James H. Lane (Senator)

James H. Lane (politician)

James Henry Lane also known as Jim Lane (June 22, 1814July 11, 1866) was a United States Senator, a Union general and partisan in the American Civil War. Lane was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where he practiced law when he was admitted to the bar in 1840. He moved to the Kansas Territory in 1855. He immediately became involved in the abolitionist movement in Kansas. He was often called the leader of "Jayhawkers" abolitionist movement in Kansas.

He was a U.S. congressman from Indiana (1853-1855) where he voted for the Kansas-Nebraska Act. But he abandoned that stance when he moved to the Kansas Territory in 1855. He was elected to the Senate from the state of Kansas in 1861, and reelected in 1865. During that time he presided over the Topeka convention.

Lane was to lead Jayhawkers in a battle against pro-Southern general Sterling Price in the Battle of Dry Wood Creek as Price began an offensive to clear out abolitionists in Kansas at the beginning of the Civil War. Lane lost the battle but stayed behind and attacked pro-South pockets in Missouri behind Price. Lane's 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.

During the Civil War, he also led the "Kansas brigade" in western Missouri and raised one of the first black regiments in the Union Army.

Lane was the real target of the event that became the sack of Lawrence on August 21, 1863. He escaped the raid by racing through a cornfield in his nightshirt.

Lane had survived many hardships in his life, including fighting in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. But he shot himself on July 1, 1866 in Leavenworth, Kansas. Lane 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.


The following places were named in honor of the late senator:

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