Politician, territorial governor. Democrat. Born: February 24, 1802, Belmont County, Ohio. Died: August 30, 1877. Served as 2nd Territorial Governor of Kansas: September 7, 1855, to June 24, 1856; sworn in again on June 13, 1856 and served from July 7 to August 18, 1856.
Wilson Shannon, second territorial governor of Kansas, was born February 24, 1802, in what is now Belmont County, Ohio. His father died when he was a boy and he was raised by his brothers. He attended Ohio University at Athens for two years and Transylvania University at Lexington, Kentucky. There he studied law and in 1826 began a practice in St. Clairsville, Ohio. In 1832 the Democratic Party nominated him for Congress. The Whig candidate defeated Shannon by only 37 votes. In 1838 Shannon was elected governor of Ohio, he was defeated two years later, but was reelected to the following term. After his second gubernatorial term Shannon was appointed minister to Mexico. He practiced law in Cincinnati and went to California in 1849. He soon returned to his home state where in 1852 he was elected to Congress and voted for the Kansas-Nebraska bill. On August 10, 1855, President Franklin Pierce appointed Shannon governor of Kansas Territory. Since he had helped pass the Kansas-Nebraska Act proslavery supporters in Kansas and western Missouri anticipated his administration would be sympathetic to their cause. The Shannon administration lasted 11 months, during which occurred many turbulent acts. Following his resignation, in August 1856, Shannon became a well-known attorney in Lawrence and throughout the territory. Shannon died August 30, 1877, in Lawrence, Kansas.
Entry: Shannon, Wilson
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: May 2012
Date Modified: March 2016
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