The Topeka Daily Capital, Friday, Sept. 1, 1916

Died:  Aug. 31, 1916






Death Results from Illness

Caused by Heat While Mak-

ing Speech at Jetmore Two

Months Ago.




Kansan Is Credited with De-

feat of Blaine for Presidency

in 1884 by Becoming Can-

didate on Prohibition Ticket.



Special to The Capital.

  Olathe, Kan., Aug. 31---John P. St. John, candidate for the presidency on the Prohibition ticket in 1884, twice governor of Kansas and one of the most widely known temperance advocates in the United States, died here tonight.  He was 83 years old and had been in failing health since a heat prostration two months ago.

Bade Friends “Good-bye.”

  Governor St. John had been unconscious much of the time for the last week and shortly after 5 o’clock this evening fell into a deep sleep from which he never awakened.  Death came at 6:40 o’clock.  At 5 o’clock his business partner, W. V. E. Parker, called, “Good-bye Martin,” said Governor St. John as he left.  Those were his last words.

  The illness of Governor St. John dates back to June 26, when he was prostrated by the heat while on a prohibition speaking tour at Jetmore, Kan.  He came home and was forced to spend several weeks in bed.  On July 30, he was able to attend the national convention of the Prohibition party at St. Paul, but the shock of the trip quickly put him back in his former condition.  He returned to his home and had been gradually weakening since.

  Besides the widow Governor St. John leaves one son, John P. St. John Jr., an employee at the state penitentiary at Lansing.

Was Twice Governor.

  John Pierce St. John was one of the most widely known temperance advocates in the United States.  He was a candidate for president on the Prohibition ticket in 1884, and served two terms as governor of Kansas---1879-1883—during which Kansas became a prohibition state.

  Describing the fight for prohibition in Kansas, Governor St. John once said:

  “The brewers had only themselves to blame for prohibition in Kansas.  The first step toward a state-wide movement was at their suggestion.  Mr. Hery, a minister, introduced in the house a high license and regulation bill.  It stood a good chance of passage.  To defeat it, the brewery agents suggested the people be given an opportunity to vote on state-wide prohibition.  Of course it was not the purpose of the brewers to submit prohibition at all.  But the coup to kill the high license bill killed the saloon in Kansas.

The Fight in Kansas.

  “The prohibitory amendment was submitted to the senate and passed.  The house was to kill it.  The brewers had it all figured out.  Enough members favored high license, but not prohibition, they believed, to defeat any attempt to submit the proposition to the people.  The brewers guessed wrong about public sentiment.

  “Every influence was brought to bear on house members by the brewers.  I was governor, but I couldn’t keep out of the fight.  Violating all precedent, I left the governor’s office to help fight the battle on the house floor.

  “The day for the vote came.  The galleries were packed.  The politicians tried hard to avoid a vote by hiding.  The sergeant-at-arms was busy rounding them up and bringing them into the chamber.  Finally the voting was begun.  The silence was intense.  We needed one vote to get the necessary two-thirds to carry the proposition thru.  We did not know how to get it.  All at once Mrs. Greaver (the wife of one of the members) started down the aisle to her husband’s desk.  She stopped before him, and seizing his hand in hers, pleaded with him.

  “For my sake, for the sake of your children, she cried, change your vote.  Do it for my sake, for my sake, no matter what you believe.”

  “Greaver changed his vote, while the building shook with cheers.”

Veteran of Civil War.

  Born at Brookville, Ind., February 25, 1833, St. John served as a captain and lieutenant colonel in the Civil war, and settled in Kansas, where he became a member of the state senate.  He became a political factor when he won a fight to displace United States Senator Samuel E. Pomeroy.  Pomeroy and St. John had been personal friends, but the later became displeased with the way Pomeroy conducted himself as a senator, and thereupon championed John J. Ingalls, Pomeroy’s opponent, who won.  This made St. John a leader and resulted in his election as governor.

Once Called a “Traitor.”

  He was called a “traitor” when he deserted the Republican party and became a candidate for president on the Prohibition ticket in ’84.  During his campaign he was burned or hung in effigy more than 500 times.  He was twice shot at but unhurt.  Many Republicans attributed the defeat of James G. Blaine for president to St. John’s entrance into the race.

  In 1912, notwithstanding his advanced age, he stumped Kansas for woman suffrage, declaring that when women had the vote they would have prohibition.  In 1914 he campaigned in the east for prohibition, estimating that up to that time he had, altogether, traveled 150,000 miles and delivered 4,500 speeches in behalf of the prohibition cause.

  When he was in the Kansas capital he inaugurated the first “water banquets,” with the result that liquor has been made taboo in the Kansas state house ever since.


The Topeka Daily Capital, Monday, Sept. 4, 1916




Imposing Ceremonies at Obsequies

Over Late Ex-Governor of Kan-

sas Held at Olathe.


Special to The Capital.

  Olathe, Kan., Sept. 1---The funeral of the late ex-Gov. John P. St. John was held here today with imposing ceremonies.  Gov. Arthur Capper and ex-Gov. George H. Hodges delivered eulogies at the service, as did H. O. Farfa, of Chicago, representative of the national Prohibition party.

  The funeral in charge of Dr. M. M. Culpepper, assisted by Rev. B. P. Rlepman, was held at the first Congregational church.  The Olathe band led the funeral procession to the cemetery.