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Walter A. Huxman

Walter HuxmanPolitician, governor. Democrat. Born: February 16, 1887, Reno County, Kansas. Died: June  26, 1972, Topeka, Kansas. Served as 27th Governor of Kansas: January 11, 1937, to January 9, 1939.

The state's 27th governor, Walter Augustus Huxman, was born on February 16, 1887, in Reno County, Kansas. He taught school, received a legal education at the University of Kansas law school, and won election as a Democrat in 1936. After one term as Kansas' chief executive, Huxman was appointed judge of the Tenth U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a position he held until 1962. Judge Huxman died in Topeka on June 26, 1972.

Walter Augustus Huxman was born near Pretty Prairie, Reno County, Kansas, on February 16, 1887, to Augustus and Mary (Graber) Huxman. His father worked both as a farmer and as a preacher for the Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian).

Huxman was educated in local public schools and attended Emporia State College and the University of Kansas. He received a law degree from the University of Kansas in 1914. After graduation he established a law practice and also taught school for three winter terms. He also served as assistant county attorney for Reno County, and two years as Hutchinson city attorney.

His first attempt at election to a public office was in 1928, when he tried unsuccessfully for a seat on the Kansas State Supreme Court. Two years later, Huxman managed the campaign for guberbatorial candidate Harry H. Woodring. Huxman was successful in managing this campaign. After the election, Huxman was appointed to the Kansas Tax Commission. While serving on the Tax Commission, he prosecuted a case against the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (KATY) Railroad. Huxman's victory in this case attracted considerable attention.

When the Democratic Party held its state convention in 1936, Huxman served as chairman and keynote speaker. He distinguished himself so admirably that the party drafted him as its candidate for governor. His election campaign concentrated on the need for social and economic reform. Huxman won this campaign, defeating Will G. West, the Republican candidate, by over 20,000 votes.

In 1938, the Democratic Party renominated Huxman for governor. However, running against Republican Payne Ratner, he lost this time, by about 52,000 votes. Huxman returned to his law practice in Hutchinson. Before long, President Roosevelt appointed him as judge of the 10th United States District Court in Topeka. He held this position until his retirement in 1962.

Walter A. Huxman died on June 25, 1972, of an apparent stroke that occurred on June twelfth. His body was buried in Memorial Park (present Penwell-Gabel) Cemetery, in Topeka.

Entry: Huxman, Walter A.

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: June 2011

Date Modified: May 2017

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