Courtesy of J.J. Prats.

Wilson Shannon, a former governor of Ohio, is appointed Kansas territorial governor by President Franklin Pierce. In contrast to his predecessor, Andrew H. Reeder, Shannon is outspoken in his proslavery stance and even fails to defend the town of Lawrence from a proslavery raid in May 1856. The "Bleeding Kansas" era begins during Shannon's term in office, as the Pottawatomie Massacre and other threats of violence emerge. Admitting failure, Shannon leaves the territory on June 23, 1856 and his resignation is tendered on August 18, 1856. Still, Shannon's 9.5 month tenure is the longest of any of Kansas Territory's embattled governors. 

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